"This picture book explores the intergenerational impact of Canada's residential school system that separated 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 shared through generations, and how healing can also be shared. Stolen Words captures the beautiful, healing relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks him how to say something in his language-- Cree--her grandpa admits that his words were stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather regain his language"--Publisher's description
Two years ago, Margaret left her Arctic home for the outsiders' school. Now she has returned and can barely contain her excitement as she rushes towards her waiting family -- but her mother stands still as a stone. This strange, skinny child, with her hair cropped short, can't be her daughter. "Not my girl!" she says angrily. Margaret's years at school have changed her. Now ten years old, she has forgotten her language and the skills to hunt and fish. She can't even stomach her mother's food. Her only comfort is in the books she learned to read at school
Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, this book chronicles the unbreakable spirit of an Inuit girl while attending an Arctic residential school. Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do menial chores, but she remains undaunted. Her tenacity draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But the young girl is more determined than ever to learn how to read.