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David A. Robertson

When We Were Alone

When We Were Alone

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This picture book shares how the power of love strengthens two siblings who live in a residential school.

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

Also available in a bilingual Swampy Cree/English edition.

When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award in the Young People's Literature (Illustrated Books) category, and was nominated for the TD Canadian's Children's Literature Award.

About the Authors

David A. Robertson (he/him/his) is an award-winning writer and recent recipient of the Writer's Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award. His books include When We Were Alone (winner Governor General's Literary Award), Will I See? (winner Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award), Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story (listed In The Margins), and the YA trilogy The Reckoner (winner Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction, McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People). His most recent works include the graphic novel Breakdown (Top 10 Fiction Title, In the Margins), middle grade novel The Barren Grounds, and his memoir Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory. A sought-after speaker and educator, David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.

Julie Flett is an award-winning Cree-Metis author, illustrator and artist. She has received many awards, including the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You, written by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and the Canadian Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Award in 2015 for Dolphins SOS, written by Roy Miki (Tradewind Books) and in 2017 for My Heart Fills with Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith(Orca Books), and was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature for her book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L'alphabet di Michif). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was chosen as Canada' First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-2015.

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