169 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920541-09-7





Edited by The Manitoba Multicultural Anthology Committee
Reviewed by Adele Ashby

Adele Ashby was the former editor of Canadian Materials for Schools and Libraries.


The Manitoba Multicultural Anthology Committee, with members drawn from the province’s educational, multicultural, writing, and publishing associations, put out a call for submissions of stories and poetry to writers throughout the province. From hundreds of manuscripts, a number were selected to produce a package that would help students understand the social concept of multiculturalism and enhance their appreciation of other cultures, which is important for the positive development of a pluralistic society. The package, A Multicultural Anthology for Young Readers, is divided into Pieces (for grades K-4), Of the Jigsaw (for grades 5-8), and Puzzle (for grades 9-12) and is intended for use in the English-language language arts program. The selections, drawn from Native, Ukrainian, Icelandic, Jewish, Mennonite, East Indian and other cultures, fit together, as the three titles imply, to provide a sense of the province’s cultural heritage as a whole. The contents of anthologies such as these often vary considerably in terms of quality. Here, however, the quality of the writing is generally quite high: “Show and Tell,” “A Seder to Remember,” and “Jackie and John” in Pieces; “Images of Childhood,” “No Flour in the Barrel,” and “The Bequest” in Of the Jigsaw; and “A Thousand Dollars for John,” “The Jigsaw Puzzle,” and “Pluck” in Puzzle. The submissions from the Native tradition tend to reflect its preoccupation with living in harmony with nature, while those from the immigrant cultures are often recollections of childhood or beginnings in the new land.

The contents of the volumes are not, unfortunately, always suitable for their intended audience (especially true in Pieces), and the uniform design using large print may be attractive to students in the early grades but may be off-putting to those in the later ones. There is no information on the authors. Notwithstanding these caveats, the package should be purchased by school and public libraries right across Canada.


“Puzzle,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35153.