The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Thi Bui has written a masterful graphic (illustrated) memoir. She was born in Viet Nam, and when she was very young (and her mother was 8 months pregnant), they escaped and eventually made it to the USA. Apparently she struggled to write this book over many years. It finally came to fruition when she decided to make it an illustrated version. I loved her drawings, and the story resonated with me. I lived through all the history she recalls (though from a safe vantage point in the middle of America), and well remember the "flood" of refugees making their way to Minnesota. Then, when I worked in St. Paul Public Schools, I had the lucky draw to work closely with many refugee and immigrant children. I learned so much from them, and much of it is reflected in this book. I easily read it in one sitting, about two hours. I plan to read it again, because it was so well done, and because I want to catch what I may have missed on the first reading.
The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Joseph Auguste Merasty
Augie Merasty leaves his home at age five to attend a residential school for Indian children in Canada. He endures many years of abuse and torture at the hands of the nuns and priests in charge of the school. It's another indictment of the system which strove to eradicate the culture of the First Nations. Same thing happened here in the U.S. Families are still suffering from the generational trauma brought about by this criminal treatment imposed upon children. With a tumultuous adult life and alcoholism, he pays the price for his abusive childhood, yet maintains a bit of his original spark. Heart-breaking yet hopeful book. I am thankful for the reconciliation work being done in Canada, which includes learning more about the history of the residential schools.