kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words
When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her 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 and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.
Written by Melanie Florence and Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Translated by Dolores Sand and Gayle Weenie. Language consultation and assistance was provided by the Cree Literacy Network.
English and Cree Text
28 pages | Full-colour illustrations throughout
Second Story Press was co-founded in 1988 by Margie Wolfe and three other women dedicated to publishing feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers. For 30 years Second Story Press has published books that matter, many of which have been translated into over 50 languages and have been sold around the world. Their list spans adult fiction and nonfiction; children’s fiction, nonfiction and picture books; and young adult fiction and nonfiction. Second Story Press continues to look for stories that feature strong female characters and explore themes of social justice, human rights, equality, and ability issues.
Melanie Florence is an award-winning writer of Cree and Scottish heritage. She is also the author of Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools and several YA novels, including The Missing. Melanie lives with her husband and two children in Toronto. Melanie wrote Stolen Words in honor of her grandfather, whom she was close to as a child. Melanie never had the chance to speak to him about his Cree heritage, and this story is about the healing relationship she wishes she had been able to have with him.
Gabrielle Grimard uses various media to research and create the illustrations for a book, but her favorite aspect will always be color. She uses mainly watercolors, gouache and oil. She adds a touch of wooden pencil for the details. She has illustrated dozens of books and has been nominated for several awards. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.