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Children's Nonfiction General

Meet Mary Ann Shadd (Scholastic Canada Biography)

by (author) Elizabeth MacLeod

illustrated by Mike Deas

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
General, General, Social Activists
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 10
  • Grade: 1 to 4


Meet Mary Ann Shadd: anti-slavery activist, newspaper publisher, and social justice pioneer!


The award-winning Scholastic Canada Biography series highlights the lives of remarkable Canadians whose achievements have inspired and changed the lives of those who followed.

Mary Ann Shadd was born free in 1823 in Delaware. Her parents were abolitionists, and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad. Her family moved to Canada in 1851 after the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted, and as a young woman, Shadd became a trailblazer in every realm she touched — opening a desegregated school in Chatham, Ontario; becoming the first Black female newspaper publisher in North America with the Provincial Freeman; becoming a suffrage activist; and at the age of 60 earning a law degree to become one of the first Black women to practice law!

Mary Ann was truly remarkable, for her time or any other, unafraid to speak up and fight for equal rights — for Black people, for women and for everybody.

Written by award-winning author Elizabeth MacLeod, this portrait of Mary Ann Shadd couples simple yet compelling writing with comic-flavoured illustrations by Mike Deas that help bring her fascinating story to life!

About the authors

Liz is one nosy author, which is why she loves writing non-fiction. She’s very curious about why people do what they do, and likes sharing with kids the amazing facts and secrets that she uncovers.As a kid in Thornhill, Ontario, the idea of being a writer never crossed Liz’s mind—she figured most authors were already dead and they definitely weren’t Canadian. Besides, it was science that interested Liz.But writing was already part of Liz’s life. After dinner on school nights, Liz and her two brothers would trudge up to their rooms, close their doors and start to do their homework—or so their parents thought. A few minutes later, a piece of paper would come sliding under Liz’s door. One of her brothers had drawn a picture, usually of some weird creature.Liz really couldn’t draw (still can’t!), so the only way she could respond was to write a short story, often about a mad scientist or space alien. She would slip the story under her brother’s door and—well, not a lot of homework got done.At university, Liz studied sciences—there was hardly any writing involved at all. But after university, she was hired as an editor at OWL magazine, where she could combine writing and her love of science. But it wasn’t long before Liz had a goal: to write a book. Her first one was about lions and since then she’s written more than fifty others.Royal Murder: The Deadly Intrigue of Ten Sovereigns (2008) is one of her favourite books because royalty has always fascinated Liz. She loved going behind the scenes with monarchs from Cleopatra to Dracula to find out just what they would do to hold onto power or protect their families.Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries (2013) was the winner of numerous awards, including the Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis Award in the Juvenile/YA category. Liz’s latest book with Annick Press, Galloping Through History: Incredible True Horse Stories (Spring 2015), combines, once again, her outstanding storytelling skills with her passion for history. This time her love of animals also shines through as she recounts the stories of six horses that changed the way humans live, travel, fight, work, and play.Liz lives in Toronto with her husband, Paul, and their cat Cosimo. While she writes, he is usually sprawled across her desk—often right on the book she needs for research!

Elizabeth MacLeod's profile page


Mike Deas est auteur-illustrateur de bandes dessinées, telles que Tank and Fizz and The Case of the Tentacle Terror. Il signe aussi les illustrations de la série Graphic Guide Adventure. Sa passion pour l'illustration a été entretenue tout au long de son enfance à l'île Saltspring, en Colombie-Britannique où il habite encore aujourd'hui.


MIKE DEAS is an author/illustrator of graphic novels, most recently Tank and Fizz and the Case of the Tentacle Terror. He is the illustrator of the Graphic Guide Adventure series. His love for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Visit him online at

Mike Deas' profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets: Honourable Mention

Editorial Reviews

Meet Mary Ann Shadd, the ninth Scholastic Canada Biography written by Elizabeth MacLeod, is informative and engaging. MacLeod weaves the turbulent events of Shadd’s life into a rousing story that kids aren’t likely to forget; Shadd fought racism and sexism, and was even chased out of Canada because of her work as a suffragette. Mike Deas’s illustrations are bright and arresting, with a comic-book style that makes the biography accessible to a wide range of ages, regardless of reading level. The final pages offer a timeline of events and feature the only surviving photograph of the real Shadd, providing valuable information that will enable interested readers to learn even more about her life. Starred review. (Meet Mary Ann Shad) — Quill & Quire

"I've always appreciated the impact of Elizabeth MacLeod and Mike Deas's Scholastic Canada Biography series (there are now nine titles) in introducing young readers to important historical figures. But, with Meet Mary Ann Shadd, readers will get more than just a name and a story. From now on, whether it’s Black History Month or not, young readers will remember a powerhouse of a woman who defied the times to make better the lives of Black people with herself as a shining example." (Meet Mary Ann Shad) — CanLit for Little Canadians

Praise for Meet Elsie MacGill:

“Elizabeth MacLeod has written an outstanding book. The language is flowing and exciting, and there are speech and thought bubbles that add humour and break up the text making the information easier to absorb . . . The illustrations by Mike Deas are as strong and beautiful as the story.” (Meet Elsie MacGill) — ​​​​​​​ CM: Canadian Review of Materials, 5/5 stars

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