A new book aimed at pre-schoolers explaining the origins of Orange Shirt Day is hitting best-seller lists in Canada, less than a month into its release.
And the book is available just in time for Orange Shirt Day this Friday (Sept. 30) which is now also National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a federal holiday created last year to honour the memory of residential school survivors in Canada.
With Our Orange Hearts is a gentle, yet powerful introduction into some of the feelings connected to the Orange Shirt Day movement.
There’s sadness, grief and reflection but the book highlights the importance of sharing the orange shirt day story.
Orange Shirt Day, with the slogan Every Child Matters, began in 2013 by residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad.
She was seven years when she got a new orange shirt from her grandma, which was promptly removed and thrown away when she arrived for classes at the nearby residential school she attended in 1974.
Teddy (Yéił S’aaghí) Anderson, founder of Medicine Wheel Publishing, which published the book, said the response has been overwhelming so far.
“It’s hitting best seller lists,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
It has reached number six in Canada on bookmanager.com and was the number on book in British Columbia last week.
“It’s crazy,” said Anderson. “We had a huge response. It’s wild.”
The book is aimed at audiences aged three to six-years-old and is the fifth book they’ve released covering Orange Shirt Day.
“We’re a full-fledged publisher. We focus on Indigenous content. There’s lots of stuff for people of any age group.”
By focusing on a younger demographic, “we’re trying to plant a seed of reconciliation of what does a three-year-old or six-year-old need to start that process?”
The book is illustrated by Indigenous artist Emily Kewageshig.
He expects hard copies of the book to be sold out this week.
But people can order copies of the book online from their website or at large retailers online like Amazon and Chapters.
“With Our Orange Hearts focus a lot on feelings,” said Anderson.
The proceeds of the publishing company’s books go back to supporting Orange Shirt Society.
Anderson said the book is perfect for people, “who want to engage in meaningful conversations with their little ones around Orange Shirt Day…it’s a beautiful way to talk about difficult topics. And we think our book does that. Reconciliation can start at any age.”