CM April 5, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 25

image Her Story II:
Women from Canada's Past.

Susan E. Merritt.
St. Catherine's, ON: Vanwell Publishing, 1995. 172pp, paper, $14.95.
ISBN: 1-55125-022-5.

Subject Headings:
Women-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Women-Canada-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5 - 10 / Ages 10 - 15.
Review by Catherine Cox.


Her Story: Women from Canada's Past, Susan Merritt's first book in this sequence, was named a Canadian Library Association Notable Book for 1993. Her Story II is a second collection of biographies of sixteen Canadian women born before or around 1900. Merritt chooses well-known heroines like Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, Dr. Maude Abbott, and Agnes Macphaill, along with less famous but regionally representative women like Catherine O'Hare Schubert, Margaret Duly, and Pitseolak.


The beautiful cover illustration is a reproduction of "A Meeting of School Trustees" (National Gallery of Canada). Illustrations in the book are black-and-white photographs, many of which are of historical significance. Sometimes they portray life as it was at the time, rather than the actual subject of the essay.

Written for young readers, one is at first surprised by the short sentences and simple descriptions used by the author. From the outside, it does not look like a children's book.

The point of view is definitely feminist. The author celebrates the heroism of pioneer women, but cannot resist taking potshots at the male medical fraternity that took childbirth out of the hands of midwives like Marie-Henriette Lejeune Ross. Merritt gives plenty of background in the course of her biographies (some of which are scarce of actual biographical material), which makes her book a work of history as well as a collection of life stories.

Highly readable.


Catherine Cox is a Teacher-Librarian at Moncton High School.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to

Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364