Le grain de sable

by Webster Valmo

Originaire de l'île de Madagascar, Olivier Le Jeune arrive dans la ville de Québec en 1629 en tant qu'esclave. Il avait 10 ans.

Au-delà de son statut d'esclave, il est la première personne d'origine africaine à habiter de manière permanente au Canada. Ce livre, inspiré de ce qu'il a réellement vécu, suit le parcours d'Olivier Le Jeune, de sa capture à Madagascar jusqu'à son arrivée dans la ville de Québec. On apprend comment il a pu s'adapter à sa nouvelle réalité dans les débuts de la Nouvelle-France.

Published: 2019

Originally written in French

Number of pages: 70

Recommended FSL Programs and Grades

  • Grade 10 ( Immersion)

  • Grade 11 (Immersion)

  • Grade 12 (Core, Extended, Immersion)

Race/Ethnic/Geographic Information

Author: Webster Valmo

Characters: first Black slave to appear in the historical record for New France

Setting: New France

Notes from a teacher-reader

  • The book has 70 pages and is written in verse.

  • Resembles a graphic novel in the sense that it is filled with beautiful images to supplement the story.

  • A glossary is provided in connection to italicized words which may not be familiar to the reader

  • Discussion topics include migration, Immigration, First Settlers

Classroom Use:

Content warnings: Slavery/self-harm/suicide

Hook: The book tells the story of "Olivier le Jeune", the first Black slave to appear in the historical record for New France. Biographical information is woven among fantasy elements - to tell the story of how Olivier le Jeune was kidnapped into slavery and forced to live enslaved thousands of miles away from his home. The visuals are striking and capture the readers' interest immediately and the use of verse as a literary device is intriguing.

Feel free to contact the teacher-reader, Erin Coulson, at erin.coulson@peelsb.com if you have questions about this novel.