Title: O Canada!: Her Story
Author: Karla Akins
Major Themes: Canada, Vikings
Synopsis: Eight historical narratives and biographies tell Canada’s history.
So why aren’t there more books written about Canada? That country is larger, size-wise, than the United States, but I have read relatively few books set in Canada and literally hundreds, if not thousands, in the USA. It must be the difference in population, but whatever the cause, I was excited to be given the opportunity recently to review O Canada!: Her Story. I read this book aloud to the children, and all of them down to the 7-year-old enjoyed it. Even my 19-year-old commented a couple of times that she was really impressed with this book.
There are quite a variety of topics included. The eight chapters are each quite long; I am a fast reader and it took me up to 45-50 minutes to read several of the chapters aloud. They were so interesting, though, that no one wanted to leave the room even when the jobs were finished that they had been doing. We wanted to keep going to the end of the story! Only one of the chapters was actually about any topic we had ever read about before. Even that story was told from quite a different point of view, so even though we have read quite a number of books about Leif Ericson and the other Vikings who discovered the New World around the year 1000, we were engrossed in this story.
We also enjoyed learning about the life of the Haida Indians from the British Columbia coast, the Acadians who were forced out of their homes and ended up moving to Louisiana, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s young life, the discoverer of insulin, and the Dionne Quintuplets—what a sad story. The story of Canada’s school on wheels was fascinating; I’m sure I, for one, will never forget the tale of one family’s experiences during a week while they lived in a train car in which their father taught school to the children in remote areas of Canada. And Terry Fox—why is there a day to honor him? What did he do that stood out? You’ll have to read the book to find out why.
Even if—and maybe especially if—you don’t live in Canada, I highly recommend this book. Karla Akins has done a masterful job of telling a few carefully chosen stories to bring Canada’s rich history to life.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15