I Am Not a Number

Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis' grandmother, this children's book portrays an Indigenous girl's experience in a residential school.

Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law?

Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis' grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada's history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to. (From Second Story Press)

I Am Not a Number is for readers aged 7–10.

Jenny Kay Dupuis is of Anishinaabe Ojibway ancestry and a proud member of Nipissing First Nation. She is an educator, researcher, artist and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education. She lives in Toronto.

Kathy Kacer is well known for her children's books about the Holocaust. Her books have won awards including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack and the Jewish Book Award. Kacer is a former psychologist and lives in Toronto.

Gillian Newland is an artist who lives in Halifax. She has illustrated the books I Am Not a Number, The Magician of Auschwitz and A Boy Asked The Wind.

More about this book

Writer shares her grandma's residential school story

7 years ago
Duration 0:40
Jenny Kay Dupuis reads an excerpt from a book she co-authored about her grandma's experience in a Northern Ontario residential school in 1928.


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