“It began as a rumor, that they had found a way to siphon dreams right out of our bones.” In a not-too-distant future when environmental devastation has killed millions, many people no longer dream when they sleep. At the Canadian government’s new residential “schools,” the dreams of Indigenous people are distilled from their marrow for later use by the wealthy and privileged. Sixteen-year-old Frenchie escaped school Recruiters at 11 and has been with his found family ever since. One elder, one middle-aged adult, four teens, and four children from several Nations, they are constantly on the move evading Recruiters as new schools are built farther and farther north. Although they’re skilled at survival, safety is an unknown destination, and when tragedy strikes at the heart of their group Frenchie decides it’s time to stop running and take a stand. This riveting work confronts the reality of genocide but never loses sight of hope. It’s the breath of those who survive. It’s the love, the solidarity with others, cultural traditions, and the power of languages kept alive. Métis author Dimaline’s plot is fast-paced and unyielding while her finely drawn main characters, although marked by pain, are full of intelligence, compassion, and grace. Dimaline’s exquisite writing offers beautiful turns of phrase and lines that sting with their sharpness and honesty, while Frenchie’s teen voice and feelings, often surprisingly funny, are, like the story itself, at once of his time and our own. (Age 12 and older)
CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.