YesterCanada Paperback – 2016
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'YesterCanada' presents thirty historical tales spanning this great land and the centuries from the 1200s to the 1900s. Here are a few of the mysteries you'll find in its pages: Where in the icy Arctic is the lost Vancouver-based ship Baychimo? Who rang the chapel bell in Tadoussac, Quebec one foggy April night in 1782? Why did a Minnesota farmer abandon his farm, walk to Saskatchewan, and build an ocean-going ship far from any ocean? In YesterCanada you'll also meet adventurers like Ontario´s daring Lady Agnes, Nova Scotia's migrating Normanites, gold-seekers of Alberta, and the Manitoba Cree chief who gave his life for the woman he loved. Elma Schemenauer Born near the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan, Elma sank deep roots into the prairie way of life and the traditions of her extended Mennonite family. Venturing farther afield, she became a teacher of English and religion. After several years she fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving into a publishing career in Toronto. She's the author of 75 books including Yesterstories, Native Canadians Today and Long Ago, Jacob Siemens Family Since 1685, Russia, Ottawa, and Hello Winnipeg. In 2006 Elma and her husband relocated to Kamloops, British Columbia. There she writes, blogs, and takes long walks on grassy hillsides that remind her of her prairie roots.
Top customer reviews
These historical tales of my country had me enthralled from the first page and I wondered why I had never heard about them in school when I was growing up. I mean, who wouldn't want to know that Sir John A MacDonald's wife perched herself on the cowcatcher of a train just to get a better view of what was up ahead? Or that her husband, much to the horror of those in charge of his safety, joined her?
The author has included factual stories as well as folklore, that I found incredibly intriguing. This will be a book that I recommend to many and hope that it is one that ends up in Canadian schools everywhere as "required reading". I wasn't even going to read this book because of the cover, but when I read the back story and another reviewer's opinion of it, I knew I had to read it. And that is the one thing I fear will keep people from reading this book - the cover - and that would be a shame, because this is one book every Canadian should read.
The author has successfully created a selection of stories that are not only educational, but fascinating and enjoyable to read. You’ll find yourself thinking how come I never heard of the story of The Woman Who walked to the Top of the World or world famous actor Charles Francis Coghlan had a connection to Canada. With beautifully written characters ranging from Lady Agnes to Tom Thomson, YesterCanada takes the reader on many incredible journeys and conveys more in a few pages than many do in an entire novel.
In Abigail Becker, Heroine of Lake Erie we meet the brave Mrs. Becker who fights desperately to save a crew aboard the sinking schooner Conducter. I couldn’t wait to get to the last page to see if she indeed saved the crew or had the ship tragically sunk to the bottom of Lake Erie with everyone on board.
In Lily of the Peace River we learn of the tragic tale of the demise of Edward Armson and his wife who perished alone in the wilderness leaving behind a daughter and one page turning mystery. Or the haunting page turner of the life of Tom Sukanan. His sad and lonely life brought me to tears.
By far my favorite story was that of Lady Agnes Macdonald’s thrilling train ride from Ottawa to Bristish Columbia. Written with such passion, I felt as though I was there with Lady Agnes, sitting on the cowcatcher chugging across the prairies.
There’s a huge amount of skill involved in putting together an array of stories with all different themes ranging from adventure, love, mystery, and even tragedy and still have the novel feel like one book. Elma does this beautifully.
It is rare, but some stories have the power to say with you long after you’ve turned the final page. Elma’s complication of short stories is that kind of novel. My only advice is clear your afternoon because once you start reading YesterCanada you’re not going to want to put it down.
All I can say is, it would be wonderful if all history educators used this book, YesterCanada – Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure, in their classes. History would be SO MUCH FUN!
Such an exciting and amazing trip through unknown and little known facts about Canada and the mysterious, wild, brave and arguably crazy people who lived here. From a Prime Minister's wife riding on cow catchers, all the way to unmanned ships sailing alone, this book is a page turner from beginning to end.
Despite the fact that the cover itself, sadly, does not draw you to the book, the contents very quickly make you forget that from the outside it looks like one of those uninteresting school books that we were forced to read.
Elma Schemenauer presented each tale in an easy to read manner that instantly drew me into the stories. Many times, I didn't want the story to end and just as many times, I found myself on my computer looking up more historic details that surrounded these accounts. I couldn't put the book down, and I haven't stopped sharing these historic tales with family and friends since.
I highly recommend this book for history and non history lovers everywhere.
Vignettes, with accompanying photos, range from the light-hearted to the tragic, and from fact to myth. There is lost gold, murder, shipwreck, even a mysterious infant floating down a river to safety. Meet a hermit, a priest, a prime minister’s wife, a bride imported from France. Read about courageous men and women, others bent on what their neighbours called fools’ quests, and about legends, mysteries, and drama.
Stories are told in an accessible and engaging tone, making YesterCanada an ideal book for adults and young adults alike. It would also be a good choice for reading aloud to older children, to cultivate an interest in the lesser-known details of Canadian history.
[Advance review copy provided by the author.]
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