When We Were Alone

(Author) (Illustrator)
Available

Product Details

Price
$19.95  $18.55
Publisher
Highwater Press
Publish Date
Pages
32
Dimensions
7.8 X 8.5 X 0.4 inches | 0.6 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781553796732

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About the Author

David A. Robertson is an award-winning writer. His books include When We Were Alone (winner Governor General's Literary Award), Will I See? (winner Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award Graphic Novel Category), Betty, The Helen Betty Osborne Story (listed In The Margins), and the YA novel Strangers. David educates as well as entertains through his writings about Indigenous Peoples in Canada, reflecting their cultures, histories, communities, as well as illuminating many contemporary issues. David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.

Julie Flett is an award-winning Cree-Metis author, illustrator and artist. She has received many awards, including the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You, written by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and the Canadian Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Award in 2015 for Dolphins SOS, written by Roy Miki (Tradewind Books) and in 2017 for My Heart Fills with Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books), and was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature for her book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L'alphabet di Michif). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was chosen as Canada's First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-2015.

Reviews

Robertson's soft rhythmic text and Julie Flett's simple, yet expressive, illustrations combine to create a beautiful story of strength and resistance. The muted colours used in the pictures of residential school life remind readers of the suffering endured by Indigenous children. The contrast between these pages, and the vibrant greens, reds, and blues of the illustrations depicting residential school students temporarily escaping into nature, is heartbreakingly effective. Robertson never tries to disguise the underlying tragedy of Nókom's experience, but together he and Flett have crafted a book that is still suitable for younger readers, in spite of the intense subject matter.

When We Were Alone is an incredible work of art and is very highly recommended.

--Roseanne Gauthier "National Reading Campaign"
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.--a starred review "The Horn Book Magazine"
When We Were Alone is rare. It 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"

...Robertson handles a delicate task here admirably well: explaining residential schools, that shameful legacy, and making them understandable to small children. It's a dark history, and the author doesn't disguise that, but he wisely focuses the grandmother's tale on how, season by season, the students use creativity, imagination, and patience to retain their sense of identity. A beautifully quiet, bold strength arises from the continued refrain "When we were alone" and in how the children insisted on being themselves. Flett's gorgeous, skillful illustrations have a flattened, faux naïve feel to them, like construction paper collage, a style that works perfectly with the story. She nicely contrasts the school's dull browns and grays with the riotous colors surrounding Nókom and gets much expression from her simple silhouettes.

Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression.

-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Robertson's text moves between the present and the past, the girl's questions and Nókom's memories, which deepen and intensify the quiet, powerful way she lives out her own culture, day by day, in the present. A beautifully rendered story of resisitance and love, this is made all the more luminous by Flett's art - not just by flashes of fuschsia or scarlet among ochre grasses, but by her precisely observed images of the compact bodies of the uniformed children, bowed beneath the weight of the scissors, or lovingly tending each other's hair. Highly recommended.--Deirdre Baker "Toronto Star"