When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.
When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award in the Young People's Literature (Illustrated Books) category, and is nominated for the TD Canadian's Children's Literature Award.
David Alexander Robertson is an award-winning graphic novelist and writer who has long been an advocate for educating youth on Indigenous history and contemporary issues. He has written several graphic novels, including the bestselling 7 Generations series and Sugar Falls. His first novel, The Evolution of Alice, was winner of On the Same Page (2016). David lives in Winnipeg with his wife and five children, where he works in the field of Indigenous education.
Julie Flett is an illustrator and artist of Cree-Métis descent. She studied fine arts at Concordia University (Montreal) and Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Vancouver). She received the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize and was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet(L’alphabet di Michif); her book Wild Berries/Pakwa che Menisu was chosen as the First Nation Communities READ title selection for 2014–2015 and the first-time recipient of the 2014 Aboriginal Literature Award.
Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression.
A quiet story…of love and resistance.… Flett’s collage illustrations, with their simplicity and earthy colors, are soulful and gentle…. All readers will connect with how Nókom lives in celebration of colors, her long hair, her language, and, most of all, her family.
—The Horn Book Magazine, a starred review
Wow! Beautiful, painful, and shining with truth and dignity. Bravo!
—Richard Van Camp, Author