Our #RoadTripReadingClub has made it to the Prairies! We’re in Manitoba, which has seen both the highest temperatures in Canada and the lowest. It’s also home to the largest denning site for polar bears and one of the top places in the world to see the Northern Lights—wow!
G is for Golden Boy: A Manitoba Alphabet by Larry Verstraete, illustrated by Brian Lund (Sleeping Bear Press, 2009) Ages 6-8
Where can one find a town nicknamed the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”? Or see more than 3,000 beluga whales? Or stand along a lakeshore and hear the sound of the Great Kitchie Manitou beating a huge drum? Visit the province of Manitoba in G is for Golden Boy: A Manitoba Alphabet and learn about these and other wonders, along with fascinating history and important facts. Readers can traverse northern Manitoba on the amazing Ice Roads, a 2,200-km network of temporary roads; attend a dogsled race at the Festival de Voyageur in St. Boniface; or take a trip back in time at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. From the A of Ancient Shores to the Z of the Z-dike, G is for Golden Boy showcases the history and natural wonders of Manitoba.
“Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing,” Nomi Nickel tells us at the beginning of A Complicated Kindness. Left alone with her sad, peculiar father, her days are spent piecing together why her mother and sister have disappeared and contemplating her inevitable career at Happy Family Farms, a chicken slaughterhouse on the outskirts of East Village. Not the East Village in New York City where Nomi would prefer to live, but an oppressive town founded by Mennonites on the cold, flat plains of Manitoba, Canada.
It’s 1941, and Canada is two years into World War II. Meanwhile, in rural Manitoba, 15-year-old Marie-Claire Cote begins a war of her own as she and her brother and sister, all stricken with tuberculosis, are taken by their anguished parents to “chase the cure” at nearby Pembina Hills Sanatorium. While her roommate retains a dogged cheerfulness that is both heroic and irritating, Marie-Claire resists with all of her prideful strength while she fights her own illness and tries to seek privacy where there is none. Her father, overwhelmed by fear and guilt, never visits. And her young brother, Luc, who is losing his battle with TB in another wing of the infirmary, sends notes to her penned for him by his 19-year-old roommate, Jack Hawkings. This is a story about surviving loss, and finding friendship, and love, in surprising places.
Find out more about Road Trip Reading Club at our website. Want to read along with us? Let us know how you’re doing or what your own Road Trip Reading looks like using the hashtag #RoadTripReadingClub. Also, be sure to enter our summer photography contest!
Stay tuned for our next stop, Saskatchewan!