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Every Child Matters

by (author) Phyllis Webstad

illustrated by Karlene Harvey

translated by Marie-Christine Payette

Medicine Wheel Publishing
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
Social Studies, Family Studies, English Language Arts
Grade Levels
7 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, inspired an entire country with her story, leading to the tradition of wearing orange on September 30th in honor of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, originally known as Orange Shirt Day. Beyond the Orange Shirt Story is a collective memoir reflecting six generations of Survivors and intergenerational Survivors as they discuss the impact of the residential school system through true stories of resistance, resilience, remembrance, and healing. The text begins with a “what you need to know” page that provides context and shares the Protocols used to collect these truths from Webstad’s family and friends—authentically, in their own words, and with permission. The stories are brought to life through the sharing of personal photographs and lived experiences, reminding readers of their responsibility to learn, unlearn, and to take action. The text is accompanied by a teacher lesson plan. Also available in French as Derrière l'histoire du chandail orange.

Cautions / Content Warnings: This book may be a trigger for some readers.
Other End Matter: Information on how to access online classroom and teacher lesson plan
Images: Colour photographs, b&w photographs
Contributor Affiliation: Author Phyllis Webstad (Northern Secwépemc from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation)
Bibliography: No
Index: No

Source: Books BC - Indigenous Books for Schools

About the authors

Phyllis Webstad's profile page

KARLENE HARVEY est une illustratrice autochtone (Tsilhqot’in et Syilx) résidant à Vancouver, en Colombie-Britannique. Elle a notamment illustré Joue du tambour avec ton coeur et Chaque enfant compte. Karlene est conseillère en art autochtone à l’Université de Colombie-Britannique, et quand elle ne crée pas, elle étudie la langue tsilhqot’in et écrit ses propres histoires.


KARLENE HARVEY is a Tsilhqot’in and Syilx illustrator who resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the illustrator of Drum from the Heart and Every Child Matters. Karlene is an Indigenous Arts Advisor at the University of British Columbia, and when she's not making art she enjoys Tsilhqot’in language studies and writing her own stories.

Karlene Harvey's profile page

Marie-Christine Payette's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Every Child Matters speaks to all Indigenous Peoples - past and present - whose lives have been impacted by the residential school system. Phyllis and Karlene beautifully honour the unity, strength and resolve shared by Survivors, their families and their communities. Residential schools took our children and tried to break their vibrant spirits. With this book, the children of today can learn the truths of this history and how they can play a part in making sure every child matters. – Stephanie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation
"A lesson in acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual... the repetition and lyrical lines are effective in engaging readers... will tug at the heart of the compassionate reader." -Children's Literature, A CLCD Company