Stolen Words by Melanie FlorenceStolen Words by Melanie Florence

Stolen Words

byMelanie FlorenceIllustratorGabrielle Grimard

Hardcover | September 5, 2017

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The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.
Melanie Florence has been recognized for her ability to write about Indigenous history and culture with sensitivity and compassion. Stolen Words has particular importance for Melanie because it was inspired by her own grandfather, who kept his Cree identity and his experience at a residential school a secret from her and his family. As...
Title:Stolen WordsFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:24 pages, 8 × 8 × 0.3 inShipping dimensions:8 × 8 × 0.3 inPublished:September 5, 2017Publisher:Second Story PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1772600377

ISBN - 13:9781772600377

Appropriate for ages: 6


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartwarming and Important This is a beautiful story about a little girl who asks her grandfather how to say something in his Cree language but he is sad that he can't tell her. This story is historically accurate and yet told in a gentle way to share about his experience at a residential school. This is a heartwarming story with a lovely ending.
Date published: 2019-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving and Important book Teaching children from an early age about the damaging effects of residential schools is important. Stolen Words is moving and sad--yet the sadness is alleviated by the actions of the granddaughter. There is real hope for First Nations people through their young people--and through young Canadians and new immigrants from many lands who want to understand this disastrous part of Canadian history.
Date published: 2018-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful and important! This story was told so well and is a powerful way to teach our young ones about Canada's history with indigenous peoples. My own children enjoyed the illustrations and really connected with characters of the story. Florence captures childhood curiosity in Taniki, whose questions prompted powerful conversations outside of this book's pages. Honestly, I'd go as far as saying this is essential reading for young Canadians so we don't forget our past and have a more empathetic understanding of movements such as orange shirt day. I also loved to see the glossary in the back, including pronunciation, and Cree language woven into the storytelling.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Important Book for Everyone All children need to learn about the residential school system. This book is a meaningful introduction. The usage of Cree is also very powerful.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Important Book for Everyone All children need to learn about the residential school system. This book is a meaningful introduction. The usage of Cree is also very powerful.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting! This book was my most anticipated book from last weekend's Word on the Street Toronto event. I had the pleasure to meet Melanie Florence, although briefly and picked up a copy of her beautiful book for our shelves. Stolen Words is the story of a Grandfather and his Nôsisim. She wants him to teach her his language, Cree. The problem is Grandpa's words were stolen a long time ago when he was sent away to a school where he was punished for using his words. The next day the little girl comes home with a worn paperback called Introduction to Cree to share with her Nimosôm. Now he can teach her his words. Word of warning, you will probably want to give this one a good read through a few times before sharing it as it is a highly emotional story, but so perfect for our youngest learners. I would share it with children in Pre-K and up. Gabrielle Grimard's illustrations are haunting and beautiful and convey the darkness and light of the story. It's the perfect story to share today and every day to let our children know, at their comprehension level, about Canada's past so that we can move towards a better future for every child.
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A heartbreaking and heartwarming story about Residential Schools 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.
Date published: 2017-04-29

Editorial Reviews

As historical fiction, the book relies on strong positive memories of [the author's] grandfather, and researched facts about...residential school[s]. The characters are portrayed with genuine emotions in softly colored, mixed media illustrations. - Dr. Jeanie Burnett - Kutztown Review - 20180413