Monday, June 14, 2010

Black-Canadian history - Nonfiction Monday

Nothing like poking around on the internet on a Friday afternoon and coming across a ‘new’ favorite website.  Which is exactly what happened when I found Black History Canada .

I got sucked in but good!  Tons of fascinating stories (see Profiles section) are to be found here. Some are told in short movie clips, others as informative, written narratives that tell of Black experiences in Canada from the early 1600s to today.  Check out the teacher’s section which shows how this topic ties into school curriculum across Canada plus, a list for a multitude of online resources.

This is also one of those cases of serendipity as I had recently been discussing with a colleague a few exceptional books about this facet of Canadian history.  Living in Canada after escaping slavery, certainly did not a guarantee an easy life as the following three books attest.

Read on:

Season of Rage by John Cooper (323.1196 COS 2005) was a real eye-opener for me as I hadn’t realized the extent of segregation here in Canada.  Weren’t we Canadians supposed to be a whole lot ‘nicer’ than the Americans?   Not necessarily so.  This book tells of a small slice Black civil rights movement in Canada. Suggested for grades 6 and up.

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (823 C941E FIC) (one of my all time favorite authors) is a fictional account of the first free-born child born in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement established by ex-slaves.  Funny, sad, and suspenseful, which adds up to an excellent read. Suggested for grades 4 to 8.

5000 miles to freedom : Ellen and William Craft's flight from slavery by Judith Bloom Fradin (973.6 FRF 2006) also reads with a great deal of suspense that had me gripped from the start.  Though only a small segment of the Crafts’ story takes place in Canada it was still illuminating to see how they were received in eastern Canada.  A fascinating true story.  Suggested for grades 5-10.

Though I’ve only listed three books I could have included many more.  Please send in other suggestions.

One last resource to check out is the blog, Fledging written by Zetta Elliott.  She has compiled an interesting list of books published in Canada since 2000 that are by and about black people. Well worth a look.

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