CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Marsha Hewitt and Claire Mackay.

Toronto, Women's Press, c1981.
159pp, paper, $6.95.
ISBN 0-88961-048-7.

Grades 7 and up.
Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Too often we take for granted rights and privileges won for us by those who fought to make the world a better place in which to live and work. Too often we fail to offer recognition and thanks where they are due, to the suffragettes, workers, and unionists who paid with their pain and privation for the comfort we enjoy. It is important that our young people learn, through such works as One Proud Summer, of their own proud heritage, and of the debt they owe and can only repay by taking thought for the welfare of generations yet to be born.

This fictionalized story of an actual event, the Valley field textile workers strike of 1946, is told from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Lucie Laplante, one of the downtrodden child millworkers whose dreary life seemed spelled out before her. But Lucie and her fellow workers, like their real-life counterparts, were brave and resolute enough to change all that. Valleyfield was but one engagement in a long and exhausting war that still continues. It is important that young readers understand the history of labour in Canada and the price paid in human suffering for the welfare of its workers. A brief historical note following the text of One Proud Summer spells out the historical events of the Valleyfield strike; the photographs included bring the now-distant event to vivid life. A resources list is appended. An absolute must for Canadian studies.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.
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