My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson

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From the 2011 National Book Award Finalist Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name is Not Easy.

My name is not easy. My name is hard like ocean ice grinding the shore . . . Luke knows his Iñupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. So he leaves it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles away from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School, students—Eskimo, Indian, White—line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. Here, speaking Iñupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader— if he doesn’t self-destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small, quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. They each have their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and the wider world—will never be the same.

About Debby Dahl Edwardson

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Debby Dahl Edwardson has lived at the northern most tip of NorthAmerica in Barrow, Alaska, for over thirty years. She married into the I ́nupiaq community and most of what she writes about is set within this culture. Its not the culture she was born into, but its the one she feels she belongs to in every sense of the word. While My Name Is Not Easy is fiction, it was inspired by real stories from a number of boarding schools that once operated throughout Alaska.
Published October 1, 2011 by Skyscape. 256 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The story of three Iñupiaq children (then known as Eskimos) living above the Arctic Circle who are sent to a Catholic boarding school with other children, white and Indian.

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Publishers Weekly

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Amiq, a defiant Eskimo, challenges authority, and a stubborn girl named Chickie longs to open closed doors, finding love with an Eskimo student;

Nov 14 2011 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Not Easy

Historical Novel Society

Many native peoples are represented at Sacred Heart, and student factions soon emerge pitting “Eskimos” against “Indians.” But the students at Sacred Heart gradually realize that they must band together to protest the injustices committed against their peoples.

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You can read the SLJ report We need more international picture books, kid lit experts say or the PW piece Where the Wild Books Are: A Day of Celebrating Foreign Picture Books or the Monica Edinger recap International Children’s Books Considered.

Apr 02 2017 | Read Full Review of My Name Is Not Easy

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