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British Home Children in Canada
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Carolyn at the Barnardo Home
Carolyn at the Barnardo Home site


I was an adult before I learned that my grandmother had had such a difficult start in life. I did not know that she had been placed with a foster family, then in a Children’s Home, and finally in The Barnardo Home for Girls. That is where she was trained as a servant. That is where she said good bye to England in 1898 and set sail for Canada. She was 10 years old.

The more I learned about the British Home Children, the more in awe of their courage I became. This is what inspired me to write this historical fiction. I had a hard time finding the beginning of the story for years. But when I realized that a heroine of mine, E. Pauline Johnson, a Moha

wk poet, performer, paddler and pathfinder for women writers, was an adult at the time my grandma was a kid, I had my story.

I thought that once Gwen was published in 2009, I was finished. But, the story seemed to want to continue. And so I sat down again at the computer. West Wind Calling was published in 2012.

Carolyn with the Home Child Quilt
Carolyn with fabric artist Hazel Perrier
and the Home Child Quilt

I have learned a lot from writing these books. I have also been reminded that while some children in “the olden days” had a hard time, some children in today’s world also have to struggle. For one example, child poverty in Canada, which is a rich country by the world’s standards, has reached alarming numbers. And so, many children still need to be brave when life is difficult. I write to honour their courage.



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