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Orca SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) RESPECT through July 2023

The Witness Blanket
Truth, Art and Reconciliation
By (author): Carey Newman By (author): Kirstie Hudson
Carey Newman , Kirstie Hudson


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:



Juvenile: Age (years) 9 - 12, Grade (CAN) 4 - 8, Grade (US) 4 - 8, Reading age 9 - 12
Apr 19, 2022
Print Run: 10000
$24.95 CAD


9in x 7.5 x 0.5 in | 460 gr

Page Count:

96 pages


110 Halftones, color
FSC certified – mixed sources C016245
Orca Book Publishers
JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada / Indigenous
Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Racism and anti-racism|Interest age: from c 9 years|True stories of survival of abuse and injustice|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Art and artists|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Lives of children in the past|Relating to Indigenous peoples
Forest of Reading Yellow Cedar Award 2023, Nominated USBBY Outstanding International Books List 2023, Commended OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention 2022, Commended
  • Short Description

This nonfiction book for middle-grade readers, illustrated with photographs, tells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket, a work by Indigenous artist Carey Newman that includes items from every residential school in Canada and stories from the Survivors who donated them.

Every object tells a story.

For more than 150 years, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools across Canada.

Artist Carey Newman created the Witness Blanket to make sure that history is never forgotten. The Blanket is a living work of art—a collection of hundreds of objects from those schools. It includes everything from photos, bricks, hockey skates, graduation certificates, dolls and piano keys to braids of hair. Behind every piece is a story. And behind every story is a residential school Survivor, including Carey's father. This book is a collection of truths about what happened at those schools, but it's also a beacon of hope and a step on the journey toward reconciliation.

Key Selling Points

  • Every chapter uses an object from the Witness Blanket and the first-hand experiences of Survivors to tell a story about a residential school.
  • Gives young readers insight into Carey's artistic process and how his relationship with the objects and stories informed his art.
  • This is an extremely personal project as Carey Newman's father is a residential school Survivor.
  • The authors previously collaborated on Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket.
  • The Witness Blanket team traveled over 124,000 miles (200,000 kilometers), visited 77 communities and met over 10,000 people in every Canadian province and territory. Along the way, they gathered nearly 900 pieces of history that became the basis for the Blanket.
  • The Blanket now lives at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, where the creation of a digital Witness Blanket is underway so that its stories can be shared with more people and communities across Canada.
  • Includes a glossary and list of resources.
  • The truth about residential schools is still being uncovered. In 2021 the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, and since then thousands more unmarked graves have been discovered across Canada at former residential school sites.
  • In Canada, September 30 is recognized as Orange Shirt Day or the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, honoring the children that attended residential schools.

Carey Newman or Hayalthkin'geme is a multidisciplinary artist and master carver. Through his father he is Kwakwaka'wakw from the Kukwekum, Giiksam, and WaWalaby'ie clans of Fort Rupert, and Coast Salish from Cheam of the Stó:lo Nation along the upper Fraser Valley. Through his mother he is English, Irish, and Scottish. In his artistic practice he strives to highlight Indigenous, social or environmental issues. Carey was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2017 and was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2018. With Kirstie Hudson, he co-authored Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket which was a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Nonfiction. Carey lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Contributor Website

Kirstie Hudson is an editor and writer in Victoria, British Columbia. She was a reporter and producer with the CBC in Toronto, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Victoria. In her award-winning career as a journalist, Kirstie's work was recognized with a Jack Webster Award, Radio Television Digital News Association Awards and a Gabriel Award. As an instructor at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, Kirstie shared her love of storytelling with students in writing, communications and journalism. She co-authored Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket with Carey Newman. In 2020, the book was a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Nonfiction.

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Also Available

The Secret Pocket Peggy Janicki 9781459833722 $21.95 CAD Apr 11, 2023
Picking Up the Pieces Carey Newman 9781459819955 $39.95 CAD Sep 10, 2019

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