Kookum's Red Shoes

Book, 2011, 32 pp
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For more than a century, more than 150,000 children were separated from their families and communities. This attempt to assimilate an entire culture has had a lasting and damaging impact on many generations of children by depriving them of the care and nurturing of their parents, grandparents and communities.

It is my hope that Kookum's Red Shoes will be a gentle reminder to all Canadians of the importance of nurturing our children, protecting them and providing them with a safe, positive environment regardless of their race, culture or creed.

I met a Kookum one day who gave me the idea for this story. My regret is I didn't realize how deeply her story would affect me. I never asked her name. I don't remember the school. All I remember is her cheerful wrinkled face and her intense, passionate eyes.

The legacy of the residential schools is conveyed with respect and imagination in this illustrated story for young readers. As the elderly Kookum remembers the experiences in her youth that changed her life forever, we see what was lost in her life, and how goodness persisted.

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