Due in part to institutions such as residential schools, Aboriginal languages in Canada and the US are in danger of going extinct. But children’s books are doing their part to prevent this tragic result, with several books coming out recently that introduce the language, culture, or history of vulnerable languages. Quill and Quire, a Canadian magazine of book news and reviews, reviewed picture books focused on the Cree language, including Stolen Words.
Written by Melanie Florence and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, Stolen Words tells the story of the relationship between a young girl and her Cree grandfather. When the young protagonist discovers her grandfather lost his Cree language from the residential school system, she sets out to help him relearn the language. Quill and Quire praises the picture books evocative description and illustrations and its frank confrontation of the trauma of the residential schools. Gabrielle’s illustrations are described as “beautiful and disturbing.”