When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but where will she hide and what will happen when her parents disobey the law? I Am Not A Number is a powerful story of resistance, resilience, family and identity. Ages 7–11.
About The Authors
Dr. Jenny Kay Dupuis is of Anishinaabe/Ojibway ancestry and a proud member of Nipissing First Nation. She is an educator, researcher, artist, and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education. Jenny’s interest in her family’s past and her commitment to teaching about Indigenous issues through literature drew her to co-write I am Not a Number, her first children’s book. She lives in Toronto.
Kathy Kacer is well known for her children’s books about the Holocaust, including The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and The Magician of Auschwitz. Her books have won many awards, including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack, and the Jewish Book Award. A former psychologist, Kathy now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about her books. Kathy lives in Toronto with her family
Read Aloud Tips
- Ask students to write an essay or reflect in a group about a time when they had to leave home and felt alone. What emotions did they experience? How did they overcome those emotions?
- Introduce the concept of First Nations and use a map, cultural artifacts, food, dress, photos, and other resources to explain the culture to students.
- Use debate centers and small groups to have the students discuss themes brought up in the book.
“A moving glimpse into a not-very-long-past injustice.”