The Kids Book of Black Canadian History


56 pages
Contains Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55074-892-0
DDC j305.896'071





Illustrations by Wang Qijun
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University. She is the author of several books, including The
Mountain Is Moving: Japanese Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret
Laurence: The Long Journey Home.


This lively pictorial reference work traces the history of blacks in
Canada from the first person, who arrived about 400 years ago; through
the period of slavery in Canada, the black Loyalists, and the
Underground Railroad; to their lengthy struggle against oppression and
for respect fought in the 20th century. It explores the important roles
that black Canadians have played in Canada’s history and profiles many
of those who have made significant contributions, such as inventor
Elijah McCoy (who invented “the real McCoy,” an oiling device that
revolutionized the industrial machine industry), editor and publisher
Mary Ann Shadd (who was the first woman in North America to start and
run a newspaper), and even “the world’s fastest man,” Olympic
double gold-medal winner Donovan Bailey.

Some of the history makes for difficult reading because of its strong
emotional impact, such as details of the slave trade and the punishments
meted out to runaway slaves. But there are also triumphs and
celebrations and inspiring stories.

The book has a large format and an excellent layout. Interspersed
throughout the easy-to-read text are Wang Qijun’s lively and dramatic
illustrations of historical scenes and the people profiled. Set off from
the text are coloured boxes titled “Profile” and “Did You Know?”
highlighting important people and interesting facts. Colourful maps, a
timeline, and an index are included.

The Kids Book of Black Canadian History is one of the best history
books for preteens that I have seen. But I suspect readers of any age
will be intrigued by this well-researched work. Highly recommended.


Sadlier, Rosemary., “The Kids Book of Black Canadian History,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,