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When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear 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 everything was taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, a story of empowerment and strength.
Each spread is compelling in its own way, offering remarkable depictions of resilience and the strong emotional ties within this family. An empowering and important story.
—Booklist, a starred review
A quiet story…of love and resistance.… Flett’s collage illustrations, with their simplicity and earthy colors, are soulful and gentle…. All readers will connect with how Nókom lives in celebration of colors, her long hair, her language, and, most of all, her family.
—The Horn Book Magazine, a starred review
When We Were Alone is exquisite and stunning, for the power conveyed by the words Robertson wrote, and for the illustrations that Flett created. I highly recommend it.
—Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature
Wow! Beautiful, painful, and shining with truth and dignity. Bravo!
—Richard Van Camp, Author
Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression.