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Children's Fiction Prejudice & Racism

The Train

by (author) Jodie Callaghan

illustrated by Georgia Lesley

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2020
Prejudice & Racism, Multigenerational, Native Canadian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
  • Reading age: 6 to 9


Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. Ashley sees his sadness, and Uncle tells her of the day years ago when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train before being taken to residential school where their lives were changed forever. They weren't allowed to speak Mi'gmaq and were punished if they did. There was no one to give them love and hugs and comfort. Uncle also tells Ashley how happy she and her sister make him. They are what give him hope. Ashley promises to wait with her uncle by the train tracks, in remembrance of what was lost.

About the authors

Jodie Callaghan is from the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Gespe’gewa’gi (Quebec). She started writing stories when she was 8 years old and has always been drawn to story-telling. She has found writing to be the best way to connect to her history and her culture. Jodie currently resides in Northern New Brunswick with her husband, child, and pets. When she’s not teaching, she is very slowly chipping away at her Masters of Education degree from UNB and dreaming up stories she will one day write.


Jodie Callaghan's profile page

Georgia Lesley is a Canadian-born professional artist and illustrator living in British Columbia's Cariboo region. She began illustrating in 2006 and strives to create a sense of depth, emotion, and visual storytelling, to assist and enhance the written word.


Georgia Lesley's profile page


  • Long-listed, OLA Best Bets
  • Commended, From Sea to Sea: Celebrating Indigenous Picture Books - IBBY
  • Short-listed, Forest of Reading - Silver Birch Express
  • Commended, CCBC - Best Books for Kids and Teens - Fall
  • Commended, American Indians in Children's Literature's Best Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews

Mi'gmaq storyteller Callaghan recounts this sad episode from Indigenous history using simple, understated text that conveys the lingering pain of this injustice.


Mi’gmaq author Jodie Callaghan has created a sensitive and flowing text that, in the course of describing a short afternoon’s encounter between a child and an elder, embodies a generation’s suffering. A touching line near the end of the story states, “I am waiting for what we lost that day to come back to us.” But the hopeful note of Uncle’s pride in his young relatives leaves us waiting for better things too.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Through Uncle's story, Callaghan (Mi'gmaq) presents a harsh topic in a gentle way. Lesley's soft color palette and expressive characters blend beautifully with the story without lifting its heaviness. Keeps a critical memory alive. ”

"'The Train' is a vital story that helps readers learn about residential schools and intergenerational trauma.”

Toronto Star

Other titles by Jodie Callaghan

Other titles by Georgia Lesley

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