Roots to the Past

Diana Tibert
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Fact and fiction make an interesting mix

In early December, Roderick Benns contacted me regarding a new concept in books aimed to deliver history like never before. The Leaders & Legacies series published by Fireside Publishing House is the new kid on the block. It's only a year old, but Benns has big plans for the young historical fiction series.

The first book was launched in September 2009. The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder: An Early Adventure of John Diefenbaker delivers readers to the year when the former prime minister is only 12 years old. He partially witnesses the murder of a neighbour in a small Saskatchewan town. When the wrong person is accused, it's up to young Diefenbaker, his younger brother, Elmer, and the daughter of the accused to find the truth.

Each Leaders & Legacies book will accurately depict the time period in which the young prime minister lived. The family dynamics, social conditions and the environment will be as precise as possible. Readers will learn the names of family members and the basic living conditions through story.

The idea of learning history through fiction isn't a new concept, but learning about our former prime ministers is something very unique. Obviously, Fireside is eager to get their books into the classroom and school libraries. It would be a win-win situation for all: the publishing company, the schools and the students.

Fireside doesn't stop with telling a good yarn about our prime ministers. A Fiction or Fact section in the back of each book deciphers truth from make-believe. Areas of Further Study provides snippets of history to better understand the time period.

The second book in the series was released in November of 2010. The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald follows the adventures of Canada's first prime minister as he, his younger sister, Lou, and friend, George, try and solve the mystery of a strange serpent creature in the lake behind their home in Stone Mills, Upper Canada (currently Glenora, Prince Edward County, Ont.) Set 10 years before the Rebellions of 1837, this novel hints at what is to come.

The target age group is 11 to 14 years, but adults will also appreciate the stories and history. So far, books in the series have been written by Benns, but several books in progress are being penned by other authors. The Early Adventures of Paul Martin will be written by Caroline Woodward, age 15. The Canterbury High School student placed first in the writing competition which offered as the first prize a contract to write the book.

More information on the books, how to order your own copy and free stuff is available on Fireside Publishing House's website ( Free stuff includes The Canadian! a monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox. It contains history and social studies content relevant to students in Grades 4-8.


Researcher's File

Who were Christian Belle (Christia Bell) Fraser's parents and siblings? Christian (c.1790 - Sept. 15, 1832, buried Greenwood Cemetery, Pictou Landing) married James McDougall (son of Margaret and John McDougall) around 1805. About 1835, James and many of his 10 children moved to Boothbay, Maine, U.S.A. Contact: Bob Chesebro, 1353 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME, US 04102-1618; email:


Diane Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer based in central Nova Scotia. She loves reading about history and hopes someday to make it. Submit a query. It's free! 1787 Highway 2, Milford, Hants County, NS, B0N 1Y0; email: <> , or visit The Family Attic, home to Roots to the Past:



Organizations: Roots, Fireside Publishing House, Canterbury High School

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada, Stone Mills Prince Edward Nova Scotia Boothbay, Maine 1353 Westbrook Street Portland, ME Hants County

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