Wednesday 6 June 2007

Island of Hope and Sorrow: The Story of Grosse Île by Anne Renaud

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Lobster Press
Aussi disponible en Français

Island of Hope and Sorrow: The Story of Grosse Île is a brilliant in depth look at this important island, located 50 kilometers from the Port of Quebec. This island was a quarantine station from 1932 to 1947, where passengers would be checked for disease before they were permitted to continue their journey to their new homeland.

Of the more than four million people who sailed the Atlantic and made this journey, many lives were lost due to the tragic 1847 typhus epidemic which is also covered in this book, and before that, the asiatic cholera. Many were buried in the graveyards on the island and one thing I remember clearly from the book, which touched me greatly, was that these graves were tended by the island dwellers. That is, families of island employees who chose to live on the island year round rather than come over to work between May and November.

This book is recommended for ages 8 and up and is great eye candy with it's great mix of illustrations, photos and history notes sprinkled throughout. The history notes aren't just about the immigration and disease either, for example, one on home refrigeration. On Grosse Île, families kept their food in small wooden buildings called icehouses, built part underground and which stored large blocks of ice set upon sawdust.

I love the easy navigation of the pages and especially loved the illustrations by Aries Cheung. I learned a lot from this book and it really piqued my curiosity. I will include a link at the bottom of the review to the Parks Canada site for Grosse Île which includes an online tour, even more information and a memorial list where you can check for ancestors.

Illustrator's website:

Canada Parks website for Grosse Île:

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