Fatty Legs

Fatty LegsBy Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Young Olemaun Pokiak is desperate to go to school and learn to read like her sister.  But Olemaun lives in the High Arctic, and to attend school she will have to make a five-day journey to Aklavik, Northwest Territories.  Not only that, but she will have to stay at the residential school, run by nuns, for the entire school year.  Her father will not allow it.

But over time, Olemaun wears her father down.  He finally consents and at eight years old, Olemaun is brought to her new school to begin her studies.

Unfortunately, school is not what she expects.  Olemaun is quickly given a new name – Margaret.  Her hair is cut, and she is forced to do many, many chores as well as work in the adjacent hospital.  Apparently there is more to school than learning to read.

Margaret also becomes the target of one teacher’s wrath.  The Raven, as Margaret calls her, often singles her out for extra chores and sometimes, for humiliation.  When the Raven orders Margaret to wear red stockings while all the other girls wear black, Margaret is mortified.  The red stockings make her legs look huge and some of the other girls start calling her Fatty Legs.

But Margaret does not allow this treatment to interfere with her goal of learning to read.  Can she also stand up for herself and finally get rid of those red stockings?

Fatty Legs is a true story that will make readers laugh and cry.  Kids will cheer for Margaret and her stubborn, headstrong ways and celebrate her ability to overcome obstacles.  Fatty Legs will also help kids understand what happened to many children in residential schools and hopefully make them celebrate their own cultural identity.