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Noteworthy Books with Canadian Historical Themes

French Titles

À la merci des Iroquois À la merci des Iroquois
Susanne Julien
Iberville, Québec: Coïncidence/Jeunesse, 1994, 79 p.
(Coïncidence/Jeunesse. Transition)
ISBN 2893970893
ages 9 to 11

Cover reproduced by permission of Coïncidence Jeunesse.

It is 1689. Thomas and his father Joseph Potier are travelling down the Ottawa River toward Montreal to trade in furs. When an Algonquin ambush separates the two travellers, Thomas is taken to an Iroquois village and his father is left for dead. In this brief account, Susanne Julien captures all the anguish of being a prisoner among a people with unfamiliar customs. In its portrayal of a young boy's adaptation to his fate and in the route it takes to a final unexpected outcome, this novel will please avid readers of both history and suspense.

Le Baiser maléfique Le Baiser maléfique
Adaptation by Robert Soulières
Illustrations: Stéphane Jorisch
Laval, Québec: Les 400 coups, 1995, 28 p.
(Collection Billochet)
ISBN 2921620065
Ages 7 and up
New version. Originally published:
Le Baiser maléfique
Sillery, Québec: Ovale (1985?)
Cover reproduced by permission of Les éditions les 400 coups.

Rose Latulipe, a lively 16-year-old, begs her father to celebrate Mardi Gras by inviting all the neighbours to a dance which, she promises, will end at midnight, before Ash Wednesday begins. Rose neglects her fiancé Gabriel for the entire evening, and even more so after the 11 o'clock arrival of an elegant stranger dressed entirely in black who leads the vivacious young woman away in a diabolical dance. The customs and superstitions of a time not so long ago come to life again in this legend illustrated with watercolours by Stéphane Jorisch that draw the reader into a frenetic pas de deux.

Des Battes de baseball pour Noël Des Battes de baseball pour Noël
Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak
Illustrations: Vladyana Krykorka
Translation: Lise-Anne Laverdure
Toronto: Annick Press, 1994, 23 p.
ISBN 155037379X (bound), 1550373781 (paperback)
Ages 6 to 10
Available in English: Baseball Bats for Christmas
(Toronto: Annick Press, 1990)
Cover reproduced courtesy of Annick Press 1994, Annick Press Ltd./Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak (text), Vladyana Krykorka (art).

Arvaarluk and his friends are astonished to see Rocky Parsons, a pilot who  --  imagine!  --  does not speak a word of Inuktitut, unload six trees from his plane in the snow desert known as Repulse Bay in 1955. What better to do with these trees, but turn them into baseball bats? The warm characters in this story evoke the pleasure of carefree northern life, thanks in part to the illustrations that depict humans and landscape in perfect harmony.

Blues 1946 Blues 1946
Gérald Gagnon
Montréal: Boréal, 1991, 151 p.
(Boréal Inter)
ISBN 2890524205
Ages 14 to 18
Cover reproduced by permission of Les Éditions du Boréal.

The threat of a labour dispute  --  the ever-present companion of many Canadian workers  --  comes alive in this story which addresses the concerns of an evolving Quebec culture. In 1946, several young people unite inconspicuously to protect one of their fathers, M. Hébert, who is fired when he persists in speaking French, even to his English bosses. When Richard Lacoste, the narrator and central character, discovers an English ancestor, the tension increases. By focusing on the opposition of two diverse cultures grappling with an inalterable past and an uncertain destiny, the author involves his readers, in timely fashion, in a page out of Canada's recent past.

Une bonne et heureuse année Une bonne et heureuse année
Roch Carrier
Illustrations: Gilles Pelletier
Montréal: Livres Toundra, 1991, 24 p.
ISBN 0887762689
Ages 6 and up
Available in English:
A Happy New Year's Day
(Montreal: Tundra Books, 1991)
Cover reproduced by permission of Livres Toundra.

The comforts of home become even more essential to Canadians' well-being when a thick coat of snow covers the ground. In this book, Gilles Pelletier's full-page illustrations communicate the joy of a New Year's Day in the 1940s, when New Year's Day was celebrated by the whole family around a table overflowing with good things to eat, listed here with obvious pleasure. The text, by Roch Carrier, evokes the warm atmosphere and joie de vivre of a family celebration as seen through the eyes of a four-year-old in this nostalgic, but authentic glimpse of the past.

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Date Created: 2001-05-29
Date Modified: 2002-09-25

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