Book Reviews, Reading

Book Review: The Journey Forward, a novella on reconciliation

The Journey Forward, A Novella On Reconciliation: When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! by Richard Van Camp

This the story of 12-year-old Dene Cho, who is angry that his people are losing their language, traditions, and ways of being. Elder Snowbird is there to answer some of Dene Cho’s questions, and to share their history including the impact Residential schools continue to have on their people. It is through this conversation with Snowbird that Dene Cho begins to find himself, and begins to realize that understanding the past can ultimately change the future.

The Journey Forward, A Novella On Reconciliation: Lucy & Lola by Monique Gray Smith

Lucy and Lola are 11-year-old twins who are heading to Gabriola Island, BC, to spend the summer with their Kookum (grandmother) while their mother studies for the bar exam. During their time with Kookum, the girls begin to learn about her experiences in being sent — and having to send their mother — to Residential school. Ultimately, they discover what it means to be intergenerational survivors.

Please note: These titles have been bound together in a “flipbook” format, giving readers, educators, parents, caregivers, and more the chance to share and experience two points-of-view on Residential schools and Reconciliation in one compelling package.

Our Thoughts

Two beautifully written stories that share the experience of Residential schools and the impact they had, and continue to have, on multiple generations of Canada’s First Nations’ families.

My ten-year-old was able to engage with the stories and connect with the characters, sometimes saying, “That’s really sad.” The message of hardship was clearly available, yet the stories were warm and hopeful.

I would highly recommend this book for teaching children about Residential schools. Opportunities to learn the truth directly from the voices of First Nations’ authors should be taken and held and cherished. Allowing yourself to connect with their words and experiences to create understanding is a step forward in our efforts of reconciliation. And it’s important to teach this history to all children, as they will be the next generation to continue repairing the relationships in our country.

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This is an unsolicited review, I purchased this copy through McNally Robinson Booksellers.

  • ISBN: 9780991678266
  • Pages: 160, paperback
  • Publisher: McKellar & Martin Publishing Group, Limited

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