Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb, a Proud Chinese Canadian


32 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-895642-24-8
DDC 971.064'2'092






Illustrations by Frank Hsu and Ian Leventha
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Jean Lumb was born in British Columbia in 1919. Despite being born in
Canada, for the first half of her life Lamb was not considered a
Canadian citizen by her own government. Lumb was forced to attend a
school separate from white children. Canadian-born Chinese were also not
allowed to vote and were barred, by law, from becoming doctors,
teachers, or pharmacists. At 12, Lumb was forced to leave school to work
in the family grocery store: her family needed to make enough money to
allow her brothers to finish school. Despite these obstacles, Lumb would
eventually become a successful businessperson, a community leader, and
an activist for equality. In 1957, she successfully lobbied Prime
Minister John Diefenbaker into striking down Canada’s racist
immigration laws; in 1976, she received the Order of Canada for her
service to the country that once denied her citizenship.

Jean Lumb is a real-life hero. Unfortunately, her exceptional story is
let down by this book’s lacklustre text and amateurish layout. All
events, big and small, seem to be of equal importance to the author.
Just as unfocused as the text are the randomly placed sidebars and
photos. This is a remarkable story, unremarkably told. Not a
first-choice purchase.


Chan, Arlene., “Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb, a Proud Chinese Canadian,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19254.