I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number

Book - 2016
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A picture book based on a true story about a young First Nations girl who was sent to a residential school. When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite the efforts of the nuns to force her to do otherwise. Based on the life of Jenny Kay Dupuis' own grandmother, I Am Not a Number brings a terrible part of Canada's history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.
Publisher: Toronto, ON :, Second Story Press,, [2016]
ISBN: 9781927583944
Branch Call Number: EASY FIC Dup
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
Additional Contributors: Kacer, Kathy 1954-
Newland, Gillian


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May 05, 2021

This is a moving text about the Canadian policy of taking First Nations, Metis and Inuit children from their homes to live in "residential" schools to be "saved" from their tribes' cultures.

It is the tale of Jenny Kay Dupuis' grandmother and how she and her brothers were taken from her parents by an Indian agent in 1928 and brought to live in one such school. She was assigned a number -- 759 -- and told to "wash the brown" off her skin.

Her hair is cut short and she's forced to wear a school uniform and eat food that makes her gag. Her hands were burnt by a Sister after she dared to speak her language, Ojibway, in front of the other girls. In many cases, children were put to work and living conditions were substandard.

Finally she gets to go home, and she and her parents come up with a plan to hide in her father's taxidermy workshop when the Indian agents comes the next Fall. While he threatens the family, her father sticks up for her and her brother and swears he'll never allow them to take his children again.

Oct 05, 2020

This was a emotionally tough book to read as an adult but felt it was a necessary book to read with my children (ages:7-9). This was based on a true heart breaking story. We were able to empathize with the family in this book. We also took away from this book, that we should always accept others.

Jul 30, 2020

I learned right along with the kids. Must read for EVERYONE!! I was so shocked I never heard about this in school, that I shared the book with my 65 year old aunt! She had no clue this went on as well.

Jan 31, 2020

This is a must read! A compelling account of one child's experience in residential school.

Jul 23, 2018

Every Canadian should read this book. Enlightening and based on true facts. The author's grandmother is taken by implied force from her home as a young child. The story only hints at the extent of the treatment that the children were subjected to. I knew a little about residential housing from a person I knew briefly a long time ago, but this filled in the cracks and gave an even more meaningful perspective. For ages 8+ into adulthood. It is a 15 minute read and well worth it.

ArapahoeDonna Jan 30, 2018

This is a great book for children who are learning about the unfairness of wars and the displacement of people because of political decisions. It is balanced with enough text to tell the story and pictures to get the idea across properly. Anne Frank was not the only child affected by war and I am happy to see other groups of people represented in this book.

ArapahoeStaff29 Dec 10, 2017

On a recent trip through Canada we drove through many First Nations communities and learned about the shocking atrocities committed by the government and the churches in these residential schools where indigenous children were stolen from their families to be 'civilized' all the way until 1996.

This children's book is one individuals story.

Nov 02, 2017

This is a beautiful and moving book that i read to my 4 year old son. He was able to hold the attention throughout the entire time and asked me to read it again and again. I was able to use this story to tell him about the residential school system in Canada. Highly recommended.

DPLjosie Aug 11, 2017

An important book on the residential school program in Canada in which Native children were forcibly taken from their families to be raised in boarding schools. (The same process occurred in the United States with many of the same results.) The authors note says that the last residential school was closed in 1996; this history is still strongly with us today.

This will be an emotional book for a child, but the story is communicated in an accessible way.

Jun 11, 2017

A good introduction for children to the subject of Residential Schools. This is an emotional story for a child but told in a way that will give information, not fright.
I enjoyed this quick read.

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Jul 07, 2017

cutelion918 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over


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