When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.
“When We Were Alone is a poignant story of a dark and unforgettable part of Canadian history. David A. Robertson gently links the residential school experiences to a new generation with an enduring example of healing, love and understanding. Julie Flett’s simple but profound illustrations expertly complement the text and elevate this important story.”
- Peer assessment committee
David A. Robertson wins his first Governor General's Literary Award in 2017 with When We Were Alone, also nominated for a TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and winner of the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award at the Manitoba Book Awards. Other books include: Will I See? (2017), winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, Graphic Novel Category; and the young adult novel Strangers (2017). A member of Norway House Cree Nation, he educates and entertains through his writings about Canada's Indigenous peoples, reflecting their cultures, histories, communities, and many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson lives in Winnipeg.
Julie Flett wins her first Governor General's Literary Award in 2017. An author, illustrator and artist of Cree-Métis background, she received the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You (2013), written by Richard Van Camp; the Canadian Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Award for Dolphins SOS, written by Roy Miki; and for My Heart Fills with Happiness (2016), written by Monique Gray Smith. Julie Flett was a GGBooks finalist for her 2010 book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L'alphabet di Michif). Her own Wild Berries (2013) was chosen as Canada's First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-15.