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Children's Fiction Post-confederation (1867-)

Belle of Batoche

by (author) Jacqueline Guest

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2004
Post-Confederation (1867-), General, Native Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2004
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2004
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Belle, an 11-year-old Metis girl, and Sarah both want the coveted job of church bell ringer.

An embroidery contest is held to award the position, and Sarah cheats. Before Belle can expose her, the two are caught up in the advancing forces of General Middleton and his troops as they surround Batoche in the 1885 Riel Rebellion. The church bell disappeared that day and remains missing to this day.

About the author

Award-winning author JACQUELINE GUEST is the author of numerous Lorimer novels, including the Arthur Ellis Award nominee Wild Ride and A Goal in Sight, which was shortlisted for a Golden Eagle Children's Choice Book Award. Many of her novels have also been Canadian Children's Centre Our Choice selections including the SideStreets novel At Risk, and the Sports Stories novels Hat Trick, Free Throw, and Soccer Star. Jacqueline Guest lives in Bragg Creek, Alberta.

Jacqueline Guest's profile page


  • Short-listed, Red Cedar nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice

Excerpt: Belle of Batoche (by (author) Jacqueline Guest)

Belle hadn't meant to stay so long. It must be after eight o'clock, way past breakfast. How was she going to explain? Suddenly Belle stopped, listening intently as an unfamiliar sound drifted to her on the early morning breeze. Then she recognized what it was. Gunfire! Batoche was under attack!

Editorial Reviews

"The book is both satisfying storytelling as well as a terrific history lesson."

CD Syndicated

"For many readers, Belle will serve as a role model with her bravery in the face of danger, her determination to succeed and her loyalty to family and friends. Readers will leave this book hoping for a sequel."

CM Magazine

"This book can be a starting point for a more in-depth look at the Metis settlement and the struggle which ensued or it can be read just for enjoyment."

Resource Links

"An extremely fine work of historical fiction."

"Highly recommended."

Canadian Book Review Annual

Librarian Reviews

Belle of Batoche

Belle is a young, day-dreaming Métis girl who lives with her family in the Métis settlement of Batoche. Her father and brother make their living by hauling freight with large wooden Red River carts. It is 1885 and most of the people in their community support Louis Riel and Gabrielle Dumont in their upcoming battle against the massive Canadian government forces. Belle and her spoiled, non-Métis rival Sarah compete to become the special ringer of the village’s beautiful new silver church bell. Shortly afterwards, Belle discovers that Sarah cheated to win. When the war breaks out, the bell is threatened and the two bitter opponents are thrown together in a life-or-death struggle to save their families. Based on historical fact, the story brings alive Métis culture, geography and history.

This book is one of the Orca Young Reader series and a Teacher’s Guide is available from the publisher. The author is Métis and lives in the foothills of Alberta.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

Other titles by Jacqueline Guest

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