When We Were Alone by David Alexander RobertsonWhen We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson

When We Were Alone

byDavid Alexander RobertsonIllustratorJulie Flett

Hardcover | December 1, 2016

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When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award in the Young People's Literature (Illustrated Books) category, and was nominated for the TD Canadian's Children's Literature Award.
David A. Robertson is an award-winning writer. His books include When We Were Alone (winner Governor General’s Literary Award), Will I See? (winner Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award Graphic Novel Category), Betty, The Helen Betty Osborne Story (listed In The Margins), and the YA novel Strangers. David educates as well as ...
Title:When We Were AloneFormat:HardcoverDimensions:24 pages, 8.5 × 7.5 × 0.25 inPublished:December 1, 2016Publisher:Portage & Main PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:155379673X

ISBN - 13:9781553796732


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect For My Classroom This is such a wonderful resource in my primary classroom. Really touches on residential schools in a way that is appropriate for young readers.
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read A must read. It's a great way to have children read about serious issues in a way that is appropriate for their age level.
Date published: 2018-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every Child Should Have this Book This book offers adults an effective way to begin discussions with young children about the residential school system.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read It is essential that our children learn about the problems with the residential school system that subjected generations of First Nations peoples to the awfulness of losing their language, family, and identity. The best way to teach is through some of the many brilliant books that are available on bookstore and library shelves. One such book is When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson. Told in questions posed from a little girl to her Nókom, we find out Nókom does the things she does today because she was not allowed to do them when she was at residential school. There are simple moments of joy in the story, where Nókom speaks of "when we were alone" and were able to say and do things to remind them of who they are and where they came from. This book can be shared with even the littlest of readers. It explains how things were in a very delicate way, without too much information about the atrocities that we as adults know were perpetuated. It is the perfect first introduction to explaining the residential school system in an age appropriate way that all children can understand. I am particularly fond on the incorporation of the Cree language in the story to give children the sense of what was missing from the education of the First Nations children. As always, the beautiful, simple illustrations by Julie Flett bring life and colour to an otherwise heartbreaking story. Published by Highwater Press, When We Were Alone is a must have for every primary classroom in Canada and a must read for every child.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a great Canadian book! an age-appropriate introduction to the legacy of residential schools, told by a grandmother to her young grandchild, with wonderful illustrations
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! What a great book! All Canadians old and young must read this gentle and beautifully illustrated book.
Date published: 2017-04-07

Editorial Reviews

"Done simply, but with devastating clearness this is the story of a woman telling her granddaughter of her time in one of the boarding schools to which Canadian First Nation children were taken. She tells of the brutal methods used to strip them of their own cultures and how they managed to quietly, but firmly resist this. The lovely illustrations further the powerful emotional clout of this important book." - Monica Edinger, Educating Alice