CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 15. . . .December 16, 2017
Abigail, 10, lives with her family in the community of Birchtown, NS. There are many things to celebrate and look forward to, like the coming of spring after a long winter, and the arrival of her Aunt Dinah's new baby. Abigail longs for a beautiful new dress to wear to celebrate the baby's birth, but life isn't easy in Birchtown, and many things, like new clothes, are luxuries that seem to always be just out of reach. There's little work for the residents of Birchtown, and some are even starving. Still, Abigail never loses hope, and with the help of kind neighbours, her dream of a new dress finally comes true.
According to the text, Abigail's Wish is the first picture book set in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, the largest community of Black Loyalist settlers in Canada. The book refers to the American Revolution and notes that Abigail and her family left New York in 1783 on a ship bound for a Shelbourne, NS, but doesn't go into any further detail. Readers outside of Nova Scotia might be less familiar with the history of Birchtown, and a brief historical note could be a worthwhile addition to future editions.
A longer picture book text, Abigail's Wish is perhaps best suited to older readers. It could be a fine addition to a school library, though teachers wanting to use Abigail's Wish in the classroom should consider supplementing it with additional historical resources to provide background and context.
Celebrating a pioneering Canadian community, Abigail's Wish is a worthy addition to any Canadian library collection.
Jane Whittingham is a public librarian in Vancouver, BC.
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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.