Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 9
- Grade: p to 4
I lost my talk
The talk you took away
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.
One of Rita Joe's most influential poems, "I Lost My Talk" tells the revered Mi'kmaw Elder's childhood story of losing her language while a resident of the residential school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. An often quoted piece in this era of truth and reconciliation, Joe's powerful words explore and celebrate the survival of Mi'kmaw culture and language despite its attempted eradication.
A companion book to the simultaneously published I'm Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, I Lost My Talk is a necessary reminder of a dark chapter in Canada's history, a powerful reading experience, and an effective teaching tool for young readers of all cultures and backgrounds. Includes a biography of Rita Joe and striking colour illustrations by Mi'kmaw artist Pauline Young.
About the authors
Acclaimed poet Rita Joe (1932—2007) of Whycocomagh First Nation wrote seven books, won numerous awards, and continues to be an influence on poets and other artists across Canada. I Lost My Talk is perhaps Joe's most famous poem, and references her time at the Shubenacadie Residential School. The poem inspired an eponymous multimedia performance at the National Arts Centre in 2016 as well as songs written by Indigenous youth across the country. She is known today as the Poet Laureate of the Mi'kmaq.
Anne Joe, Estate of Rita Joe (Rita Joe's daughter), email@example.com, 902-379-2263, 4962 Shore Rd., P. O. Box 7216, Eskasoni, NS, B1W 1B2
Pauline Young is a visual artist who was first exposed to the creative world through her father, Phillip Young, an internationally renowned artist, who painted the bottoms of her feet. She still recalls the smooth sensation of paint oozing between her toes. She draws her inspiration from him and the natural environment and is always looking down to see what the ground can offer, such as incorporating beach sand and red oxide sand into her paintings.
Pauline Young, 880 Route 425, Whitney, NB, E1V 4K4
- Short-listed, APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
- Long-listed, First Nation Communities READ Awards
"This picture book version of I Lost My Talk is best read with Rebecca Thomas's I'm Finding My Talk. These haunting, evocative books bring an original approach to the exploration of Canadian residential schools in picture books. For readers and teachers who appreciate fact-based information, there is also "A Short History of Residential Schools" at the end of I Lost My Talk. Educators, librarians, and families will find their classrooms and book collections invaluably enriched by these books. They are real tools of truth and reconciliation; as such, they belong on every bookshelf in Canada and beyond." —Canadian Review of Materials (Winnipeg, MB)