“…over 150, 000 Aboriginal children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools. The result of the physical and emotional abuse suffered by so many continues to impact future generations.” Carol McDougall writes of this in the Author’s Note at the end of her book, Wake the Stone Man, the well-deserved winner of the 2013 Beacon Award for Social Justice Literature.
No matter how I tried, I couldn’t find a way to describe this book better than the description already available on the back of the book.
When I heard what this book was about, I wanted to read it. But, I was worried that the story was going to be heavy and hard to read. It wasn’t at all. It is a serious and sensitive topic, and I shed some tears (is anyone surprised?), but there is also compassion and warmth. Carol McDougall has written a story that is engaging and readable from beginning to end, and appealing to a wide audience. Which is good news, because it is the kind of book that everyone should read.
The story of Molly and Nakina, is about racism and abuse, shame and grief, but also about love and forgiveness. These are things we can all relate to. But, McDougall takes it a step further; behind the scenes there is the horror of the children being taken from their families and sent to schools where they were ridiculed and abused. As Molly searches for forgiveness from Nakina and from herself, we can’t help but wonder about all the children and families who haven’t found it yet.