Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 13
- Grade: 5 to 8
- Reading age: 9 to 13
The true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of Attawapiskat First Nation, a native Cree community in Northern Ontario, who have been fighting for a new school since 1979 when a fuel spill contaminated their original school building. Shannen's fight took her all the way to Parliament Hill and was taken up by children around the world. Shannen’s dream continues today with the work of the Shannen's Dream organization and those everywhere who are fighting for the rights of Aboriginal children.
About the author
Janet Wilson is an award-winning artist and a published author, holding over 50 publishing copyrights in the children's literature field. She graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design as a mature student, the mother of two little boys. Janet's love of books combined with a particular talent for drawing children has brought her into the world of "kidlit." Her more realistic style lends itself to interpreting the stories of children's favorite authors in producing picture books. Sensitivity to the nuances of facial expressions helps young readers grasp subjects ranging from dealing with death, the arrival of a new baby, the tragedy of war or just wishing your new dress was a different colour. Her awards include Best Illustrated Book in the United States in 2004 for Jasper's Day, Canadian Information Book of the Year for her artwork in In Flanders Fields, and she is the first non-native artist to be awarded the Native Reading Week Award for her illustrations in Solomon's Tree. Janet is a career artist known for her fine art commissioned portraits and still life paintings.
Shannen and the Dream for a SchoolThe true story of thirteen-year-old Shannen Koostachin, who fought for the rights of the children in her community of Attawpiskat First Nation.
Organized in twenty chapters and accompanied by photographs, this nonfiction text tells the true story of Shannen Koostachin and her classmates’ efforts to get the Canadian government to replace their contaminated elementary school in Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. Teachers and librarians can use this book to bring the definitions of perseverance, equity, and justice to life. Share this book with students to show them the power young people have to raise their voices, get organized and fight for what is right.
Also available: Severn and the Day She Silenced the World by Janet Wilson
Author available for school visits.
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.
Shannen and the Dream for a SchoolShannen Koostachin was an Aboriginal girl who had a dream for a safe and proper education for all children and youth in her community of Attawapiskat, Ontario. In 2008, at the age of 13, she challenged the Canadian Government for reneging on promises that had been made to their community to build a school to replace the one that had been contaminated by a fuel leak in 1979. This dynamic young activist was killed in a car accident in 2010. The people of Attawapiskat are still waiting for a school, but progress has been made because of Shannen’s belief that it’s “possible for children to create a better world”. A timeline of Aboriginal History in Canada and Glossary of Aboriginal items and Cree words are included.
This book is a First Nation Communities Read 2012-2013 Feature Book Selection.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2012-2013.
Shannen and the Dream for a School (A Kids’ Power Book)Attawapiskat had nothing but a few portables where their children attended school. Shannen Koostachin was one of those children and she, along with her friends and community, decided to do something about it. They started off by making a YouTube video about the poor condition of the portables and travelled to Ottawa to speak to politicians, telling them they were failing First Nations children. Their story inspired children across the nation.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.
Other titles by Janet Wilson
How Kids are Taking Action
In Flanders Fields
The Story of the Poem by John McCrae
How Kids Are Making a Difference
Severn and the Day She Silenced the World
How kids are changing the world
How kids are saving the planet
True Stories of Young Activists
A Story of Remembrance