Written by Melanie Florence and Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
A little girl helps her grandfather regain the language taken from him as a child.
The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.
About the Author
Melanie Florence is an award-winning writer of Cree and Scottish heritage. Her book Jordin Tootoo: The Highs and Lows in the Journey of the First Inuk to Play in the NHL was chosen as an Honor Book by The American Indian Library Association. Her first picture book, Missing Nimama, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools and several YA novels, including The Missing. Melanie lives with her husband and two children in Toronto.
Melanie wrote Stolen Words in honor of her grandfather, whom she was close to as a child. Melanie never had the chance to speak to him about his Cree heritage, and this story is about the healing relationship she wishes she had been able to have with him.
About the Illustrator
Gabrielle Grimard uses various media to research and create the illustrations for a book, but her favorite aspect will always be color. She uses mainly watercolors, gouache and oil. She adds a touch of wooden pencil for the details. She has illustrated dozens of books and has been nominated for several awards. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.
- Release: September 5, 2017
- $17.95 Hardcover with Jacket
- 24 Pages
- 8.5 x 8.5
- Picture Book
- Ages 6-9 / Grades 1-3
- ISBN: 9781772600377
- Character Education
> Family & Friendship
- History & Social Studies
> Canadian History
> First Nations & Indigenous Peoples
- Reflecting Diversity
Praise for Stolen Words
"In this poignant picture book about the devastating legacy of residential schools, author Melanie Florence presents the story of a little girl who re-introduces her grandfather to his first language after he has spent many years without it. A simple text with tremendous emotional impact, the dialogue between child and adult inspires hope for younger generations along with admiration for a resilient and determined man whom we know will succeed in his quest to re-learn what has been lost.... While definitely geared towards young children, Stolen Words is a picture book that older readers will also appreciate for its historical significance, honesty, impactful language, and artful presentation. Highly recommended." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Florence’s tender text soothes the harsh reality of having Native language stolen while attending one of Canada’s former residential schools for Indigenous children. Grimard’s equally emotive illustrations show the stark realities of the experience in symbolic images... Unforgettable.” - Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"... a sobering ode to [Florence's] heritage, presented through eyes filled with love and hope... Word by word, her story—written in honor of her Cree grandfather—is a significant step toward forever healing." - Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
"... Stolen Words, from Melanie Florence, is one man’s emotional tale of strength, hope, and healing, shedding light on the continued repercussions of the horrific residential schools that separated indigenous children from their families and heritage in the name of cultural assimilation. In color and gray scale, Gabrielle Grimard’s moving watercolors capture the bittersweet journey while looking to the future." - Foreword Reviews
"...an emotionally charged series of interactions and memories that are pure Melanie Florence. They will astound readers and sadden them, while encouraging healing and learning without shame or anger." - CanLit for Little Canadians
"'Stolen Words' would be an asset to any home or school library. It is a very powerful tool to educate both Indigenous and non-indigenous readers about the long lasting effects of the residential school system." - Anishinabek News