Dear Canada: A step back in time


Brothers Far from Home

All Fall Down
The Landslide Diary of Abby Roberts

By Jean Little

ISBN: 978-1-4431-1919-1 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4431-2897-1 Ebook
220 pages | Ages 9-12 | 5.56" x 7.66"

A young girl survives the deadliest natural disaster in Canadian history — but a family secret could call into question everything she thought she knew about her life before the tragedy.

After her father dies, Abby and her family move west to live with relatives who run a hotel in the mining town of Frank, Alberta. Abby keeps busy helping out at the hotel, being chief caregiver to her little brother with Down Syndrome, and learning Morse code at the telegraph office.

When the devastating Frank Slide buries much of the town, Abby must do all she can to help. But a long-buried family secret emerged just before the disaster — and now she will have to wait for the dust to settle before getting the answers she so desperately wants.

Inspired by two of her own relatives, one who helped run a telegraph office in the late 1800s and another who shares Abby's story (and her family secret), Jean Little crafts a compelling story rich with emotion and historical detail.

Read an excerpt

From Abby's diary:

Thursday night, April 30, 1903

I don’t know how long we stayed there, frozen, not knowing what we were supposed to do. It felt like an hour but I suppose it was only minutes. Then I carried Davy out into the hall. Uncle Martin was there, hopping on one foot while he pulled on his trousers. I stared at him but he didn’t explain. He just ordered me to go and see if there was a telegraph message coming in. I turned to the door and reached for the handle.

"Don’t go out there, Abby!" Bird screamed, clutching at me. "You’ll be killed!"

I shifted Davy so I could hold him with one arm, then I pulled the big door open a crack. I stood staring out into the darkness. Except it wasn’t all dark. I peered out but what I saw made no sense. I felt as though I were sleepwalking and in a strange place I had never been.

My arms shook and I was afraid I would drop Davy, so I put him down on the floor. Then I just stood, waiting for someone to tell me what to do.

The air was filling with dust — gritty dust that smelled of smoke. I blinked hard, but I could not see anything clearly in the darkness.

Then Uncle Martin grabbed my shoulders and yanked me away from the door into the hall. His fingers had a grip like iron. I was already off balance so I toppled over backwards and landed half on top of Davy, sprawled on the floor.

It is still hard to even write this.

Inside me, a voice kept saying, "He was right." And I knew "he" was Bird’s grandfather. The mountain had walked, just as he had said it would. And it had walked right over Frank.

From Dear Canada: All Fall Down, copyright © 2014 by Jean Little.