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list price: $14.99
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category: Children's Nonfiction
published: Mar 2021
publisher: Annick Press

Not My Girl

by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton, read by Lisa Nasson

tagged: native canadian, parents, native american

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.

Margaret’s 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 school.

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 Authors

Christy Jordan-Fenton

Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton

Lisa Nasson

Contributor Notes

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.


Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton is an Inuvialuk elder and artisan who spent her early years on Banks Island in the high Arctic. She now lives in Fort St. John, British Columbia.


Lisa Nasson is a Mi’kmaq actor, director and storyteller from Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia. She studied acting at George Brown College in Toronto, and studied Classical Theatre with the Birmingham Conservatory at the Stratford Festival. Lisa has taught at the Neptune Theatre School in Halifax, and the Young Peoples Theatre in Toronto. Lisa was also the Associate Artistic Director at Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. She began her journey with Fatty Legs as Maragret-Olemaun’s voice with Xara Choral Theatre in 2012, and has played the role many times since then. Oleamaun’s voice has echoed in all of Lisa’s work since her first run of the theatre production, and is forever grateful for her courage, strength, and resilience.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
6 to 9
1 to 4
Reading age:
6 to 9
Editorial Review

“Another compelling version of an inspiring story.” — Kirkus, starred review, 05/28/14

“An excellent volume that should be included in public and elementary school collections.” — The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 02/15

“Culturally relevant, accurate, and soft, painterly illustrations … reinforce the bittersweet and tender reunion of Olemaun with her family.” — School Library Journal, 09/01/14

“A deeply felt exploration of identity and cultural crisis rendered as a deep, satisfying sigh appropriate for sharing aloud.” — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 08/14

“Pokiak-Fenton’s emotionally honest writing is affecting and heartbreaking.” — National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 02/20/14

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Top  Grade
Librarian review

Not My Girl

After two years away from home at a residential school, Margaret returns to her Arctic home only to find that she no longer fits in.

Knowing how to read, write, and add numbers does not impress Margaret’s family when she returns to her Arctic home. Margaret is now an outsider and must re-learn the ways of her family (language, food, and behaviour). When using this sequel to When I Was Eight, teachers and students can discuss the themes of loss, family, and belonging.

Also available: When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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