This is an endearing story of a young Aboriginal foster child who is given a special gift by his foster mother. Her gift of warmth and thoughtfulness helps her young foster children by encouraging self-esteem, acceptance and love. Written as a simple story, it speaks of a positive foster experience.
In just 13 pages, Earl Einarson, a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation, effectively reminds readers of the importance of raising children in an environment of love and safety, one which provides a positive connection to the children’s cultural heritage. While foster homes often provide a safe, loving setting, they sometimes overlook responding to the foster child’s natal roots. Such was not the case for Earl Einarson, because, as the excerpt indicates, Einarson’s foster mother provided him with a tangible connection to his culture while telling him to be proud of his Native heritage. The text indicates that Einarson and his moccasins became virtually inseparable until, after the footwear had undergone many mendings, Einarson simply outgrew them. “My foster mother said it was time to put them away. We put them in a box and packed them away.”
Years later, after Einarson married and he and his wife had a child, “my foster mother brought a gift. It was a box. Inside the box were my old moccasins.” What “used to make [Einarson] feel warm and loved” will now be passed on to his new son, along with the feelings of being safe, loved and proud of being Native.
The simple, but evocative, storyline is superbly reinforced by Julie Flett’s spare illustrations which occupy one page of each pair of facing pages.