When I Was Eight

When I Was Eight

Book - 2013
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Bestselling memoir Fatty Legs for younger readers.

Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father's warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders' school to learn.

The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do menial chores, but she remains undaunted. Her tenacity draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But the young girl is more determined than ever to learn how to read.

Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to younger readers. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

Publisher: Toronto : Annick Press, c2013
ISBN: 9781554514915
Branch Call Number: J 371 .829 JOR
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) :,col. ill. ;,24 cm
Alternative Title: Fatty legs

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vpl_childrens Aug 04, 2016

A retelling of Fatty Legs for younger children

SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

When Olemaun was eight, she decided that she wanted to learn how to read. To do so, she had to attend a mission school far from her Arctic home on Banks Island. She begged her father to send her to the “outsiders’ school”. He was reluctant, but he finally agreed to let her go.

She soon discovered why her father had misgivings.

The nuns at the school cut off her lovely long hair. They took away her warm parka and other clothes, replacing them with a thin school tunic and scratchy underwear. They ignored her Inuit name, calling her “Margaret” instead, and they gave her endless chores as if she were a servant.

They were not interested in teaching Olemaun how to read, or even how to speak and understand English.

One nun in particular humiliated Olemaun regularly, and one dreadful night, she locked Olemaun in a cold, dark cellar alone for many hours.

The nuns’ callous and sometimes cruel treatment made her even more determined to read – and she did. Little by little, with persistence and determination, Olemaun learned how, and she was able to experience the power that we hold when we can read.

When I was Eight is the picture book version of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s true account of her experiences at residential school in her memoir, Fatty Legs. (A sequel, A Stranger at Home, tells of Margaret’s experiences when she returned to her home.)

Olemaun’s story is powerful and disturbing, and readers will admire her for her incredible spirit and courage.

Co-author Christy Jordan-Fenton is the daughter-in-law of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.

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SPL_Childrens May 14, 2013

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 9

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