Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
The incredible sacrifices made by Chinese workers building the transcontinental railway are revealed in this powerful novel.
Heen's father and grandfather have brought their family in China to the brink of ruin with their gambling habits. To solve their money troubles, Heen and his father come to Canada to build the railway - a decision plagued by disaster.
The living conditions provided for workers are wretched and work on the railway is excruciating. Transporting tons of gravel and working in tunnels about to be dynamited proves to be deadly for many of his co-workers. Soon the friction between the Chinese workers and the whites, who barely acknowledge these deaths, reaches a fevered pitch. As an added stress, Heen's father has found some men to gamble with, which puts all of their earnings at risk.
Heen's only solace is his journal, where his chilling observations of the injustice and peril heaped upon the workers serve as an important testament to this dramatic era in Canadian history.
About the author
Paul Yee is one of Canada's finest writers for children. He was raised in Vancouver and has worked in the archives at the Vancouver Museum. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature for Ghost Train. He now lives in Toronto.
Ghost Trainbr> Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award 1996br> Winner of the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award 1997br> Finalist for the Toronto IODE Book Award 1997
The Bone Collector's Sonbr> Winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award 2004br> Finalist for the Rocky Mountain Book Award 2006br> Finalist for the Stellar Book Award (BC Teen Readers' Choice Award) 2005-6br> Chosen as Best of 2004, Resource Links.ca
Bamboobr> Finalist for the Chocolate Lily Award 2007 (BC Readers' Choice Award)br> Chosen as Best of 2006, Resource Links
The Jade Necklacebr> Finalist for the Mr. Christie's Book Award 2002
- Commended, IODE Canada Violet Downey Recommended List
Priase for I Am Canada
"... the chief characters are eminently likeable and quietly heroic, and their tales utterly engrossing." -The Globe and Mail
Other titles by Paul Yee
Shu-Li and the Magic Pear Tree
Dear Canada: Hoping for Home
Stories of Arrival
The Bone Collector's Son
A Superior Man
Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts
A Literary Cookbook
Au Canada : De fer et de sang
La construction du chemin de fer canadien, Lee Heen-gwon, Colombie-Britannique, 1882
Cher Journal : Terre d'accueil, terre d'espoir