Children's Books

Students in Montreal discuss what reconciliation looks like with Speaking Our Truth author Monique Gray Smith

Kids had the opportunity to talk with Monique Gray Smith about her nonfiction book, which is one of five finalists for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.
Young readers at Edgewater Elementary in Montreal enjoying their copies of the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award finalist, Speaking Our Truth. (Amanda Klang/CBC)

On Oct. 23, 2018, students from two Montreal schools had the opportunity to talk with Speaking Our Truth author Monique Gray Smith about her nonfiction book — one of five finalists for the $50,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

All told, 56 Grade 5 students from St. Willibrord School in Châteauguay​, Que., and Edgewater Elementary in Laval, Que., took part in this timely conversation about colonialism and reconciliation.

Monique Gray Smith poses with St Willibrord Elementary school teacher Tracey Blonder and students (from left to right) Storm Lahache, Frederike Nolet, and Ocean Lahache. Storm and Ocean are both from the neighbouring Mohawk community of Kahanawke. (Amanda Klang)

Before visiting with students in Montreal, Smith spoke with Homerun host Sue Smith about what she hoped to achieve with her book, Speaking Our Truth

The author of Speaking our Truth shares her hopes for the book, which serves as a young reader's companion in the work of reconciliation. 8:21

St. Willibrord sits adjacent to the Mohawk community of Kahnawake and has many students from the community. On the other side of the St. Lawrence, Edgewater Elementary has a predominantly non-Indigenous student body. Together, both groups of students embarked on a journey to learn more about settler-Indigenous relations in Canada, and how to move forward. 

When Smith finally met with the children from St. Willibrord, she spoke to them about the process of writing the book and what reconciliation means to her, but she also heard from some Indigenous and non-Indigenous students about how the book made them feel. 

Monique Gray Smith visits students in Montreal to talk about her book Speaking Our Truth 8:04
Students at St Willibrord Elementary School in Châteauguay, QC pose with their copies of Monique Gray Smith's Speaking Our Truth. (Amanda Klang/CBC)

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