Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15th: Canadian History

Sometimes literacy feels a bit like the toy ailse at Toys'r'us: girl's books to the right, guy's books to the left and never shall the two meet in the middle. This gender divide is prevalent and it definitely makes me uncomfortable. And for some baffling reason, this great divide seems to have heightened in the last few years instead of receding. That's not to say there aren't worthy and sometimes even great books written specifically with a female or male audience in mind. But, but, but... I do get frustrated sometimes. I digress. It's just that yesterday's post along with today's has put this issue at the front of my mind.

In the last decade, three excellent historical fiction series have emerged in Canada: Our Canadian Girl (Penguin), Dear Canada (Scholastic) and I am Canada (Scholastic). Penguin and Scholastic were smart in that they recruited some of the nation's best writers for children to pen these books which means the final product is definitely worth it. The websites for each, chock full of recipies, crafts and other activities, aren't too shabby either. Check them out and then promise me you'll encourage cross-gender reading as much as you can.


  1. Papoosie Girl has read many of the Our Canadian Girl and Dear Canada books and you are right they are great. I keep forgetting to bookmark all these great sites!

    Thanks once more for great ideas to keep kids interested in reading.

  2. Hey, I just did a review of Paul Yee's book in the I am Canada series for PaperTigers. See here:

    And I'm a girl!

  3. A reader named Roderick Benns tried to leave the following comment today but blogger ate it. I reprint the contents here:

    "Dear Sue,

    The series you mention are indeed great.

    If I may, I'd like to bring your attention to the "Leaders & Legacies" series, the latest series but with a twist. Historical fiction for ages 12 and up, the series stars none other than our own prime ministers as mystery-solving, adventurous youth. Through compelling novels about our leaders when they were 12 to 13 years old, we are bringing history to life for kids and adults alike.

    This latest installment in the Leaders & Legacies series is set in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and stars a 13-year-old John A. Macdonald in a quest to unearth the truth about two famous legends – that there might be treasure left in a cave on Lake on the Mountain and that the lake itself is haunted. It also features a foreword by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

    I have written the first two books in the Leaders & Legacies series to kick-start things, but author contracts are now out on several other titles to sustain the series. Future titles for the series include those on a young Lester Pearson, Kim Campbell and Charles Tupper. In other words, we are setting up as a traditional publisher.

    Hope you find the concept interesting. Check it out at"


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