Scholastic Canada: I Am Canada

Adventure. Duty. Danger. Fear. I Am Canada

I Am Canada:
Blood and Iron

By Paul Yee
978-0-545-98593-2 HC
978-1-443-11926-9 EBK

234 pages
Ages 9 - 12 | 4 3/8" x 6 1/2"

Congratulations to PAUL YEE, Winner of the 2012 Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature!

Heen's father and grandfather have brought their family in China to the brink of ruin with their gambling habits. To solve their money troubles, Heen and his father come to Canada to build the railway — a decision plagued by disaster.

The living conditions provided for workers are wretched and work on the railway is excruciating. Transporting tons of gravel and working in tunnels about to be dynamited proves to be deadly for many of his co-workers. Soon the friction between the Chinese workers and the whites, who barely acknowledge these deaths, reaches a fevered pitch. As an added stress, Heen's father has found some men to gamble with, which puts all of their earnings at risk.

Heen's only solace is his journal, where his chilling observations of the injustice and peril heaped upon the workers serve as an important testament to this dramatic era in Canadian history. Some 17,000 Chinese workers came to B.C. during the early 1880s; though not all stayed for the railway's entire construction, they formed three-quarters of the workforce.

"... history come(s) alive through an expert mix of fact and fiction."
-Quill & Quire, starred review

“…the chief characters are eminently likeable and quietly heroic, and their tales utterly engrossing.”
-The Globe and Mail