Books·Canadian

Not My Girl

Not My Girl is a picture book by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton.

Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

(Annick Press)

Margaret can't wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected. Two years ago, Margaret left her Arctic home for the outsiders' school. Now she has returned and can barely contain her excitement as she rushes towards her waiting family — but her mother stands still as a stone. This strange, skinny child, with her hair cropped short, can't be her daughter. "Not my girl!" she says angrily. Margaret's years at school have changed her. Now ten years old, she has forgotten her language and the skills to hunt and fish. She can't even stomach her mother's food. Her only comfort is in the books she learned to read at school.

Gradually, Margaret relearns the words and ways of her people. With time, she earns her father's trust enough to be given a dogsled of her own. As her family watches with pride, Margaret knows she has found her place once more. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by evocative illustrations, Not My Girl makes the original, award-winning memoir, A Stranger at Home, accessible to younger children. It is also a sequel to the picture book When I Was Eight. A poignant story of a determined young girl's struggle to belong, it will both move and inspire readers everywhere. (From Annick Press)

Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton was a Inuvialuit knowledge keeper and residential school survivor. She was the co-author of several books, including Fatty Legs: A True StoryA Stranger At HomeWhen I Was Eight and Not My Girl. She died on June 2, 2021.

Christy Jordan-Fenton is Pokiak-Fenton's daughter-in-law and co-author. She now lives in Fort St. John, B.C. 

Gabrielle Grimard has illustrated over 30 picture books, including Stolen WordsWhen I Was EightNot My Girl and Stolen Words. She lives in Quebec.

Author interviews

An Inuk grandmother's life has inspired a best-selling series of books about residential school so popular, they're set to become Canadian children's classic. Fatty Legs, the first in the series, is still making Top 10 lists six years after coming out. 6:31

Other books by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton

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