This novel begins when 13-year-old Kami, the daughter of a Japanese-Canadian mother and a Scottish-Canadian father, moves with her mother from Vancouver to Edmonton. Here she hopes to reunite with the father who appears to have abandoned her. While rummaging through family boxes, she finds an old diary written by her greatgrandmother. Newspaper clippings inside send her hurtling back in time to 1929, where she encounters extreme prejudice because of her Asian features. After a number of disturbing adventures, Kami is taken in as a domestic servant by Judge Emily Murphy, one of the “famous five,” at the time of her battle to have women declared “persons” — a defining moment in the struggle for women’s rights. Although Kami views Judge Murphy as a “heroine,” she is startled to discover that Murphy holds racist views. On her return to the present, Kami must come to terms, not only with her own heritage, but how she views the ongoing struggle for the rights of all persons.
A Powerpoint detailing The Journal’s historical context can be accessed here.
Other books by Lois Donovan:
Reviews & Awards:
“Lois Donovan’s execution is spot on…This delightful book will challenge [readers] to question and consider alternate views of both historical and everyday events.” —Quill & Quire
“The Journal would be an excellent addition to any Canadian school library, and could also be adapted well to film! Highly recommended.” —Carol Anne Shaw, author of Hannah & the Spindle Whorl
“This novel will likely be popular with teachers and librarians who champion critical literacy or encourage social justice discussions in their classrooms…Highly recommended.”—CM magazine
“A tour-de-force… This densely woven novel takes up topics of crucial importance and makes them accessible to high school students without oversimplifying them… E for Excellent” —Resource Links