Middle & Senior Years Books

The books below are alphabetized by author, and include for which grade(s) they are most appropriate.

Secret Path

By: Gord Downie


Charlie Wenjack was 12-years-old when he ran away from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora. He had been gone a week when his body was discovered beside the railroad tracks near Redditt on Oct. 23, 1966. His parents weren’t told that he was missing.


I Lost My Talk

By: Rita Joe

(Early & Middle Years)

This poem is about Rita Joe losing her native language; it refers to the experiences she had in school while she was in foster care. Rita Joe was orphaned and put into foster care at a young age.


Fatty Legs

By: Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton


Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.


Not My Girl

By: Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak Fenton


Margaret can’t wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by evocative illustrations, Not My Girl makes the original, award-winning memoir, A Stranger at Home, accessible to younger children. It is also a sequel to the picture book When I Was Eight. A poignant story of a determined young girl’s struggle to belong, it will both move and inspire readers everywhere.

Online Read-aloud


As Long as the Rivers Flow

By: Larry Loyie


This is the story of Larry Loyie’s last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure.


Goodbye Buffalo Bay

By: Larry Loyie


Goodbye Buffalo Bay is the sequel to As Long As the Rivers Flow. It explores Lawrence’s last year in residential school, he learns the power of friendship and finds the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He returns home to find the traditional First Nations life he loved is over. He feels like a stranger to his family until his grandfather’s gentle guidance helps him find his way.


They Called Me Number One

By: Bev Sellers

(Senior Years)

In this memoir of her years at St. Joseph’s Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school’s lasting effects on her and her family—from substance abuse to suicide attempts—and eloquently articulates her own path to healing.


I’m Finding My talk

By: Rebecca Thomas

(Early & Middle Years)

This book reflects on the destructive effects on colonialism, rediscovering community and finding culture.


Indian Horse

By: Richard Wagamese

(Senior Years)

For Saul, an Ojibway man who was forcibly taken from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school. He finds salvation for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles the spirit-destroying effects of racism, cultural alienation and displacement.


The Orange Shirt Story & Phyllis’s Orange Shirt

By: Phyllis Webstad

(Early & Middle Years)

When Phyllis Webstad turned six, she went to the residential school for the first time. On her first day at school, she wore a shiny orange shirt that her Granny had bought for her, but when she got to the school, it was taken away from her and never returned. This is the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt.