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A Stranger At Home

A True Story

Interest Age: 9–12
Grade: 4–7
Reading Level: Lexile 870L
Hardcover : 9781554513628, 128 pages, September 2011 , 9.0" x 6.25"
Paperback : 9781554513611, 128 pages, September 2011 , 9.0" x 6.25"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554515936, 128 pages, September 2011 Audiobook : 9781773215204, March 2021
Rights sold: Korean, French


Margaret can’t wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected.

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It’s been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers.

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, “Not my girl.” Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider.

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can’t even stomach the food her mother prepares.

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family’s way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people—and to herself.

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl’s struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.


  • Joint winner, USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List 2012
  • Joint winner, Nonfiction Honor List, VOYA 2012
  • Joint winner, White Ravens Collection, International Youth Library, Munich 2012
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Ontario Library Association 2012
  • Joint winner, Skipping Stones Honor Book 2012
  • Joint winner, Independent Publishers Book Award 2012
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2012


“This is a book everyone should read.”

- Edwards Magazine Book Club, 07/19/11

“Olemaun’s spirit and determination shine through this moving memoir.”

- Kirkus Reviews, 09/11

“Like its predecessor Fatty Legs, this is potent, accessible, and moving. Highly recommended.”

- Toronto Star, 11/07/11

“Provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world.”

- School Library Journal, 12/11

“Straightforward and powerful . . . Margaret’s memories, thoughts and experiences . . . are presented in an accessible and believable manner.”

- The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 04/12

“[A] lovely, simply written and utterly moving memoir.”

- Foreword Reviews, 04/12

“The book does deal with subjects that are large and complex; yet the writing makes them infinitely readable and relatable.” 

- Waking Brain Cells, 08/29/11

“Young readers will find Margaret’s story both historically informative and heartbreakingly poignant.”

- Paper Tigers, 11/20/11

“Realistically portrays the impact of residential school life on Aboriginal children.”

- Resource Links, 11/12

“[A] poignant and heartbreaking look at the long-term effects for the children who were taken from their families to attend residential schools.”

- Sal' s Fiction Addiction, 01/12

“This memoir, detailing a woeful piece of Canadian history and demonstrating Margaret’s strength of character, compassion, courage and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her family’s sake, gives the reader a lot to ponder. Highly recommended.”

- CM Reviews, 02/12

“Will speak to anyone who has experienced displacement or assimilation into a new culture.”

- Professionally Speaking, 03/12

“Without being graphic or overwhelming, the Fentons recreate a tragic moment in Canadian history through the innocent reflections of a child . . . a must for any classroom library.”

- Canadian Teacher, 05/12