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Not My Girl

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Margaret cant wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by evocative illustrations, Not My Girl makes the original, award-winning memoir, A Stranger at Home, accessible to younger children. It is also a sequel to the picture book When I Was Eight. A poignant story of a determined ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published January 9th 2014 by Annick Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  213 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, indigenous
Another sad indigenous Canadian picture book about an Inuit girl who lived in the Arctic but was forced to attend, for two years, a "white assimilation" school run by nuns, one purpose of which was to erase her cultural background, which was seen as limiting her chances for success in the world. This is a sequel to When I Was Eight, which I have not yet read, based on a book I also have not yet read for older readers, A Stranger at Home: A True Story. The picture books are adaptations of ...more
Ms. B
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Olemaun readjusts to life on the reservation after being away at boarding school. This is a sequel to When I was Eight .
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated but for the most part this is a sad and tragic story about the aftermath of residential school in Canada for one girl. Without any spoilers, there is a silver lining.
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Text Connection:
Text to World:
There is one particularly haunting moment in the book where Olemaun has helped to prepare dinner and is eating it with her family, in their traditional style. She is momentarily ashamed of using her hands and wonders what the nuns would think of her. Instead of dwelling on that, she focuses instead on her pride in helping prepare the food and her enjoyment of the dish. This sense of wanting to be part of your family while at the same time worrying about the social
As a direct sequel of When I Was Eight, and an adaptation of A Stranger at Home, Not My Girl makes for a touching account of the times after Olemaun (Margaret) Pokiak returns home from the residential school.

Olemaun's story is touching and enlightening. This picture book adaptation, along with When I Was Eight, make a terrible time in history accessible for younger children. With kind but honest writing and beautiful illustrations, the book brings Olemaun's story to life.

Whether you are reading
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices
Extremely vivid and relatable picture of the kind of damage residential schools inflicted upon indigenous children and families, beautiful artwork and a joyful ending.
Ben Truong
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not My Girl is a children's picture book written by the team of Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. It is a semi-autobiographical picture book of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and her experiences coming h0me from residential school.

November, at least in my part of the world is Native American Heritage Month, which I plan to read one children's book, preferably a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, canada, indigenous
This was the first book my girls have read to expose them to the terrible history of residential schools for indigenous children in Canada.

Its a very sweet story - of a little girl who feels out of place after two years away. Its sad but as Olemaun relearns previous skills and learns new ones, the rift between her and her family and culture begins to heal.
Dawn Zachary
Jordan-Fenton, C & Pokiak-Fenton, M. (2014), Not My Girl. Toronto: Annick

Reflection: Text to Self

I can relate to this book on more than one level. First, it reminds me of the text and articles I studied when I took American Indian Education as an undergraduate. Dr. Smith was himself a Lakota so I felt a kinship with him because I am a member of the Western Band of the Cherokee Nation. We explored the detrimental effect that taking children away from their families had on Native American
Pop Bop
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Elegant, Restrained, and Deeply and Strongly Felt

By 1884 it was compulsory for the First Nations children of Canada to attend either a day or residential school. The "Indian residential schools" were mostly active from 1876 through the middle of the 1900's, and "educated" over 150,000 children. Always controversial, the modern consensus is that the schools, on balance, did great harm - stripping the children of family and cultural connections and estranging them from their native languages in
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ten year old Margaret is on a boat eagerly coming home to reunite with her family. She has been away for a long, lonely two years in an outsider school and she can't wait to see her family and friends again in her native village of Aklavik. On her arrival she jumps off the boat and meets a mother who is standing as still as a statue. Margaret's heart nearly stops when she hears her mother say?"That's not my girl." You see Margaret's hair has been shorn, and she is very thin and emaciated looking ...more
Apr 24, 2015 added it
Shelves: multicultural
Title: Not my girl (sequel to When I Was Eight)
1. Reflection: Text to Text, Text to Self, Text to World connection with the book.

Text to World connection: Olemaun was sent to outsiders school when she was eight. Now, she is returning home at the age of ten after having her Inuit identity stripped from her. This reminds me of how orphaned children might feel when they are sent to live in an orphanage or even adopted into a new culture and the identity confusion that they must feel and try
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Continue the story of When I Was Eight with this second picture book by the authors. The picture book versions follow two highly acclaimed novels for elementary-aged children that tell the same story at a different level. In this book, Margaret returns home to her native family from the outsiders school. Her hair has been cut short, she has trouble speaking the language of her people, and her skills are more suited to school than life in the Arctic. When her mother sees her for the first time, ...more
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, picture-book
Digital ARC provided by Netgalley.

Told with understanding and tenderness, this story reveals just how difficult it can be to come home to a place that has not changed while one has.

Margaret, known in Inuit as Olemaun, was just eight when she left her village to go to an outsiders school. When she returned two years later, she found that she no longer fit in; she did not carry the scent of her family, she had forgotten the language and she no longer liked her favorite foods. In the first
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
The true story of an Inuit child trying to re-assimilate into her culture and family after spending several years in a residential school. Olemaun struggles to redevelop the skills needed to live with her family and survive in her Northern community. She suffers rejection as she has forgotten her language and culture.
Although an important story to be told, this book has perhaps missed the mark in its telling. Rather choppy and awkward, a story that should have been deeply moving simply wasnt.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
1. Categories/Genres: Picture book/Memoir (TumbleBooks)
2. Copyright date: 2014
3. Estimate of age level of interest: grades 2-5
4. Estimate of reading level: 4.0

5. Brief description: Olemaun, also known as Margaret, returns to her Inuit community after two years away at an outsider school; she is seen as an outsider. She must relearn her customs, like how to eat her previously favorite foods.

6. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book.
Rob Slaven
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it
As usual I received this book free for the purposes of review. Also as usual I give my candid thoughts below.

The story, as you can tell from the description, is that of a young Inuit girl who returns home from what is essentially boarding school only to be rejected by her friends and family because she is now an outsider.

To the positive side, the story is a pretty moving and complex one. It raises some serious and deeply difficult questions about what it means to belong to a group and the divide
Amy Rae
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous illustrations accompany a sad but ultimately hopeful story about returning home from an Indian boarding school.

Olemaun, called Margaret at school, has learned to speak English and French and to say Christian prayers, but the price has been everything she knew of home. She struggles with her native language, she's hopeless with nets and fish-catching, and her favourite foods now taste strange and unappealing to her. Even her father's sled dogs don't recognize her scent. Slowly, though,
When ten-year-old Margaret returns to her arctic home after studying for two years in an outsiders' school, more than her name has changed. In fact, her mother barely recognizes the child she once called Olemaun. As she struggles with the transition back to the world from which she came, Margaret finds that even her father's sled dogs don't recognize her, and the foods she once loved to eat are unpalatable. Over time, she begins to relearn the ways of her people and figures out her place. With a ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Not My Girl is a thought provoking and heart warming story of a young girl returning home to her Inuit family after spending two years at an outsider's school. At first, her mother doesn't recognize her and refuses to believe that this girl with perfect table manners is her daughter. Olemaun slowly learns the ways of her people again, but it's hard. She must relearn her native language and the basic skills they use to survive.

The story is a beautiful one. It reminds us of the importance of
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Olemaun returns home after going to the outsiders' school. Her parents do not recognize her nor do her father's dogs. She has been away from home for two years. She no longer knows or understands her parents language. The food is not anything she can eat. Her best friend is not permitted to play with her anymore. This is a story that tells how Olemaun re-enters her family world ever so slowly.

This is a compelling and inspiring story. The paintings add to the story.

Disclaimer: I received a
It's heartbreaking to comprehend the hurts rendered during the era of compulsory education for First Nations children of Canada, in which about 150,000 children were sent away to be assimilated into the dominant culture. This book does an amazing job of presenting the truths for children.
Not My Girl is technically a sequel to When I Was Eight, but it's not necessary to first read When I Was Eight; this one stands on its own quite well.

I have to admit the story brought tears to my eyes. Poor Margaret returns home after 2 years of school to be called "not my girl!" by her momma and snarled at by her family's dogs. What a disappointing return home! I cheered for Margaret as she re-integrated with her family and once again adapted to their lifestyle and food.

The illustrations are
A lovely sequel to When I Was Eight. It's heartbreaking to read, but gives a much fuller picture of Olemaun (i.e. Margaret Pokiak-Fenton) after she goes to the missionary school and is taught the western ways in place of her own culture. It's another horrible chapter in North American history, but also very important for young children to read. (Note: it takes place in Canada)

I think the pair of books would be a great jumping-off point for teachers to explore more about the First Nations/Native
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is a gift to receive a story. It is a blessing when it moves you.

Any person who has been away from home and returned feels a bit like an outsider. I remember coming home from college or a summer that required me to work away from home. I lost my native language fluency and the way of home did not come nearly as naturally. I, too, felt like a stranger and wondered if my grandmother felt it odd to have me back.

We're so lucky that Margaret has bravely captured her story for us. The illustration
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
An Inuit girl returns from boarding school after two years only to feel rejected by her own people. Olemaun has become Margaret in the place where she learned perfect table manners, how to read and write in English, but where she lost her taste for whale blubber, and the ways of her family. After a tough re-entry, Olemaun proves her ability with the sled dogs and grows back into her place in her family and community.

I was touched by this story. There were many tears, and poetic language.

Age: 2nd-5th grade
Culture: Inuvialuit (Banks Island, Canada)

Based off of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's own experiences (and a sequel to When I Was Eight), we are brought into the tough reintroduction of a Native American child back into her home life after 2 years at a missionary school. Mature themes such as family rejection and cultural differences make this book most suitable for an older audience. The text flows well making this great for a read-aloud introduction to a section on Native
I really liked this story of a young Inuit girl who returns home after 2 years at an "outsider school" to find she has forgotten how to be Inuit - she's even forgotten the language! The dogs snap and snarl at her, her only friend snubs her, and her own mother does not recognize her and says "Not my girl!" Slowly she re-learns what she needs to know and feels more like part of her Inuit family again. The only thing I would have changed is I wished to know if she goes off again and forgets ...more
Thanks to Annick Press for providing a copy to me on Netgalley. This is a lovely book, although that it needs to exist is sad (because it would be a much nicer thing if the Residential Schools had not existed). It does have a happy ending, but I'm guessing it's happy mainly because we don't go on to the next year of school, given the context. It's an important book because we don't have enough books for younger readers about the Residential Schools, and there is a need and a demand for them.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very touching story about acceptance and fitting in. The illustrations are beautiful.

However, I feel the story is a little too deep for most children. Not the concept necessarily, but the concept pared with the words used. I used to teach 5th grade and we always did a unit on the Iditarod. This would be a good story to pull into our unit because it would help them understand the culture better.
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Christy Jordan-Fenton was born on a farm in rural Alberta. Her only dreams were to be a cowgirl, to dance with Gene Kelly and to write stories. As a youngster, she barrel-raced, rode on cattle drives, witnessed dozens of brandings, and often woke up on early spring mornings to find lambs, calves, and foals taking refuge in the bathroom.

Her parents divorced when she was seven, and she moved to

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