No Time to Say Goodbye

Overview

No Time to Say Goodbye is a fictional account of five children sent to aboriginal boarding school, based on the recollections of a number of Tsartlip First Nations people. These unforgettable children are taken by government agents from Tsartlip Day School to live at Kuper Island Residential School. The five are isolated on the small island and life becomes regimented by the strict school routine. They experience the pain of homesickness and confusion while trying to adjust to a world completely different from ...
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Overview

No Time to Say Goodbye is a fictional account of five children sent to aboriginal boarding school, based on the recollections of a number of Tsartlip First Nations people. These unforgettable children are taken by government agents from Tsartlip Day School to live at Kuper Island Residential School. The five are isolated on the small island and life becomes regimented by the strict school routine. They experience the pain of homesickness and confusion while trying to adjust to a world completely different from their own. Their lives are no longer organized by fishing, hunting and family, but by bells, line-ups and chores. In spite of the harsh realities of the residential school, the children find adventure in escape, challenge in competition, and camaraderie with their fellow students. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always engrossing, No Time to Say Goodbye is a story that readers of all ages won't soon forget.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
In Canada, from the late 19th century to 1978, some 20 percent of Indian (sometimes referred to as "First Nations") children attended residential schools funded by the government and run by the churches. This novelization tells the story of Thomas, Wilson, Joey, Nelson, Monica, and Dusty, children virtually kidnapped by government and church officials from the day school near their home in British Columbia and taken to nearby Kuper Island, where they remained in a school run by priests and nuns for as long as 10 years. Conditions were not humane for the children, though most were permitted to return to their families for Christmas and a summer break. The authors, who write careful and somewhat stiff prose, try to avoid making their story a litany of horrors but they do walk their fictional charges through quite a range of abuses: humiliation for bedwetting, intense loneliness, sexual abuse of the girls, mandatory haircuts, poor food, emphasis on order and cleanliness over learning. "They taught us to pray for forgiveness for being Indian." While all the children struggle to assert control over their situation, the boys always plot escapes. Two make it to their homes but after awhile they are sent back by parents fearful of the priests. The teachers, male and female, are depicted as semiliterate, generally ignorant, and lacking empathy. The only sympathetic teacher is a coach, assigned late in the story, who cultivates athletic excellence to the great benefit of his students. This reviewer surmises that a lifetime of teaching in these circumstances was a sentence for the staff, who passed their discontent on to the hapless children. All the characters are caught in the midst of wrenchingsocial change. Well-thought-out pen and ink drawings illustrate the story. Libraries collecting material on the residential (Canadian) or boarding (US) schools need to balance the materials their students read about these schools. Everything negative portrayed in this novel surely happened to someone, but other writers tell stories less bleak. In Bead on an Ant Hill: A Lakota Childhood (reviewed in KLIATT in May 1999), Delphine Red Shirt tells of Jesuit brothers who respected her as a learner. In Where Courage Is Like a Wild Horse: The World of an Indian Orphanage (reviewed in KLIATT in September 2001), Sharon Skolnick recounts a 1953 experience with many abuses, but she had a teacher who truly cared for her charges. Leroy TeCube, author of Year in Nam: a Native American Soldier's Story (reviewed in KLIATT in November 2000), believes that his boarding school experience helped prepare him for his service. In Crazy Horse's Vision (Lee & Low Books), by Joseph Bruchac, a children's book that all ages will enjoy, S.D. Nelson bases his breathtaking illustrations on a style of drawing created by boarding school Indian children who drew in ledger books made available to them by resourceful teachers and officials. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Orca, Sono Nis Press, 172p. illus., Boardman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550391213
  • Publisher: Sono Nis Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 175
  • Age range: 9 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Olsen is the author of two previous Orca Young Readers as well as two Orca Soundings. She lives in North Saanich near Victoria, British Columbia.
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