Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s collection and striking artworks from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl’s determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.
|Publisher:||Annick Press, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 11 Years|
About the Author
Christy Jordan-Fenton lives near Fort St. John, British Columbia. Margaret Pokiak-Fenton is her mother-in-law.
Margaret Pokiak-Fenton spent her early years on Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean. She now lives in Fort St. John.
Liz Amini-Holmes has illustrated many children's books and lives near San Francisco, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This biography is a children's book about a young Inuit girl who goes to a residential school in the 1940s. Olemaun Pokiak was born and raised on Banks Island, which is one of those many islands floating in the Arctic Ocean over the top of Canada. This is an amazingly remote part of our planet--I'm pretty sure it's unimaginatively far away from where ever you are right now. Anyway, she desperately wants to learn to read and enter the worlds that literature has to offer, so she begs her parents to let her attend the residential school on the mainland--a five day journey, mostly by schooner.Once at the school, the nuns cut off her thick braids, change Olemaun to Margaret, and put her to work. One especially evil nun, nicknamed The Raven, seems to particularly have it in for her, and the book is a list of bullying incidents. Finally, Olemaun cleverly outsmarts the nasty nun.This book is aimed at quite a young age, so the residential school horrors fell only under the bullying category. What makes this book really wonderful is the illustrations and photographs that work with the story. Either would have been very nice indeed, but to have both the great artwork (with the especially wicked looking nun) and actual photos of Inuit life in the first half of the 20th century, really makes the book.