Weaving A Country
Stories from Canadian Immigrants
by Wilma Maki
Pacific Educational Press, 2003
$14.95, 86 pages, glossary, index, ages 12+
This book tells the stories of many people who immigrated to Canada, long ago and in the present. The book is divided into chapters that discuss the various aspects of immigration, such as Leaving Home, Finding an Identity, and Discrimination and Prejudice. These experiences are told through narratives, photos, poems and letters, with many interesting pictures from then and now. There are also photos of items such as a visa, a birth certificate, a passport, a young boy’s birthday wish list, and a little girl’s diary entries as she sails from England to Canada. Immigrants came from all over the world: Russia, Japan, China, India, Scotland, Ireland, England, Finland, Africa, Vietnam, and the Ukraine, to name just a few. Some people had a good experience immigrating to Canada and there are many uplifting, positive stories. Others endured not only hardships and difficulties reaching Canada, but then had to face prejudice and discrimination once they were here. One such group, the Doukhobors from Russia, preferred to homeschool their children and “resisted the compulsory attendance at public schools.” In the 1950s, the Canadian government removed the children from their families and placed them in government dormitories. This story could easily lead to classroom discussions of Residential Schools.
Classroom Connections: Wilma Maki has presented a wonderful tapestry of the people who make up Canada. This book would certainly be an asset in any social studies, language arts, or religion class. It is easy to read and the various text features will grab the attention of the students. It could lead to interesting class projects that would help students better understand other cultures, and appreciate the diverse fabric that makes Canada such a wonderful place to live. The glossary and index are very helpful.
Review by Julia Rank.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Nov/Dec 2011 issue.