November 18, 2021

Canadian Women Now and Then: Guest Review

This review was written by Elizabeth Cook.
Written by Elizabeth MacLeod
Illustrated by Maia Faddoul
Kids Can Press
80 pp.
Ages 9-12

I saw this book on a shelf and was interested to see who would be represented inside.  I am so glad I picked it up. Once I opened the cover, I couldn’t put it down. I love how this book is organized. Each double-page spread is organized by a theme such as doctors. One side of the page focuses on an important Canadian woman who spearheaded change in the past and the other side highlights a contemporary woman who continues to be inspirational or influential in their respective fields, hence, the “Now” and “Then” title for the book. This format will engage young readers to learn about the history of women in Canada, but also to find current connections to people they may hear about in the news. The range of vocations selected for this book is excellent. The book highlights women in the roles of culture keepers, activists, Paralympians, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, military members, and so much more.  
From Canadian Women Now and Then by Elizabeth MacLeod, illus. by Maia Faddoul
Elizabeth MacLeod has kept the text brief for each entry. Trying to narrow down the amazing lives of these women must have been a daunting task. Each featured woman has about three to five paragraphs devoted to explaining their lives and achievements. The text is engaging and it kept me reading such that that I completed the book in one sitting. I was drawn in by the stories of these women. Each person is highlighted to show their significance and it sparked my curiosity to do more research on my own. Knowing that every woman who has helped to pave the way for future generations could not be included in the “Then” sections, Elizabeth MacLeod added a text box that features more amazing women with brief notes about their historic roles, thereby offering another great starting point for a reader to conduct further research on that topic. The book also includes a brief timeline of significant events for women throughout history in Canada. I am sure many children will also choose to go forward to research many wonderful Canadian women or events represented in this book. Moreover, Elizabeth MacLeod included quotes from the women showcased and these really spoke to me and I am sure they will inspire young readers to be brave and bold in their lives too. 
The artistry in the portraits done by Maia Faddoul is beautiful. The style of the portraits of the women is simple but realistic. Because the pages are dominated by text and white space, Maia Faddoul's artwork really draws your eyes. I also really love the colour palette used throughout the book, for headings, borders and in the portraits. The colours are rich but muted. Because of a lack of bright primary colours, the book feels more significant.

I am excited to add this book to my school library collection. The many contributions of women throughout history have often been ignored and are largely underrepresented in our books on the shelves. I am glad that all students will be able to learn about the fabulous women that have helped shape Canada and that these women will now be represented in  library collections everywhere.

~Elizabeth Cook is a teacher-librarian in the Halton District School Board. She is an avid reader and fan of Canadian literature. 

1 comment:

  1. I recall reading a similar book as a child and loving it. It gave me some life long heroes/role modals