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Not My Girl

Interest Age: 6–9
Grade: 1–4
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: W.3.1,1a,1b,2,2a,2b,7,8,10

Reading Level: Lexile 680L
Hardcover : 9781554516254, 36 pages, January 2014 , 9.0" x 9.0"
Paperback (Picture book) : 9781554516247, 36 pages, January 2014 , 9.0" x 9.0"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554516261, 32 pages, February 2014 Audiobook : 9781773215228, March 2021
Rights sold: English


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.


  • Short-listed, da Vinci Eye Award 2015
  • Commended, Eric Hoffer Award, Honorable Mention 2015
  • Joint winner, USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List 2015
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award 2015
  • Commended, Skipping Stones Honor Award 2015
  • Short-listed, Information Book Award, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada 2015
  • Joint winner, Storytelling World Award 2015
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2015


“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

“The illustrations . . . are bold and captivating . . . You can feel the emotion of each person through their faces.”

- Resource Links, 06/14

“Pokiak-Fenton’s emotionally honest writing is affecting and heartbreaking.”

- National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 02/20/14

“A great way to introduce important questions about identity and ethics to young readers and is, additionally, a pleasure for the eyes.”

- Montreal Review of Books, Fall/14

“A difficult and emotional story . . . that is relatable and engaging for young readers.”

- CM Reviews, 06/13/14

“Told simply, and with clarity . . . It is written with honor, and with tremendous feeling for the loss [Margaret] shares with so many other children.” 

- Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 02/16/14

“The trio again transforms painful, unfortunate memories into another enduring story of resilience, tenderness, and unconditional love.”

- BookDragon, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, 04/16/14

“Not to be missed.”

- Canlit for Little Canadians, 04/17/14