Not My Girl
by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Annick Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-55451-624-7 (sc)
$9.95, 36 pp., colour illustrations, ages 6 – 9
This memoir, beautifully illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, details the experiences of ten-year-old Olemaun, an Inuit girl who has spent the last two years at a residential school in Aklavik. Upon returning home to Tuktoyaktuk, she discovers she has lost her native tongue and has forgotten the skills taught to her by her parents, and she is initially rejected by her mother. Over time she learns again how to use an ulu, is retaught how to set traps, skin hares, and pluck geese, and masters the art of dog-sledding under the northern lights. By the story’s end, she is enveloped once again in her mother’s loving embrace.
Classroom Connections: This award-winning book—which is also available in hardcover and epub versions—deals with traditions and assimilation in Canada’s twentieth-century Northwest Territories. Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s experiences, while heart-breaking, offer hope that the deleterious impact of residential schooling can eventually be overcome. Aimed at elementary students in grades 1 to 4, Not My Girl offers opportunities for varied uses in Social Studies, Visual Arts and Language classes.
Review by George Sheppard.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2018 issue.