Kids books explore city’s restoration
Devastating event killed nearly 2,000 100 years ago
A fresh generation of children’s books is finding the grace notes in Halifax’s worst moment — a massive explosion that levelled much of the city 100 years ago but inspired acts of kindness that still resonate.
The books vary on how closely they approach the widespread injury and nearly 2,000 deaths that resulted from the massive Halifax Explosion of Dec. 6, 1917, when a French munitions ship collided with a Belgian relief vessel in the city’s wartime harbour.
Still, as hurricanes and earthquakes batter communities around the globe, the retelling of Halifax’s time of trial tend to come together in their desire to find hope amidst the floods and rubble.
“I didn’t want to dwell on the destruction, but more on the help that people gave,” said Marijke Simons, author of The Flying Squirrel Stowaways: from Nova Scotia to Boston (Nimbus), one of two picture books for young children that recall how Boston residents rushed north in a train to assist.
Other books deal with the experiences of a Halifax newsboy, and of an orphaned girl who loses her family.
The Christmas tree given each year as a gift by Halifax to its southern neighbour is a key theme for Simons as well as for illustrator Belle DeMont and her father John DeMont in their book The Little Tree by the Sea: From Halifax to Boston with love (Nimbus).
U.S. aUthor GeorGe SaUnderS favoUrite to win Man Booker Prize American author George Saunders is favoured to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction with his novel of the afterlife, Lincoln in the Bardo, according to British bookmakers. Bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill made Saunders the front-runner among six finalists announced Wednesday for the $66,000 US prize. His novel is set in a Washington graveyard, where President Abraham Lincoln visits the body of his 11-year-old son in 1862. Three British and three American authors make up the finalists. They range from 29-year-old first-time novelist Fiona Mozley to 70-year old New York icon Paul Auster.
a massive explosion levelled halifax in 1917.