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Stolen Words

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  213 reviews
The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language, Cree, he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive, beautifully illustrated picture book explores the interg ...more
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Second Story Press (first published September 1st 2017)
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  676 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn’t think I would be fully reviewing this picture book because of the short length of it (only thirteen pages), but I’ve found myself thinking about it quite a lot after putting it down. When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson and Jenny Kay Dupuis's I Am Not a Number are two reads that aquatinted me on the hard-hitting subject of this book: the intergenerational impact of Canada's residential school system, which separated young Indigenous children from their families.

I went into th
MissBecka Gee
Absolutely heartbreaking & beautiful!
Exquisite illustrations that accompany the tone of the story perfectly.
I really hope someone does a read-a-long or audio version of this.
It would have been wonderful to hear the Cree whispered in a grandfatherly voice.

Thank you NetGalley and Second Story Press for my DRC.
Canadian Reader
This is a powerful and beautiful picture book about how language was stolen from Canada’s indigenous children at church-run residential schools, which sought to “beat the Indian out of the Indian.” With its text appropriately written in Plains Cree (followed by English), the book tells the story of a little First Nations girl who delightedly runs home to show her beloved grandfather the dream catcher she has made at school. She asks to call him by the Cree name for grandfather, but he cannot tel ...more
Stolen Words / kimotinaniwiw itwewina is an emotionally satisfying children’s book about language, here Plains Cree, and the effects of its loss. A young girl has made a dream catcher at school one day and happily brings it home to show her family. As she shows it to her grandfather she asks him how to say grandfather in Cree. His long hesitation is followed by the admission that he has lost his words, that his words were taken away from him, and other children like him, who were taken from thei ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tears. A beautiful book; so powerful, so heart warming *and* heart-wrenching. I sense the author had lots and lots to say and worked very hard to pare it down, distill it, until only the most intense essence was left. And yet it's not depressing, and the illustrations are help lighten it as the ones that refer to the past misery are muted and so not quite in your face.

Highly recommended to all, even preschool I think, and not just families & classrooms.
The themes of Stolen Words are very m
Emily May
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2017, arc
A short but extremely powerful book about a young girl and her grandfather. Her grandfather's language - Cree - was taken from him as a child, and now his granddaughter wants to help him reclaim it.

I don't think a book this short has ever had such an emotional effect on me. I was blinking back tears for the entire thirteen pages. It's truly disturbing that this tale was the reality for many indigenous children.
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, net-galley
I was at a conference recently, perusing one of the many bookstores, when I caught sight of an adorable little book. Brightly yellow and red, it was one of the cardboard ones they make so babies can chew on them without tearing the paper. I picked it up, turning it over in my hands. It was a 'First Words' book, but instead of having just English words, it had English, French, and Cree.

I remember standing in that bookstore, turning this book over and over in my hands, looking at this beautiful l
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With tears still in my eyes after reading, this I want to get my feelings down about this sweet, short picture book. So simple, only 13 pages long, but with such impact, I might as well as read a whole novel.

A little girl comes home from school and asks her grandfather how to say grandfather in Cree, since they are of those people. Alas, her grandfather has lost all his words, because he was forbidden to speak them when he went to residential school. He explains this in such simple ways, but get
Andrea Stoeckel
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This very short children’s book with abosolutely beautiful illustrations is a historically based in its telling of how First Nations’ Peoples were treated all over North America within the Indian School System in the last century and how the now elders feel about it.

No matter how you personally may feel about history, it is important to know about. Melanie Florence approaches this subject with eyes and heart wide open in this small book. 5/5
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
A beautiful book to open the discussion of residential schools and reconciliation with your little ones.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Children's Stories About the Residential School Experience
A young girl asks her grandfather what the word for grandfather is in Cree in this poignant picture-book examination of the cross-generational legacy of Canada's residential schools for First Nations people. He is forced to explain that he doesn't know - his words were stolen from him when he was still a young boy, sent off to an abusive institution where he was punished for speaking his own language. Sad and concerned, the little girl takes steps to help him regain what was taken from him...

*thank you to Netgalley, Melanie Florence and Second Story Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

5 stars.

I don't give out 5 stars easily but WOW, does this book deserve it!! I want to buy this so I can have an actual copy and just give it a huge hug! This story is so sad but beautiful. The gift given from granddaughter to grandfather in the end was a real tear jerker. The question asked, the answer received. The emotions it makes you feel. Such simplicity yet so very hea
Mel (Epic Reading)
Teaching children about difficult times in the past can be a challenge. How do you explain to a little one that in the past kids were taken from their homes and put into residential schools? I would have thought it was almost impossible to do so elegantly and with a positive ending, until now. Melanie Florence has taken an embarrassing and awful piece of Canadian past and framed it in such a way that children can consume and understand. I'm very impressed with this picture book and it's ability ...more
Jillian Heise
A gorgeous book in illustrations, language, and sentiment. When a Cree girl asks her grandfather about the language, she learns why he doesn't remember it anymore (from the boarding school days when culture and language was taken away from the Native Americans). A powerful, beautiful, heartwarming story that will be important to share with kids of all cultures.
Pair with When We Were Alone, I Am Not a Number, and other books relating the boarding school experience, or Hungry Johnny and My Heart
Carla Johnson-Hicks
A short but extremely powerful book about the impact on the residential schools not only on the children that lived in them, but on the future generations. A young girl asks her grandfather how to say Grandfather in Cree, his native language. Unfortunately, he does not know. When he was forced to live and attend the residential schools, his language was taken from him. He very simply states how this happened and you can not help but feel his pain, both physical and emotional. His granddaughter w ...more
Karen Upper
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated and a moving story about a grandfather's reluctance to discuss his childhood with his granddaughter and how her empathy allows him to finally acknowledge his past with her!
A heartfelt picture book that will elicit alot of discussion in and out of a classroom.
Highly recommended!
Kailey (Luminous Libro)
Such a beautiful book! This emotional little story shows a grandfather explaining to his granddaughter that he cannot teach her to speak his native language, Cree, because he has forgotten it. As a boy, he was placed in an Indigenous boarding school, separated from his culture, torn from his family, and punished if he spoke Cree.

