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category: Children's Fiction
published: Sep 2020
publisher: Ronsdale Press


by Glen Huser

tagged: post-confederation (1867-)

Firebird explores a period in our history - one year in particular (1915-1916) - when a massive number of newcomers were deemed "enemy aliens," arrested and put into internment camps set up all across Canada. Alex Kaminsky, a fourteen-year-old Ukrainian immigrant boy, suffers burns to his hands and face when his uncle's farmhouse burns down. Rescued by a neighbour, he is tended to by a backcountry midwife before being taken in by a local postmaster. Determined to search for his older brother, an itinerant farm worker (and talented artist) who has disappeared, Alex follows Marco's trail from a Vegreville farm to Edmonton. From there he is on the run from officials to Calgary and finally Banff, where he finds his brother close to death in the Castle Mountain Internment Camp. In many ways it is a voyage of discovery for Alex, discovery of the hatred harboured by many for immigrants who once lived happy lives in what has become an enemy empire. But also the discovery of those with a strong sense of humanity who decry Marco's treatment and go the extra mile to help the brothers. For readers who believe such internment camps began only with Japanese Canadians in WWII, Firebird will be an eye-opening experience.

About the Author

Glen Huser’s novels include Touch of the Clown (shortlisted for the Mr. Christie’s Book Award), Stitches (winner of the Governor General’s Award) and Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen (nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award). A former teacher-librarian in Edmonton, Glen has taught writing for children at the University of British Columbia. He recently explored his passion for musical theater in Time for Flowers, Time for Snow and The Golden Touch, picture-book retellings of the myths of Demeter and Persephone, and King Midas, respectively.

Contributor Notes

GLEN HUSER's novels for young readers have won a number of awards. Touch of the Clown was a Mr. Christie Silver Award winner; Stitches won Canada's Governor General's Award for Children's Literature in 2003; and Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen received a Governor General's Silver Medal in 2007. A teacher and librarian for most of his life in Edmonton, he currently lives in Vancouver. Visit Glen at www.glenhuser.com.

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