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Children's Nonfiction General

Pier 21

Stories from Near and Far

by (author) Anne Renaud

Whitecap Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2015
General, Military & Wars, Emigration & Immigration
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


From 1928 to 1971, a cavernous, shed-like building stood on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, greeting newcomers while bidding farewell to its own. Located in Halifax Harbour, Pier 21 was the first part of Canada visited by immigrants travelling from the East, and the last view of home for Canadians departing for Europe. To all Canadians, it was an iconic landmark that stood for something more than itself during a period of turmoil and change.

In Pier 21, Anne Renaud sheds light on an experience shared by so many. In clear easy-to-read language, she chronicles the diversity of the immigrant experience and gives voice to those whose accounts might have otherwise been lost forever. Over the course of nearly half a century, Pier 21 welcomed more than one million immigrants, just as it saw nearly 500,000 service personnel off during World War II. Renaud records a wide range of experiences across different ages and backgrounds, exploring issues of prejudice, hope and uncertainty. Pier 21 reproduces the accounts of home children and guest children, soldiers and war brides, refugees and displaced persons-all carried to and from its doors by great ocean liners, military ships and small sailing vessels.

Filled with historic photos and educational sidebars, Pier 21 is a perfect lens through which to view Canada's evolving identity in the 20th century, and to understand the people who helped define it.

About the author

Anne Renaud is a life-long Quebecker and is the author of several picture books, as well as historical non-fiction books for children, including: The Extraordinary Life of Anna Swan (CBU Press), A Bloom of Friendship: The Story of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Island of Hope and Sorrow: The Story of Grosse Île, and Into the Mist: The Story of the Empress of Ireland. An expanded edition of Pier 21: Stories from Near and Far, first published in 2008, is forthcoming from CBU Press. Anne’s work has been nominated for several awards, including the Silver Birch Award, the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award, the Red Cedar Book Award and the Red Maple Award. The Extraordinary Life of Anna Swan ( for CBU Press, 2013) was shortlistedthe Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children's & Young Adult Literature. Anne is also a regular contributor to children’s magazines, such as Highlights, Pockets, Cricket, Odyssey, Faces, Clubhouse and Shine. She hopes her books educate, entertain and inspire children.

Anne Renaud's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"It will be a great addition to Canadian social studies programs and should serve as a springboard for further research into the multicultural nature of Canada's present population. I would recommend this book for all school and public libraries."
Resource Links

"Readers learning about Canadian immigration and both World Wars will be impressed with the excellent research that went into the production of this chronicle. The timeline simplifies the events, and the lexicon explains the terms of the era. Splashed throughout the book are "History Notes" which offer further details on the featured topics. Canadian history comes alive with the personal stories of immigrants, home children, military troops, guest children and war brides. The combination of drawings and black and white photos, newspaper headlines, and artifacts like passenger lists and war medals directs the reader towards a deeper appreciation of that era of hope. . . The contents of Pier 21 are a must-read for any Canadian history student. If only all accounts of our rich history could be presented in such an excellent, informative arrangement, Canadians would have a greater appreciation for our colourful past.
Highly Recommended."
CM Magazine

Other titles by Anne Renaud