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list price: $21.95
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
published: Feb 2013
ISBN:9781554514915
publisher: Annick Press

When I Was Eight

illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton

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native canadian
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $21.95
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
published: Feb 2013
ISBN:9781554514915
publisher: Annick Press
Description

Bestselling memoir Fatty Legs for younger readers.

Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn.

The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do menial chores, but she remains undaunted. Her tenacity draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But the young girl is more determined than ever to learn how to read.

Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to younger readers. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

About the Authors
Gabrielle Grimard has been drawing since she was young. Her passion for drawing and painting led her to pursue studies in the arts and to a career as an award-winning illustrator. She has illustrated dozens of picture books, including Stolen Words, The Magic Boat, and Lila and the Crow. She lives near Sherbrooke, Quebec with her two children, several chickens, and her husband.
Author profile page >

Christy Jordan-Fenton vit à Fort St. John, en Colombie-Britannique, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton est sa belle-mère.


Christy Jordan-Fenton
has been an infantry soldier, a pipeline laborer, a survival instructor,
and a bare back bronco rider. Christy has also worked with street children.
She was born just outside Rimbey, Alberta, and has lived in Australia,
South Africa, and the United States. She now lives near Fort St. John,
British Columbia. Christy works with her mother in law, Margaret
Pokiak-Fenton, to write stories.

Author profile page >

Margaret Pokiak-Fenton spent her early years on Banks Island in the Arctic Ocean. She now lives in Fort St. John, British Columbia.
Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
6 to 9
Grade:
1 to 4
Awards
  • , TD Summer Reading Club Recommended Reads List
Editorial Reviews

“Powerful and disturbing . . . readers will admire her for her incredible spirit and courage.”

— Exeter-Times Advocate, 05/16/13

“This book is a small but powerful reminder of the freedom that literacy brings.”

— School Library Journal, 05/13

“Utterly compelling.” 

— Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 02/13

“Olemaun is a great character and an excellent example for young readers to follow.”

— CM Reviews, 06/13

“This excellent picture book . . . a powerful way to introduce the residential school experience to younger readers.” 

— Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 02/02/14

“An excellent book to start discussions and research about the effects of residential schools.”

— Canadian Teacher, 02/01/17

“A searing account of assimilation policies and a celebration of the human spirit.”

— Booklist, 04/13

“Its greatest potency lies in its representation of an indomitable child determined to read.”

— Toronto Star, 04/12/13

“An even more powerful read due to its emphasis on concise, affective text coupled with Gabrielle Grimard’s quietly unpretentious artwork.”

— Canlit for Little Canadians, 04/28/13

“A powerful story . . . ties in with antibullying themes.”

— Resource Links, 06/13

“A frightful but honest story about perseverance . . . Look for it. Order it. Share it.” 

— American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), 07/21/13

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Reader Reviews

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Top  Grade
Librarian review

When I Was Eight

Margaret is determined to learn how to read, but that means leaving her Arctic home for the outsiders' school. A version of Fatty Legs for younger readers.

Residential schooling is an important part of Canada’s history. This book makes it accessible for young students to learn about some of the history through the lens of a young Inuit girl, Margaret, who wants to go to school to learn how to read. Besides telling one story of learning to read, several themes can be found in this story: assimilation, using your voice, and standing your ground.

Also available: Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

When I Was Eight

In spite of her father’s warnings, eight-year-old Olemaun wants to learn to read which means attending a residential school. Renamed Margaret she remains feisty and stubborn attracting the negative attention of one of the nuns. In spite of insults, extra chores and frightening punishments, Margaret teaches herself to read and finally beats the nuns at their own game. This short picture book is an adaptation of the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Previously published as Fatty Legs, When I Was Eight this book introduces Margaret’s story to younger readers. Charming colour illustrations enhance the text.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2013-2014.

Reading Lists Featuring “When I Was Eight”

Other Titles by Gabrielle Grimard

Other Titles by Christy Jordan-Fenton

Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs

A True Story
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
More Info
Stranger at Home, A

Stranger at Home, A

A True Story
edition:eBook
More Info

Other Titles by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton

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