This week I am reviewing a book that lots of kids and youth might find boring since it’s about Canadian history. Having said this, Canada Our History by Rich Archbold is truly a book of stories about key events in Canadian History. For example, the essay or story Starting Over is told in five letters from Dora, an immigrant girl, to her friend Ruth, who is still living in Europe. Dora’s letters describe crossing the Atlantic to get to Canada and then crossing Canada to get to Saskatchewan. These letters capture the hardships faced by newcomers to Canada.
Another essay is a young girl’s narrative of living through 1967, Canada’s Centennial. This essay brought me right back to 1967 when I was a young girl visiting Expo 67. It also reminded me of all the Centennial celebrations across Canada.
Canada Our History has stories covering one hundred years – the one hundred years between 1900 and 2000. It starts with two friends communicating by letters that took weeks to reach their destination. It ends with an online chat between two friends at the turn of the twenty-first century. The last two friends are thousands of kilometres apart – one in Perth County, Ontario, where Stratford is and the other in Edmonton – but their communications online happen instantaneously.
This is a perfect book to read aloud. It is a reminder that there is lots to learn about Canada – and even more to learn when you hear about an era as told by a young person. This book answers the question,” What was it like then?”
(Note: I read the 2000 Doubleday Canada edition of this book.)