Book - 2005
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Winner of the Anskohk Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year Award. Finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Ruth Schwartz Award

In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school.

She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world -- the dancing sunlight, the tall grass, each shiny rock, the tadpoles in the creek, her grandfather's paddle song. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping.

Richly hued illustrations complement this gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her, even though she is on the verge of great loss -- a loss that native people have endured for generations because of the residential schools system.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

Publisher: Toronto, ON : Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2005
ISBN: 9780888996596
Branch Call Number: EASY FIC Cam
Characteristics: np : illus
Additional Contributors: La Fave, Kim, illus


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Jan 01, 2020

I read this for the "By An Indigenous Author" part of my 2020 reading challenge. A story about a young girl memorizing her surroundings and heritage before being sent off to school, moving and beautifully illustrated.

vpl_childrens Aug 04, 2016

"Dear Grandfather Tree, please keep my memories and my family safe. I will be home in the spring." Shi-Shi-etko connects with all the treasures of her family and community in the few days before she must leave to attend residential school. The story is poetically written with beautiful illustrations.

Sep 26, 2010

A topic that is not written about very often which depicts a sad time in Canadian/American history when children were taken away from their families to be "integrated" at government-run boarding schools. Shi-she-etko is a young native girl who wants to hold on to her memories and gathers them in a little pouch to take with her to the boarding school. Beatiful dreamlike illustrations.


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A young Aboriginal girl counts down her last four days before leaving her home when she is to be sent to a residential school.

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