Just in time for the 150th anniversary of Canada, Hughes traces the history and impact of immigration in the country.
The book’s organization, design, and photography are clear and accessible, with insets and sidebars adding variety to the content, making this a valuable addition to classrooms and libraries. Guidance from educators or parents may be necessary to ensure the young readers’ comprehension, as the text is uneven with regard to what the author explains. Selected words are defined (“abolished” means “ended,” for instance), while major concepts are not (why are immigrants considered a source of cheap labor?). Hughes emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the injustice inherent to Canada's founding and its subsequent immigration policies in both the introduction and conclusion—but she obscures rather than elucidates this aspect of history in some sections about Aboriginal peoples and black immigrants while expanding on it in others. The text relies heavily on ironic quotation marks, forcing young readers to deduce what isn’t written. By contrast, the author more explicitly explains discrimination and repression that others commit, as in the new United States’ oppression of Loyalists, or for which Canada has apologized, as in the turning away of the Komagata Maru and its would-be South Asian immigrants.
An astute educator or parent can use this book to start important conversations about Canada’s history and its people. (timeline, immigration laws, statistics, further reading, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)