I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay Dupois & Kathy Kacer, Illustrations by Gillian Newland:

I AM NOT A NUMBER is based on true story about a young Ojibway girl named Irene who along with two of her brothers are forced to go to an Indian boarding school. Once there, Irene is first separated from her brothers and forced to cut her hair. Then the nuns, her would-be teachers, force her and the other children to partake in lessons that are geared to purge her culture and indigenous language from their very being where they only view them as mere numbers and not by their names. But, she remembers her mother’s words “Never forget who you are” and it becomes a mantra she repeats to herself while she’s at the boarding school so she doesn’t forget who she is or where she comes from.

As a result, I AM NOT A NUMBER is a great book for young readers to get a sense of what it was like for young Native American children who were subject to go to an Indian boarding school. It shares a great deal of truth and history, while still keeping young readers in mind. It emphasizes the importance of not losing sight of who you are and to hold tight to your culture because no matter what anybody else tells you – you are more than just a number! Read the full description on Prairie Edge’s website!