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Fatty legs recounts the true story of a little Inuit girl who is desperate to learn how to read. She is intrigued by the outsiders, the nuns and priests, who work at the residential school. She begs her father to allow her to go to school but he resists knowing all too well of the cruelty that lies within the walls of the building. Eventually he relents and allows Olemaun to go. While a student at the school, Olemaun, now called Margaret, endures cruelty, bullying and shaming at the hands of a particularly ruthless nun. Margaret manages to find the strength to overcome her hardships and prevail.
This book could be used as springboard for a discussion of the importance of culture and traditions in different groups and at the same time educating today's children about Residential Schools by highlighting the need to respect the human rights of all people.
This book also gives wonderful descriptions of the journey undertaken by remote groups to reach larger centers. The family`s journey could be plotted on a map with activities assigned to each place. The students could imagine that they are on the North Star with Margaret and keep their impressions of the journey in a journal. Comparisons could also be made between present day and Margaret`s time by using the photos from the book.
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