Stolen Words by Melanie Florence
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 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.
Melanie Florence has been recognized for her ability to write about Indigenous history and culture with sensitivity and compassion. Stolen Words has particular importance for Melanie because it was inspired by her own grandfather, who kept his Cree identity and his experience at a residential school a secret from her and his family. As a result, Melanie did not get the chance to have the healing exchange of language and culture with him that is shared by the characters in her story.