Written by Melanie Florence
Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
About the book...
This beautifully illustrated book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It will take you on an emotional rollercoaster as Taniki, an adorable little Cree girl, discovers that her beloved grandfather has had all his childhood Cree words stolen from him. She probes and asks how can that be? He reveals to her the pain and suffering he experienced as a little boy when he was taken from his loving home and culture and forced to live in a residential school. He was stripped of everything he had known in his Cree world and forced to obey and live in another completely different world run by white people.
"(They took me) away to a school that was cold and lonely, where angry white faces raised their voices and their hands when we used our words." he answered. "They took our words and locked them away, punished us until we forgot them, until we sounded like them."
The religious stewards of these innocent, helpless, indigenous children proceed to cleanse the "Indian" out of them in barbaric and inexcusable ways. Even relating the details of his daily abuse made grandfather cry. Taniki is so saddened and moved by his story she knows she has to find a way to restore the happiness to her beloved grandfather. Can a little seven year old girl accomplish such a heroic thing all by herself?
Taniki's heart and soul has been deeply touched by his confession and she miraculously finds a way for her grandfather to heal his wounds and to bring a smile back to his face and into his heart.
The story brings to the forefront the pain and suffering these poor children went through and how the slow healing process is still ongoing from their horrific experiences. The story is short but very, very powerful and you wonder how people could be so cruel to treat vulnerable small children with such disdain and inhumanity. I highly recommend this book but be warned... it will make you very, very angry (and sad) at the injustices that are contained within its pages. Why didn't someone stand up and say how these precious children were being treated was totally wrong and seek help for them? Shame.
Storywraps rating... 5+++HUGS!!!!!
About the author...
Melanie wrote Stolen Words in honor of her grandfather, whom she was close to as a child. Melanie never had the chance to speak to him about his Cree heritage, and this story is about the healing relationship she wishes she had been able to have with him.
About the illustrator...
Gabrielle Grimard uses various media to research and create the illustrations for a book, but her favorite aspect will always be color. She uses mainly watercolors, gouache and oil. She adds a touch of wooden pencil for the details. She has illustrated dozens of books and has been nominated for several awards. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.
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