$14.95 Paperback

208 Pages • 6.5" x 8"

Buy the eBook

Icon_ibook Icon_kobo

Ages: 9-13

Reading Levels

Guided Reading Level: V

Shannen and the Dream for a School

Kids' Power Series

by: Janet Wilson

First Nation Communities Read Selection for 2012-13!

All children have the right to a school...

This is the true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of Attawapiskat, a Cree community in Northern Ontario, who have been fighting for a new school since the late 1970s when a fuel leak contaminated their original school building.

It is 2008, and thirteen-year-old Shannen and the other students at J.R. Nakogee Elementary are tired of attending class in portables that smell and don’t keep out the freezing cold winter air. They make a YouTube video describing the poor conditions, and their plea for a decent school gains them attention and support from community leaders and children across the country. Inspired, the students decide to turn their grade-eight class trip into a visit to Ottawa to speak to the Canadian government. Once there, Shannen speaks passionately to the politicians about the need to give Native children the opportunity to succeed. The following summer, Shannen is nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Her passion and that of the other students makes politicians stand up and take notice, and becomes a rallying point for the community and for the country.

Shannen will never see her dream fulfilled. Tragically, she was killed in a car crash in 2010. Her family, friends, and supporters are continuing to fight and to honor her memory as they work for equality for children in communities everywhere.

Find out about the Shannen's Dream Campaign
Read the Canadian Geographic story on the children of Attawapiskat and their wait for a new school, "Still Waiting in Attawapiskat" And watch the Canadian Geographic video below, "Still Waiting in Attawapiskat"

Own this book? Get the eBook with BitLit.



Winner of the 2012-13 First Nation Communities Read program

Finalist for the 2013 Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction

Finalist for the 2012-13 Red Cedar Award from BC


"The many non-fiction text features (photographs, captions, quotes, excerpts from newspaper articles, maps, diagrams, fact boxes, a timeline, glossary) plus a lively writing style make this an accessible book for a variety of young readers." - Canadian Teacher Magazine, May 2013

This readable, inspiring story is thoroughly engaging. It’s both informative and politically rousing; even more precious than these qualities, perhaps, is its portrait of a Northern family and community." - Deirdre Baker, The Toronto Star, November 5, 2011

"Janet Wilson has written a powerful account of the true story of one Aboriginal girl's fight for safe and comfortable schools for all children." - CM Magazine, February 3, 2012

"This book should be mandatory reading material for middle school students. It is a gentle introduction to the way in which Canada has failed to live up to its treaty obligations." - Another Step to Take


Reading Levels

Guided Reading Level: V

Find books by:


Search Books

by Author/Illustrator

by New Releases by Audience by Series by Genre by Special Interests by Curriculum Links by Academic Subject