National Day For Truth & Reconciliation Reading List
National Day For Truth & Reconciliation is an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools – the impacts of which are still being felt in communities across Canada. As we reflect this week, here are some books that may help our learning and may equip us with the tools to guide little ones through this impactful day.
With Our Orange Hearts
By Webstad, Phyllis
Illustrated by Kewageshig, Emily
“Every child matters, including you and me. With our orange hearts, we walk in harmony.” As a young child, your little world can be full of big emotions. In this book, I, Phyllis Webstad, founder of Orange Shirt Day, show that sharing my story with the world helped me to process my feelings. My true orange shirt story encourages young children to open their hearts and listen as others share their feelings, and to be more comfortable sharing their own feelings too. Listening is a first step towards reconciliation. It’s never too early to start.
For more than 150 years, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools across Canada.
Artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket to make sure that history is never forgotten. The Blanket is a living work of art–a collection of hundreds of objects from those schools. It includes everything from photos, bricks, hockey skates, graduation certificates, dolls and piano keys to braids of hair. Behind every piece is a story. And behind every story is a residential school Survivor, including Carey’s father. This book is a collection of truths about what happened at those schools, but it’s also a beacon of hope and a step on the journey toward reconciliation.
Winner of the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books) category and winner 2017 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award: Younger Category
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.
Orange Shirt Day September 30th
By Webstad, Phyllis
Orange Shirt Society
Revised 2023 Edition. Orange Shirt Day, observed annually on September 30th, is also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is an official day to honour Residential School Survivors and their families, and to remember the children who did not come home. What was initially envisioned as a way to keep the conversations going about all aspects of Residential Schools in Williams Lake and the Cariboo Region of British Columbia, Canada, has now expanded into a movement across Turtle Island and beyond. Orange Shirt Day: September 30th aims to create champions who will walk a path of reconciliation and promote the message that ‘Every Child Matters’. This award-winning book explores a number of important topics including the historical, generational, and continual impacts of Residential Schools on Indigenous Peoples, the journey of the Orange Shirt Day movement, and how you can effectively participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. With end of chapter reflection questions and a series of student art submissions, readers are guided to explore how they, and others, view and participate in Residential School reconciliation.
Our recommended reading is made possible by our partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers. Visit your nearest McNally Robinson Bookstore in person or online to secure a copy of the titles listed above.