By Anita Ragunathan
While we want to protect children from experiencing injustice, they are observant to the injustices faced by the adults in their lives or can encounter it themselves at a young age. The following books tackle the topic of injustice head-on and make for great conversation starters.
Cory Crosby spent much of his time in prison wondering how to explain to his children why he wasn’t a part of their life. But lacking the right words, he took the tools he had on hand, pens and paper and a love for illustration and writing, and used those to express what he could not over a prison phone line or during infrequent visits. “When My Dad Comes Home,” is a children’s book that combines the writings of Crosby and illustrations of Candice Malveaux to put into simple language several instances where a father might be absent for an extended period and how they and the children value time together when reunited.
- a note on the right to silence. This piece asks readers to be mindful that not all survivors of residential school will wish to talk about their experiences, and that their silence should be respected.
- audiobook features original song “Say Your Name” by acclaimed artist Keith Secola, a song inspired by Olemaun’s story. See the video at https://youtu.be/eReBSbN-4lE
- a table of contents to ensure all the added materials are easy to find.
- a foreword by noted Indigenous scholar Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature. The foreword discusses the biased portrayal of Indigenous people in children’s literature throughout history and the exclusion of Indigenous people from the ability to tell their own stories.
- a preface by Christy Jordan-Fenton sharing the way she first heard Margaret-Olemaun’s story of going away to residential school. It also covers the impact of the book and how much has changed in the past ten years.
- a note on language. This piece reviews the universal changes in language that have been made to the book since the original edition and also establishes the language choices made in the new material.
- a note on the writing process. This piece by Christy explores how she works with Margaret-Olemaun to get Olemaun’s stories down on paper.
- a revised and updated afterword by Christy Jordan-Fenton.