Good For Nothing

The year is 1959, and fifteen-year-old Nipishish returns to his reserve in northern Quebec after being kicked out of residential school, where the principal tells him he can look forward, like all Native Americans, to a life of drunkenness, prison, and despair. But despite his new freedom, the reserve offers little to a young Métis man. Both his parents are dead, his father Shipu, a respected leader, dying mysteriously at a young age. When Nipishish is sent to a strange town to live with a white family and attend high school, he hopes for the new life the change promises. But despite some bright spots, the adjustments prove overwhelming. Forced to return to his people, he must try to rediscover the old ways, face the officials who find him a threat, and learn the truth about his father’s death.

Children Left Behind: The Dark Legacy Of Indian Mission Boarding Schools

Tim Giago weaves memoir, commentary, reflection and poetry together to boldly illustrate his often-horrific experiences as a child at an Indian Mission boarding school run by the Catholic Church. Through his words, the experience of one Indian child becomes a metaphor for the experience of many who were literally ripped from their tribal roots and torn from their families for nine months of the year in order to be molded to better fit into mainstream America. They were not allowed to speak their own languages or follow their traditional customs, and cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse were common. As a result, the Mission school experience often resulted in isolation, confusion, and intense psychological pain. This has contributed to problems including alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence and general alienation in an entire generation of Native Americans. Dramatic and intensely moving black-and white illustrations by Giagos daughter Denise illuminate the text.

Cartwheeling In Thunderstorms

Living half-wild on an African farm with her horse, her monkey, and her best friend, every day is beautiful. But when her home is sold and Will is sent away to boarding school in England, the world becomes impossibly difficult. Lions and hyenas are nothing compared to packs of vicious schoolgirls. Where can a girl run to in London? And will she have the courage to survive?

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 3

Ribblestrop

When your school’s motto is “Life is dangerous,” you know that anything can happen—and everything does!This raucous tale of education gone awry is rife with “disgracefully dangerous high-octane fun,” according to the The Guardian, which awarded Ribblestrop the Children’s Fiction Prize. There’s no school that’s quite like Ribblestrop, complete with roofless dormitories, distracted teachers, and a perilous underground labyrinth. And then there are the students! You’ll meet Sanchez, a Colombian gangster’s son hiding from kidnappers; Millie, an excluded arsonist and self-confessed wild child; Caspar, the landlady’s spoiled grandson; the helpful but hapless Sam and his best friend Ruskin, plus a handful of orphans from overseas who are just happy to have beds—even if they are located in a roofless part of the building.