What We Learned From Books

This is a new regular monthly post from your friendly neighbourhood librarians about the things we've learned from reading books.
Posted on 24 November 2020 by Various Authors.

What Karla Learned From 'The Girl With the Louding Voice' by Abi Dare

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare is the story of a young girl who fights to speak, however she can- in a whisper, in a song, in broken English- until she is heard. This girl's name is Adunni, and she is one of the most brave, fierce, and inspiring characters I have ever read. Her heartbreaking story is regrettably one that many girls have lived through, or are currently living through today. Slavery and human trafficking are not new issues, but they are issues some tend to think about as being in the past. Unfortunately that is not true, in many ways this is still happening today. Reading this book re-opened my eyes to this problem. Adunni faces one heartbreaking obstacle after another, and still refuses to be silenced. Her voice is her power. Her story is an important reminder of the privilege many of us have, the importance and luxury of education, and why it is so important to use your voice to speak up for those who can't. 

Borrow this book/eBook/audiobook here


What Gillian Learned From '21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act' by Bob Joseph

I must admit, rather shamefully, that I didn’t know much about the Indian Act before reading 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph.

What did I know prior to reading? I knew that many children were forcefully taken from their homes and sent to residential schools and taught Euro-Canadian ideals by white nuns. I believed that this was mostly conducted during the Sixties Scoop era.

Here are some other shocking things I learned about the legacy of Residential Schools:

  • The goal of these schools was to “kill the Indian in the child” (quoted from page 53). The government of Canada succeeded in this goal but they also succeeded in actually killing between 6,000 and 150,000 children (accurate numbers are hard to obtain because many children went missing).
  • Residential Schools were in operation between 1886 to 1996!!! 
  • Indian students were forbidden to practice their traditional religion and forbidden to speak their home language. Today, Canada’s Aboriginal Languages are among the most endangered in the world.
  • Children were taught that their parents and ancestors were savages and that their ways of life, their history, culture, and language were all wrong. They were taught to hate themselves, their families, and their heritage. Not surprisingly, many students were left with deep resentment and hatred towards their loved ones. Below is a quote from the book (found on page 78) which absolutely broke my heart.
    “And I looked at my dad, I looked at my mom, I looked at my dad again. You know what? I hated them. I just absolutely hated my own parents. Not because I thought they abandoned me; I hated their brown faces. I hated them because they were Indians.”

This is just a summary of what I learned about Residential Schools from 21 Things. I also learned about countless other ways that Indian Agents suppressed the livelihood, culture, history, wellbeing, and spirit of the Indigenous Peoples. 

This book should be required reading for all Canadians. Borrow it here


What Gloria Learned From 'Rose in a Storm' by Jon Katz

Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz is about a Border Collie/Shepherd mix dog who lives on a farm with sheep and other animals. Rose's senses are so acute that she is able to monitor everything that happens on the farm. When a huge snowstorm happens during lambing season, Rose instinctively protects all the creatures in her care.

What I learned from this book is that a dog can have a job and that they can be very conscientious. While the sheep were compliant about being herded, the goats were much trickier, and made a game out of challenging Rose. It was an interesting comparison to human responses in a time of stress.

If you like dogs, and enjoy seeing the world from a different point of view, I recommend this book. It begins as a simple story but develops both a depth of perception and considerable suspense.

Borrow the book here


What Laurie Learned From 'Dictionary For A Better World' by Irene Latham

Laurie's thoughts on this children's book are quick and concise. She says, "This is an awesome book full of wisdom. Reading it will definitely help anyone become a better and happier person."

Borrow this book here

Featured Article:

New Library Card Sponsor: The Sweetness Bakeshop

The #MHPLforYXH campaign has a new sponsor! Before we introduce Sara and her business, we'd like to take a minute to thank our previous sponsor, Real Estate Collective. Elizabeth McNally and the team at Real Estate Collective, Medicine Hat's newest boutique real estate brokerage, donated $6,500 which translated into 1,300 FREE cards for Hatters! Thank…...read more
Oct. 4, '21