The Strangers by Katherena Vermette. Cedar has nearly forgotten what her family looks like. Phoenix has nearly forgotten what freedom feels like. And Elsie has nearly given up hope. Nearly. After time spent in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Although she grapples with the pain of being separated from her mother, Elsie, and sister, Phoenix, she's hoping for a new chapter in her life, only to find herself once again in a strange house surrounded by strangers. From a youth detention centre, Phoenix gives birth to a baby she'll never get to raise and tries to forgive herself for all the harm she's caused (while wondering if she even should). Elsie, struggling with addiction and determined to turn her life around, is buoyed by the idea of being reunited with her daughters and strives to be someone they can depend on, unlike her own distant mother. These are the Strangers, each haunted in her own way.
Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance by Jesse Wente. Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian -- a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. It was just one of many incidents that formed Wentes understanding of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person in a society still overwhelmingly colonial in its attitudes and institutions. As the child of an American father and an Anishinaabe mother, Wente grew up in Toronto with frequent visits to the reserve where his maternal relations lived. By exploring his family's history, including his grandmother's experience in residential school, and citing his own frequent incidents of racial profiling by police who'd stop him on the streets, Wente unpacks the discrepancies between his personal identity and how non-Indigenous people view him.
Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart, pictures by Maja Kastelic. Anthony’s house is full of family photos — of his parents’ trip to Paris, his great aunt, and Anthony himself as a toddler, holding his favourite rock. When Anthony wakes up one morning, he sees that his “rock” has cracked open — it’s hollow inside. He doesn’t see the little face peering out from the closet. Later, he discovers the newly hatched creature and they become friends. Anthony asks his mother about the rock, and she shows him a photo album of a trip to Paris. Anthony sees that his friend resembles the gargoyles at Notre-Dame cathedral. Back in his room, he shows the photos to the baby gargoyle who looks at them with longing. News arrives that Anthony’s great aunt is in hospital. The family travel to Paris to visit, and Anthony secretly brings the baby gargoyle. When the family have a chance to climb Notre-Dame’s tower, Anthony and his friend wander from one gargoyle to the next … until the baby gargoyle sees one that looks just like him. A bittersweet story of true friendship and letting go.
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