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Tenth Pupil, The
By (author): Constance Horne
9780921870869 Paperback, Trade English JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / General Sep 16, 2001
$8.95 CAD
Active 5.25 x 7.63 x 0.44 in 160 pages Ronsdale Press
The Tenth Pupil, for readers eight to fourteen, is set in a small logging camp on Vancouver Island in 1934. Eleven-year-old Trudy Paige enjoys her life in Mellor's Camp. She has a loving family, a shaggy dog, friends, a swimming hole, a fishing stream, books to read, wild animals to lend a touch of danger, and a friend in Vancouver to visit. She especially enjoys school, until the government threatens to close the school because there are only nine children, and ten are legally required if the government is to fund the school. Unexpectedly, Shigi, a Japanese boy, becomes the tenth pupil. Trudy is delighted, but other people in the camp are not pleased and Trudy discovers a dark side to life. Over the school year, she witnesses several incidents of prejudice against the Japanese, including a frightening riot in Little Tokyo in Vancouver. Trudy is faced with a dilemma: should she succumb to the prejudice in the camp in order to fit in or should she defy them all and continue to be Shigi's friend? This historical novel for young adults offers a taste of logging camp life just at the time when railway logging was giving way to truck logging, and when children were still used to beat out the sparks from the locomotives. Horne offers an insightful account of racism in the pre-WWII period, but does so while giving both the Japanese-Canadian and Euro-Canadian points of view.

Constance Horne was born in Winnipeg and has lived and travelled in many parts of Canada. While she was a teacher, she developed a keen interest in Canada's past and set out to write historical fiction which would introduce young people to the country's history. Horne has published six previous books for young adults: Nykola and Granny (Gage, 1989), The Jo Boy Deserts (Pacific Educational, 1992), Trapped by Coal (Pacific Educational, 1994), Emily Carr's Woo (Oolichan, 1995), The Accidental Orphan (Beach Holme, 1998), and Lost in the Blizzard (Hodgepog, 1999). She also contributed a story to the young adult historical anthology Beginnings: Stories of Canada's Past (Ronsdale, 2001). She now lives with her husband in Victoria and writes full time.

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