When I Was Eight

When I Was Eight

Book - 2013
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Annick Press, c2013
ISBN: 9781554514915
1554514916
Branch Call Number: jff JOR NVD
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Fatty legs
When I was 8

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vpl_childrens Aug 04, 2016

A retelling of Fatty Legs for younger children

SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

When Olemaun was eight, she decided that she wanted to learn how to read. To do so, she had to attend a mission school far from her Arctic home on Banks Island. She begged her father to send her to the “outsiders’ school”. He was reluctant, but he finally agreed to let her go.

She soon discovered why her father had misgivings.

The nuns at the school cut off her lovely long hair. They took away her warm parka and other clothes, replacing them with a thin school tunic and scratchy underwear. They ignored her Inuit name, calling her “Margaret” instead, and they gave her endless chores as if she were a servant.

They were not interested in teaching Olemaun how to read, or even how to speak and understand English.

One nun in particular humiliated Olemaun regularly, and one dreadful night, she locked Olemaun in a cold, dark cellar alone for many hours.

The nuns’ callous and sometimes cruel treatment made her even more determined to read – and she did. Little by little, with persistence and determination, Olemaun learned how, and she was able to experience the power that we hold when we can read.

When I was Eight is the picture book version of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s true account of her experiences at residential school in her memoir, Fatty Legs. (A sequel, A Stranger at Home, tells of Margaret’s experiences when she returned to her home.)

Olemaun’s story is powerful and disturbing, and readers will admire her for her incredible spirit and courage.

Co-author Christy Jordan-Fenton is the daughter-in-law of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.

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SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 9

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