Ten-year-old Olemaun describes her return from two years at the outsiders’ school and her slow re-entry into her family’s Inuit world.
When Olemaun (co-author Pokiak-Fenton) returns to her family, both her mother and her father’s dogs fail to recognize her. She’s grown tall and skinny, her hair has been cut short, she has a different smell. She no longer understands the family’s language and finds the food inedible. Her best friend isn’t allowed to play with her anymore. Appropriately for the young audience, the authors deal gently with the child’s trauma, showing how, in every case, things get better. The skills Olemaun acquired at school help her nurse a puppy she mistakenly kept too long from its mother. And, she learns to drive a dog sled, making her own mother proud. As they did with Margaret’s boarding school years in When I Was Eight (2013), the authors have distilled the years covered in A Stranger at Home (2011) into a moving picture book. The first-person narrative is set against Grimard’s dramatic paintings, which depict family members shown in close-ups and wide-angle views that take in the dramatic scenery of northern Canada. The sky colors are particularly effective—the varying blues and orange of day and the reds and greens of the nighttime northern lights.
Another compelling version of an inspiring story.(Picture book/biography. 5-9)