________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 18 . . . . January 16, 2015


Stephen Harper. (Canadian Prime Ministers).

Anita Yasuda.
Calgary, AB: Weigl Educational Publishers, 2015.
24 pp., pbk., hc. & ebook, $11.95 (pbk.), $23.95 (RLB), $34.95 (ebook).
ISBN 978-1-4872-0168-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4872-0167-8 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4872-0169-2 (ebook).

Subject Headings:
Harper, Stephen, 1959- -Juvenile literature.
Canada-Politics and government-2006- -Juvenile literature.
Prime ministers-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Ian Stewart.

*** /4



On February 6, 2006, Stephen Harper became the 22nd Canadian Prime Minister when his Conservative Party of Canada won the right to form a minority government in Canada. Harper was only 46 at the time of his election. This made him the fifth-youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history. After taking office, Harper promised that his Conservative government would bring in a new era of accountability.

Harper had been involved in politics for a long time before he became prime minister. As early as high school, he had shown a keen interest in politics. This interest led him from the Liberal Party to the Progressive Conservative Party, to the creation of the Reform Party and Canadian Alliance Party. His journey through Canada's political landscape gave him insight into the actions and ideas that make this country work.

This introductory biography of Canada's 22nd prime minister achieves four primary goals: it provides students with a succinct outline of Stephen Harper's life, introduces them to the inner workings of political parties, acquaints them with Canada's electoral process and offers suggestions on biographical writing.

      Stephen Harper was born, in 1959, in Toronto. He spent his early life in southern Ontario. Readers learn that he was a good student who became interested in politics in high school and became a member of the Young Liberals Club. After graduation, he attended the University of Toronto for a short time but moved to Alberta and worked in the oil fields. In 1981, he began studying economics at the University of Alberta and became active in the Progressive Conservative Party.

      In 1986, Harper became the new conservative Reform Party's chief policy officer and was soon elected to Canada's parliament. In 2002, he became leader of the Canadian Alliance Party and, when the Progressive Conservative Party and the Alliance Party merged, he became the leader of the new Conservative Party in 2004 and Prime Minister in 2008. Stephen Harper, readers learn, believes in small government and focusing on only a few things at a time. This is expressed in his comment, "I believe it's better to light one candle than to promise a million light bulbs."

      The text, however, does not only portray Stephen Harper as merely a "political animal" as he and other politicians are often characterized. He is humanized by the interesting facts readers learn: he is an avid hockey fan who has published a book, A Great Game; he belongs to a band called Herringbone; likes a 1960s rock band known as The Beatles; the Harper family loves animals, supports the Ontario Humane Society and has fostered over 200 cats.

      This biography, as well as the others in the "Canadian Prime Minister" series, will help students in understanding the lives and beliefs of our prime ministers and would be a worthwhile addition to school libraries and classrooms.


Ian Stewart teaches at Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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