Meet Mary Ann Shadd: A Book Review

Title: Meet Mary Ann Shadd 
Author: Elizabeth MacLeod 
Illustrator: Mike Deas 
Publisher: Scholastic


Meet Mary Ann Shadd: anti-slavery activist, newspaper publisher, and social justice pioneer!

The award-winning Scholastic Canada Biography series highlights the lives of remarkable Canadians whose achievements have inspired and changed the lives of those who followed.

Mary Ann Shadd was born free in 1823 in Delaware. Her parents were abolitionists, and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad. Her family moved to Canada in 1851 after the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted, and as a young woman, Shadd became a trailblazer in every realm she touched ― opening a desegregated school in Chatham, Ontario; becoming the first Black female newspaper publisher in North America with the Provincial Freeman; becoming a suffrage activist; and at the age of 60 earning a law degree to become one of the first Black women to practice law!

Mary Ann was truly remarkable, for her time or any other, unafraid to speak up and fight for equal rights ― for Black people, for women and for everybody.

Written by award-winning author Elizabeth MacLeod, this portrait of Mary Ann Shadd couples simple yet compelling writing with comic-flavoured illustrations by Mike Deas that help bring her fascinating story to life!


Are you looking for a fun, engaging way to learn about important figures in Canadian history? Are you hoping to add diversity to your Canadian studies? Do you want your kids to learn more about topics such as equality, social justice, prejudice, racism and more? Look no further than titles such as Meet Mary Ann Shadd, part of the Scholastic Canada Biography series. 

Mary Ann Shadd was a Black woman who moved to Canada in 1851. She fought for equality. You can read all about how she opened an integrated school, established a newspaper for Black people by Black people, worked to promote abolition and more! She was also the first Black woman to attend law school in North America. Mary Ann Shadd stood up for what was right! 

In our family, I try to pick books that are engaging. However, sometimes I start reading and my kids are easily bored. There are too many words on a page, not enough pictures, or the writing isn’t done in an easy-to-read style. Not so with the Scholastic Biography series! Meet Mary Ann Shadd is one of my new favourites. Like the other books in this series, the format of a graphic novel style plus a conversational narrative is such a wonderful combination! The full colour graphic style artwork on each page really adds to the book’s appeal. The book relays facts without bogging down the reader with too much information. I also appreciate how at the back of the book there is a timeline of Mary Ann Shadd’s life and a few photos. The overall message of the book is one of hope and inspiration. 

I really love the Scholastic Biography series. The graphic style pictures are ideal for this age group. Meet Mary Ann Shadd delivers a message that all kids need to hear: it’s important to stand up for what is right! I think it’s awesome that through the Scholastic Biography series, we can learn about historical Canadian figures in an engaging format. I highly recommend reading Meet Mary Ann Shadd! 

I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of review. However, all opinions are my own.



Love Learning Through Historical Fiction?

Check out our Canadian History Through Living Books List! Over 100 pages of books to choose from… all about Canadian history – picture books, chapter books, to books for high school. Includes books with diverse perspectives and experiences all organized into time periods or historical events. Available in the store!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *