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A True Story

by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List Best Bets List, Ontario Library Association White Ravens Collection, International Youth Library, Munich Independent Publishers Book Award Skipping Stones Honor Book Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre Nonfiction Honor List, VOYA Book of the Year Award finalist, Foreword Reviews Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist First Nation Communities Reads Selection finalist Golden Oak Award nomination

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It’s been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers.

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, “Not my girl.” Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider.

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can’t even stomach the food her mother prepares.

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family’s way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people—and to herself.

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl’s struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.


“Provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world.”
—School Library Journal, 12/11

“Olemaun’s spirit and determination shine through this moving memoir.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 09/11

“Like its predecessor Fatty Legs, this is potent, accessible, and moving. Highly recommended.”
—Toronto Star, 11/07/11

“This is a book everyone should read.”
—Edwards Magazine Book Club, 07/19/11

“Realistically portrays the impact of residential school life on Aboriginal children.”
—Resource Links, 11/12

“[A] poignant and heartbreaking look at the long-term effects for the children who were taken from their families to attend residential schools.”
—Sal's Fiction Addiction, 01/12

“This memoir, detailing a woeful piece of Canadian history and demonstrating Margaret’s strength of character, compassion, courage and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her family’s sake, gives the reader a lot to ponder. Highly recommended.”
—CM Reviews,02/12

“Will speak to anyone who has experienced displacement or assimilation into a new culture.”
—Professionally Speaking, 03/12

“[A] lovely, simply written and utterly moving memoir.”
—Foreword Reviews, 04/12

“Straightforward and powerful . . . Margaret’s memories, thoughts and experiences . . . are presented in an accessible and believable manner.”
—The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 04/12

“Without being graphic or overwhelming, the Fentons recreate a tragic moment in Canadian history through the innocent reflections of a child … a must for any classroom library.”
—Canadian Teacher Magazine, 05/12

“Kids will love this story.”
—The Book Worm, 07/23/12

“Young readers will find Margaret’s story both historically informative and heartbreakingly poignant.”
—, 11/20/11

“The book does deal with subjects that are large and complex; yet the writing makes them infinitely readable and relatable.”
—, 08/29/11


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Rights Sold:
French North American, Korean

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Christy Jordan-Fenton

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Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

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Liz Amini-Holmes