Picture Book Review of Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and Gabrielle Grimard


Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and Gabrielle Grimard (Illustrations)

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: Annick Press (January 9, 2014)

Source: From publisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

When I Was Eight was called “utterly compelling” by Kirkusin a starred review.
Margaret can’t wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected.

Two years ago, Margaret left her Arctic home for the outsiders’
school. Now she has returned and can barely contain her excitement as
she rushes towards her waiting family — but her mother stands still as a
stone. This strange, skinny child, with her hair cropped short, can’t
be her daughter. “Not my girl!” she says angrily.

years at school have changed her. Now ten years old, she has forgotten
her language and the skills to hunt and fish. She can’t even stomach her
mother’s food. Her only comfort is in the books she learned to read at

Gradually, Margaret relearns the words and ways of
her people. With time, she earns her father’s trust enough
to be given a dogsled of her own. As her family watches with pride,
Margaret knows she has found her place once more.

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. 

About the Contributors:

Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton are the authors of Fatty Legs, A Stranger at Home and When I Was Eight. They live in Fort St. John, British Columbia.

Gabrielle Grimard is the illustrator of When I Was Eight and numerous other books for children. She lives in Quebec.

My Thoughts:

Not My Girl is a thought provoking and heart warming story of a young
girl returning home to her Inuit family after spending two years at an
outsider’s school. At first, her mother doesn’t recognize her and
refuses to believe that this girl with perfect table manners is her
daughter. Olemaun slowly learns the ways of her people again, but it’s
hard. She must relearn her native language and the basic skills they use
to survive.

The story is a beautiful one. It reminds us of the importance of family
and of holding on to culture that may seem out of date to others. It’s
also a good reminder to be patient, to help others, and to guide those
that find themselves in unfamiliar situations.

The illustrations are beautiful. They captured the essence and beauty of the story perfectly. The colors are rich and inviting.

Source: I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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