Early Book Review: When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson, Julie Flett

When We Were Alone is a picturebook written by David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett. It is currently scheduled for release on December 31 2016. When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear 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 everything was taken away. 

When We Were Alone is a wonderful look at how much the younger generation can learn about their heritage and the lives of their family by asking questions. I think it is important for us all to understand what our elders and ancestors went through, and how other cultures have faced. this picturebook offers a little of each. Whether your family tree includes Cree (or any other Native American Heritage) or not, it is important to know what they faced, and how any group has been treated in the past or present. Not only does this book offer a lesson on heritage and history, it can also help with empathy and understanding. Perhaps a better understanding of our shared history can help us understand how others feel and prevent similar treatment of groups still or now considered 'other'. I would highly recommend adding this to any library collection. It can start many important conversations that are currently very relevant to the current state of the world and necessary.
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