Montreal's TD Kids Book Club explores Canada's residential school history with David A. Robertson

David A. Robertson helps young readers understand Canada's past and present with his book When We Were Alone.
David A. Robertson visits with young readers at Laval's Twin Oaks Elementary School. (Amanda Klang)

Like the inquisitive granddaughter in When We Were Alone, a group of young readers in Montreal had the opportunity to learn more about residential schools. After winning CBC Montreal's on-air contest for the 2017 TD Kids Book Club, Laval's Twin Oaks Elementary School received a special visit from When We Were Alone author David A. Robertson.

David A. Robertson signs copies of When We Were Alone for young readers. (Amanda Klang)

CBC Montreal selected Sheryl Cree's Grade 3 class as the contest winners, based on their answer to the question, "Which stories have been passed down in your family?" Since Twin Oaks students wear uniforms, the question elicited several stories regarding conformity in the context of school.

"One thoughtful student shared her grandmother's story of growing up and going to school in Greece," Cree said. "Her grandmother painted a story of a strict school experience where students had their fingernails checked on a weekly basis and students would be scolded for having dirty or long nails. The student said that this strict school experience contributed to her grandmother becoming a fun-loving person who continues to enjoy life to the fullest."

Robertson visited with the students in Cree's class and read from his book, discussing its themes in an interview with CBC producer Amanda Klang, who spoke with Homerun's Sue Smith afterward. 

The author of When We Were Alone meets with young readers to talk about Canada's residential school history.

The visit was one of six TD Kids Book Clubs happening across the country in celebration of the nominees for the 2017 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award