This book is for the March challenge of the Book Mine Reading Club.
This is a wonderful book for kids with a very poignant message. It will also teach kids a bit about the Ojibway/Anishinaabe ancestry and nation and Indigenous issues. This is also a true story so it makes it even more poignant.
Irene and her family live together on Nipissing First Nation, until the day a government agent comes to the door and takes Irene and her two brothers away to live at a residential school very far from home. I can’t even imagine that happening to anyone, much less kids. How sad it would be for the parents and kids. Yet, that is a common occurrence among Indigenous people.
Irene’s parents don’t want to send their children away, but they are given no choice. Irene’s mother hugs her close and tells her: Never forget who you are!
Irene cannot guess what awaits her at the residential school, but through everything she will cling to her mother’s words. She will not forget who she is or where she comes from. And that keeps her moving forward. Will she ever get out of the residential school? I don’t want to spoil the story, so I would say one way or the other!
The book also includes a special section with photographs about the real-life Irene and her family.
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth