Nothing will stop a strong-minded young Inuit girl from learning how to read.
Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. She must travel to the outsiders' school to learn, ignoring her father's warning of what will happen there. The nuns at the school take her Inuit name and call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do chores. She has only one thing left — a book about a girl named Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole. Margaret's tenacious character draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But she is more determined than ever to read. By the end, Margaret knows that, like Alice, she has traveled to a faraway land and stood against a tyrant, proving herself to be brave and clever.
Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to young children. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.
Browse our collection of inspired creations from Indigenous North America at birchbarknativearts.com.
Digital gift cards are a wonderful way to show someone you care. Good for purchases made on this website.
Listen to your favorite books while supporting independent bookstores with our audiobooks partner Libro.fm.