Sunday, March 11, 2007

Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy

Books Completed: 33
Completion Date: February 28, 2007
Publication Year: 2000 (Reprint)
Pages: 176
Received from Random House in 2007
First Canadian Read Completed

Set in the prairies in the 1930s, and rich with the author’s own memories of her time there as a young woman, this is a powerful story of an impressionable and passionate young teacher and the pupils, from impoverished immigrant families, whose lives she touches. Children of My Heart bears unforgettable testimony to the healing power love exerts on the wounds of loneliness and poverty.
I am rather embarassed to say that this is the first time I have ever read Gabrielle Roy. At the beginning of the year I said that I was going to read all the books for the Canadian Reads for 2007, but I have not been making much progress. Then, at the end of February, I got this in the mail and I read it in a matter of hours. So, that is one of the books down, now to find time to read the others!

It is interesting to read historical fiction books of sorts about Canada. This book takes place in the Praires, the other side of the country than where I live, in the 1930s. It is an interesting look at a young teacher who has decided to be a teacher. The book is broken into small section and each section represents one of the early years of her teaching career. It is interesting that in the course of this book she does not make it out of her teens, but yet she teaches for a few years before it is over. It just shows you how different things were not even a hundred years than now. Most people are in their thirties before they have their careers all planned out.

The Praires are suffering in the '30's. Many of the children in her classes do not have very much money or are immigrants from other countries. She very realistically shows how hard it is to be a stranger in a new land, but she also shows how important it was for these parents to have a better future for their children. Education, no matter how little, was everything because parents wanted their children to at least have a better understanding of the world around them. With the early sections, most of the activity takes place in the classroom, but in the last section the teacher finds herself in a different situation with a student. She is not all that much older than him, and he is a considerable amount taller than her. In different situations it might have been a crush, but that would be unappropriate in this setting. Watching the teacher deal with this situation, though, showed me just how young she really was!

It is a very short piece of work, but I thought it was very well-written. I really like to read about my own country, and I do not read enough Candian authors anymore. I used to read a lot more, but reading tastes change I guess.

My special thanks to McClelland and Stewart (a division of Random House) for sending me this book!


This is the first time I have read this author, but I hope to read more!

Authors Gender:
Male: 6
Female: 27


  1. Sounds like a good read. My Dad is from the prairies and a couple of his aunts taught school around that time. I'll put it on my books to get.


    Btw, I reviewed The Birth House on my blog today. Another Canadian read.

  2. Hi Kailana, can you change the link to my blog? I sent you an e-mail, hope you got it!


  3. I've only read one of Gabrielle Roy's books, Where Nests the Water Hen, years ago in a Canadian Literature class. I remember that I enjoyed it but I don't remember much else about it. Perhaps I'll give Children of My Heart a go. I think I've got a biography of Roy on my bookshelves that I've never read that I ought to get to as well...

  4. A biography would be interesting.

  5. I love reading; this is a fascinating blog. Your planned book list is quite imnpressive.

  6. You are a reading machine!! Where are you anyway?? Did you finish American Gods?

  7. I know, I owe you an email. It's coming! And, no, I didn't, but I am close... I have just been sooo busy!

  8. Wow, it sounds like an inspirational read. I'm taking a class on teaching writing (althouh I don't plan on being a school teacher) and we're constantly discussing the role of a teacher, the impact he or she can have...

    I'll have to look into, "Children of My Heart."

    What brought me to your blog was a comment you made on someone else's site, in which you said you had moved Megan Whalen Turner's "Thief" books to your list of books to read. Have you been able to do so yet?

    I've just finished a re-read of "The Thief" and "The King Attolia" (the third is equally superb to the others, but it does serve as a rollercoaster to your emotions). Anyway, I'm curious to read your review, when you get around to reading them (if you haven't already). :)

  9. Hey! Thanks for stopping by! I actually bought a large amount of books at Christmas time with all my gift certificates, and when I started out I had "The Thief" ordered. I clicked order and then noticed it took something like 3-5 weeks to ship. I am an impatient person, so I cancelled the order, took that book off, and got something else instead. I did notice this passed week, though, that the book is available for regular delivery, and I intend to get it next time I order books. :)

  10. I intend to get [The Thief] next time I order books. :)

    That's exceleent. I'll have to check back for your eventual review. ^^


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