In just a few poignant words, this book had me crying. It deals with a very dark issue in such a sweet and loving way, and shows that while cruelty may impact our herit
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: child-of-mine
As a young girl, my grandmother would speak to us grandchildren in Spanish. She would always ask us to respond to her in the same language. It was her way of preserving home for us. Later I found she was in a rebellion against losing her mother tongue. She grew up in the generation where Spanish was not allowed in public or private schools.

Her hands swelled with blisters when the nuns would ask each child to extend their hands over the desk only to be met with a whiplike slap of a yard stick. En
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow that was a good and emotional story. A book about natives Americans and how their culture/language was taken from them. The facts are there, but it isn’t an over dramatic story, there is light and hope and family love. The book is presented in Cree and English, obviously most reader won’t understand Cree or try to learn it, but I like the way its presented anyway, with the overall story being about the language it just reflect the storyline and offer a good perspective or vision of what thei ...more
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful illustrated book. A touching, powerful short story about a little girl and her grandfather, who was taken away from his home and separated from his family as a child, whose culture and language were stolen.

It reflects the pain of Indigenous people, and makes clear that your language is much more than a bunch of words for it's part of your identity.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful!!!!! Also made me cry at work :)
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-pb
Powerful and heart-breaking. Highly recommend for every primary and junior classroom or school library.
I was initially incredibly moved by Stolen Words, and wrote a glowing review. Upon further reflection, I want to change my review. I have thought about this book more, I have read other children's books about residential school survivors (in their own words), I have read other reviews of this book, and I have gotten to a place where I have thoughts that differ from my initial reaction.

The illustrations here are beautiful. This opinion has not changed. Gabrielle Grimard is an incredibly talented
La Coccinelle
This is a difficult book for me to rate. It has one glaring problem. It's not the lovely, heart-warming story. It's not the warm, pretty illustrations. It's not the interesting glossary/pronunciation guide for the Plains Cree words. Actually, it's the English text... and in a book that's all about the importance of language and tradition, I found the writing choices rather appalling.

Each page features a section of the story written in Plains Cree and then one in English. The problem is that, in
**I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Stolen Words (September 2017), by Melanie Florence, looks at the Indian Residential School program in Canada that ran for over 100 years. This book is aimed at a younger audience and focuses on the lasting impact of the schools rather than the actual experience of being in the school (for a great book on that, check out I Am Not a Number). Stolen Words showcases the relationship between a little girl
Alicia Bayer
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully illustrated, wonderfully written children's book about a young girl and her grandfather. They are Cree and she asks him how to say something in Cree one day, only to find out that his language was stolen from him when he was taken from his family and sent to a government school as a child. She helps him find his words again when a teacher helps her find a Cree dictionary.

The text is written in one font in Cree, and then in English. The back of the book teaches a few Cree wo
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
I was given the privilege of previewing this outstanding children's book through Netgalley. This is my first experience and I couldn't be more impressed! This book touches on a subject few have likely thought about, losing your cultural language, and it is deeply moving.

Several years ago, I had a temporary position for the "Through African Eyes" exhibit held at the Nelson Atkins Museum where I learned alot about the unwelcome colonization and forced assimilation imposed on the Africans. One quo
When his seven-year-old granddaughter comes home from school excited about what she's been learning and asks her grandfather how to say his name in Cree, the man cannot tell her. All he remembers is how the teachers at his boarding school didn't allow him and the other school children to speak their own language, which consisted of what he considered to be "harsh, sharp words" (unpaged). The child is moved by what he shares and returns the next day with a language book with introductory Cree tha ...more
Storytime With Stephanie
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was my most anticipated book from last weekend's Word on the Street Toronto event. I had the pleasure to meet Melanie Florence, although briefly and picked up a copy of her beautiful book for our shelves.
Stolen Words is the story of a Grandfather and his Nôsisim. She wants him to teach her his language, Cree. The problem is Grandpa's words were stolen a long time ago when he was sent away to a school where he was punished for using his words. The next day the little girl comes home wit
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First and foremost, let me say how wonderful it is to see a book written about diverse cultures!
As the grandfather goes to pick up his granddaughter from the bus stop, she is seen waving around a dream catcher and then curiously asks her grandfather to say something in his language (Cree). The grandfather sadly admits that he no longer remembers his language as it was stolen from him when he was a young boy. With wonderful descriptive language he sadly recounts as him and a group of his friends
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