Canada’s history is full of stories of the experiences of people who have lived here, but we often get caught up in the big picture moments instead of magnifying these little moments. YesterCanada by Elma Schemenauer is a collection of short historical fiction stories that pause at these unique events to give us a glimpse of the experiences, feelings, and thoughts of the people involved.
She sent me a copy of her book to read, and I jumped in. This book has 30 stories inside, covering Canadian history from the 1200s to 1900s. ranging from an Arctic ghost ship to camels in BC to letters from a Fille du Roi to her brother. Each story is pretty easy to read, quick but attention-grabbing. I found them very entertaining and informative. I had no idea many of these things happened in Canada – so they are unique and fun, too. This kind of history is so much more enjoyable than the dry facts and memorization of timeline events.
Mrs. Schemenauer has done a great job of authoring this book, her writing style is very enjoyable to read. Although they are no longer than 10 pages each, she’s able to paint a vivid image with her words in a way that brings the moment to life and pique curiosity to learn more about that moment in time.
I think this book could be a great one to have when studying Canadian history with your kids. The short stories are easy enough to include in lessons – especially as a read-aloud or even as a quiet independent reading time. If you have reluctant readers (like mine), the fact that they only have to read a few pages will be welcomed!
There were two extra things I found special about this book. On the first page of each story, you will find a glossy page, whereas the rest of the story is on regular paper. Having this distinction is totally unique and makes it easier to find where the next tale begins. On that starting page is also a picture that ties in with the story – either a photograph or artwork. Just enough to provide a visual anchor, these aren’t intrusive or limiting the use of imagination imagery.
All in all, I found YesterCanada to be an entertaining addition to my historical fiction book collection.
This book is available from Borealis Press.