When We Were Alone
Reviewed by Eileen Redden
By David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett. HighWater Press, 2016. 24 pages. $18.95/hardcover; $15/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–8.
This beautifully illustrated picture book is the story of a young Cree girl and her grandmother. As they spend time in the garden, the little girl asks her grandmother questions. All of the questions relate to the adult’s experiences at the Native American residential school she attended as a child. The information shared is age appropriate and would be an excellent way to introduce that topic to young children. It is a short book with little detail, but could easily be utilized in a discussion with an adult. The adult could ask the children how they would feel about being required to wear somber colors or not being allowed to use their native language. The discussion could also include the ways the children coped with a less than ideal situation. It is a Canadian book, but the topic of residential schools is relevant in both Canada and the United States. This is an excellent book for libraries, classrooms, and meetings.