Li’l Shadd: A Story of Ujima
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 2 February 2016

Li’l Shadd: A Story of Ujima by Miriam Körner and Alix Lwanga, illustrated by Miriam Körner Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $29.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-48-5 Saskatchewan’s history is so multi-culturally rich that there are, admittedly, elements of it that I’ve scarcely even considered. Take, for example, the first African-Canadian pioneers, including the trail-blazing Dr. Alfred Schmitz Shadd (d.1915), for whom two Melfort streets and a northern Saskatchewan lake are named. Dr. Shadd shared an affinity with First Nations’ folks, “due to the similarity of their experiences with colonization and racism,” and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum – with the assistance of other funders and sponsors – has brought just one of Shadd’s success stories to light in the delightfully-illustrated children’s book, Li’l Shadd: A Story of Ujima. The title character, Li’l Shadd, represents Garrison Shadd, the real-life son of the good Dr. Shadd, who’s also recognized for his work as a politician, teacher, farmer, journalist and friend. Garrison was actually five years old when his pioneering father died, so the story itself is slightly fictionalized. The plot concerns the child accompanying his father (via horse-drawn wagon) to tend to the baby girl of a…

Bread to Share, Volume 1
Three West Two South Books / 2 February 2016

Bread to Share . . . Stories about Saskatchewan’s early Lutheran pastors and their wives by Lois Knudson Munholland Published by Three West Two South Books Review by Keith Foster $30 ISBN 0-9735234-1-7 A sequel and companion volume to Pulpits of the Past, Bread to Share is a compilation of stories of Saskatchewan’s early Lutheran pastors and their wives. What sets this book apart is the prominence of the pastors’ wives and their families who are often relegated to secondary roles or neglected entirely in many church histories. The pastors are listed alphabetically by surname. After relating the experiences of the ministers, Knudson Munholland devotes space to their wives, lists the names of their family members, and provides references. Sources include interviews as well as history books. Although Knudson Munholland focuses on Saskatchewan, she also touches on other parts of Canada and the United States as pastors often transferred to various locations. Indeed, one pastor virtually toured Saskatchewan as he constantly relocated throughout the province. One of the strengths of Bread to Share is Knudson Munholland’s descriptions of the hardships pastors and their wives had to endure. During the Dirty Thirties, spouse Christine Stollee would routinely place dishes upside down…

Little Washer of Sorrows, The
Thistledown Press / 2 February 2016

The Little Washer of Sorrows by Katherine Fawcett Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 978-1-77187-049-8 This fall I heard a new writer present at the Whistler Writers Festival and I was so enchanted by her story I requested the book (The Little Washer of Sorrows) for review. I expected I’d be in for an entertaining read, but I couldn’t have guessed what a veritable fun house this short story collection would prove to be. You dive in and at first things seem normal. Characters are realistically portrayed, their situations fathomable, then metaphorical distorting mirrors kick in. Sometimes you laugh out loud, sometimes you recoil as the lines between fantasy and reality are cleverly blurred. Welcome to the estimable fictional world of Pemberton BC writer Katherine Fawcett. She’s an original, beginning with her comic dedication to her parents, who “did not ruin [her] life after all”. And here’s the first line of the book (from “Captcha”): “The day I discovered my true nature began like any other day: I woke up, gave Pete a blowjob, and went downstairs to fry up a pan of bacon.” Who is not going to want to continue? It’s Fawcett’s playful…

Frontier Farewell, Second Edition
University of Regina Press / 2 February 2016

Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West by Garrett Wilson Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $34.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-361-5 You can gauge the importance of a book when it is released as a new edition. There’s a reason some books go into a second printing – the demand for more copies is just too great. Back by popular demand, a second edition of Garrett Wilson’s Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West, with a new foreword by Candace Savage, has been released. As the subtitle suggests, Frontier Farewell focuses on the 1870s. In a single generation, the face of the West was transformed forever. Rupert’s Land was transferred from the Hudson’s Bay Company to the new Dominion of Canada, leading to the First Riel Rebellion at Fort Garry, treaties with the Aboriginal inhabitants in the West, surveys along the International Boundary, the formation of the North-West Mounted Police, and side effects from the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Wilson covers it all. Frontier Farewell is rife with political intrigue. American activists in Minnesota and Dakota Territory coveted the vast territory to their north and wanted to add…