CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Adams, Joan and Becky Thomas.

Madeira Park (B.C.), Harbour Publishing, c1985. 151pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-920080-69-3. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Gerri Young

Volume 14 Number 5
1986 September

An adventurous life, laced with dangers, inconveniences, and humour, has been the lot of one-room school teachers in the wilds of British Columbia since 1850. The authors, themselves former teachers, interviewed over one hundred people, teachers and students, and then organized this early education information into an interesting history of British Columbia's smallest schools.

These one-room boxes, whether an abandoned barn or log cabin, became vital to their communities, but the young teachers, suddenly thrust into these vast wilderness areas, suffered extreme culture shock. Today, "in search of an acceptable level of challenge, discomfort, and culture shock... young teachers take their summer holidays in places like the Himalayas or Tuktoyak-tuk," or, as in my district, in Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Floating Schools and Frozen Inkwells is similar to The One-Room School in Canada, by Jean Cochrane. However, Floating Schools has more text and is exclusively about British Columbian schools. The strap has not been used in the province's schools since 1973, and it is of interest to learn that it was a single incident in a one-room school that brought about the strap's removal. Many hardships were suffered by the young educators, and in the late twenties a teacher's welfare officer was appointed. Miss Bowron, from Barkerville, was the first tireless-traveller who took solace and wisdom to lonely teachers. Throughout the book there are many stories of unique schools, special situations, romances, feelings of loneliness, frights, and small town idiosyncrasies.

There seems to be an historical error concerning the Peace River area in 1936. It is stated, "Large numbers of homesteaders had arrived in that area after the Harl Highway and the railway made it accessible to the south of the province." The Hart Highway was not opened until 1952 and the P.G.E. did not get there until about 1960.

Floating Schools and Frozen Inkwells is a welcome addition to British Columbia's history shelves arid will appeal to many, especially any teachers, past or present. Black-and-white photos and index included.

Gerri Young, Fort Nelson, B.C.

*Reviewed vol. X/2 1982 p. 95.

line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works