100 books like The Making of the Mosaic

By Ninette Kelley, Michael Trebilcock,

Here are 100 books that The Making of the Mosaic fans have personally recommended if you like The Making of the Mosaic. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Canada and immigration: Public policy and public concern

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

This book, which was written when serious questions were being asked about Canadian immigration, is a gold mine of information on this delicate and emotional subject. The research is both extensive and meticulous. Moreover, the author does not just cite and explain facts about events and circumstances, she also provides clues as to what she feels constitutes an immigration policy.

By Freda Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Canada and immigration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Remarkable changes have taken place in Canadian immigration policy, law, and management since this book was first published. A long-awaited new Immigration Act was passed in 1976 and became law in 1978. This marked the beginning of a new, more liberal, and more co-operative era in Canadian immigration. The new Act established clear national objectives in immigration and refugee policy. The new edition of Canada and Immigration takes into account these major changes in Canadian attitudes and policies toward immigration. The author discusses what these changes have meant for Canada, considering the new laws, closer federal-provincial collaboration, more confident and…


Book cover of The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came to Canada

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Journalist, author, and retired United Church minister, Kenneth Bagnell has written a vivid account of the thousands of slum children (not all of them were orphans) who were dispatched to Canada from 1869 to the late 1930s by well-meaning philanthropists, philanthropic rescue homes, and parish workhouse schools. At the time, this seemed to be the ideal solution to a two-pronged problem: what to do with the tens of thousands of children from the slums of Britain who faced a bleak future there and how to meet the soaring demand for cheap labour on Canadian farms.

By Kenneth Bagnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Little Immigrants is a tale of compassion and courage and a vivid account of a deep and moving part of Canadian heritage. In the early years after Confederation, the rising nation needed workers that could take advantage of the abundant resources. Until the time of the Depression, 100,000 impoverished children from the British Isles were sent overseas by well-meaning philanthropists to solve the colony's farm-labour shortage.

They were known as the "home children," and they were lonely and frightened youngsters to whom a new life in Canada meant only hardship and abuse. This is an extraordinary but almost forgotten…


Book cover of Invisible Immigrants: The English in Canada since 1945

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Although the English are among the largest immigrant groups contributing to the development of modern Canada, their story remained, for the most part, untold until the publication of this book in 2015. In this carefully researched work of popular history, Marilyn Barber and Murray Watson recount the personal experiences of English immigrants who elected to come to Canada between the 1940s and 1970s, England’s last major wave of emigration. Most of these postwar English immigrants thought they were going to a country whose language and culture would be familiar. Instead, like other immigrants, they contended with separation from loved ones back home while adapting to a new landscape and culture. Moreover, although they did not appear visibly different from their neighbours, these newcomers were immediately labelled “foreigners” as soon as they started to speak.

By Marilyn Barber, Murray Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Invisible Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite being one of the largest immigrant groups contributing to the development of modern Canada, the story of the English has been all but untold. In Invisible Immigrants, Barber and Watson document the experiences of English-born immigrants who chose to come to Canada during England's last major wave of emigration between the 1940s and the 1970s. Engaging life story oral histories reveal the aspirations, adventures, occasional naivete, and challenges of these hidden immigrants. Postwar English immigrants believed they were moving to a familiar British country. Instead, like other immigrants, they found they had to deal with separation from home and…


Book cover of Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

The fall of Saigon in 1975, inspired the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement program in Canada’s history. In this compelling book, former Canadian immigration officers recount the experiences of a few dozen men and women who visited 70 remote refugee camps to arrange for the selection and resettlement of thousands of individuals displaced by oppression and war in eight different countries. The long days and humid and trying conditions under which these officers worked — sometimes sleeping on their work tables and subsisting on green tea and dried noodles – make for a gripping narrative. But the history also describes the 1976 Immigration Act, which established new refugee procedures and introduced private sponsorship. Ultimately, Canada accepted and resettled 60,000 refugees, half of whom were privately sponsored.

By Michael Molloy, Peter Duschinsky, Kurt Jensen , Robert Shalka

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Running on Empty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fall of Saigon in April 1975 resulted in the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement effort in Canada's history. Running on Empty presents the challenges and successes of this bold refugee resettlement program. It traces the actions of a few dozen men and women who travelled to seventy remote refugee camps, worked long days in humid conditions, subsisted on dried noodles and green tea, and sometimes slept on their worktables while rats scurried around them - all in order to resettle thousands of people displaced by war and oppression. After initially accepting 7,000 refugees from camps in Guam, Hong…


Book cover of Who Gets In: An Immigration Story

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

Ravvin has written excellent works of fiction and literary scholarship. His book is a masterful blend of two genres: family biography and social history.

I found this book to be so engrossing I could barely put it down. It traces the author’s grandfather’s dogged saga to emigrate from Poland to Canada, to find some mooring amidst the precarity of being a new immigrant, a foreigner, and a Jew, and to try desperately to bring over his wife during a time when Canada’s immigration gates were closing.

I love this book’s ability to seamlessly alternate between deep archives-based history (how did the immigration labyrinth actually work and why was it designed that way?) and personal/ancestral memoir (what was it like for one human–of existential consequence for the author–to navigate that labyrinth?).

It's a remarkable story of one immigrant crisscrossing the country in the era that immediately preceded the much more frequently…

By Norman Ravvin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Gets In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One man's immigration to the Canadian Prairies in the early 1930s reveals the character of Canada today as sharply as it did long ago. In 1930, a young Jewish man, Yehuda Eisenstein, arrived in Canada from Poland to escape persecution and in the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his young family. Like countless other young European men who came to Canada from "non-preferred" countries, Yehuda was only granted entry because he claimed to be single, starting his Canadian life with a lie. He trusted that his wife and children would be able to follow after he…


Book cover of The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia

Lynne Bowen Author Of Whoever Gives Us Bread: The Story of Italians in British Columbia

From my list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young person I loved to read history novels, but each book had to be about either British monarchs or American generals. Then I watched the movie Bye Bye Blues, a Canadian prairie story by Anne Wheeler, and realized for the first time that the story was about me, about us. It was such a heady feeling that I decided to study Western Canadian history at university. Three weeks after I got my M.A. from the University of Victoria I was offered the chance to write about Vancouver Island coal miners and the rest, as they say, is quite literally history.

Lynne's book list on revealing the hidden history of Western Canada

Lynne Bowen Why did Lynne love this book?

A mule-drawn wagon train moves precariously along a narrow road carved out of a steep rock wall—this book lives up to the promise of its cover. The book jacket blurb entices lovers of history like me: “British Columbia is regularly described in superlatives both positive and negative—the most spectacular scenery, the strangest political campaigns, the mildest winters, the most rain, the most aggressive resource developers, the biggest peace and environmental movements, the closest Canadian ties to Japan and China, and the richest native culture.” The author, Jean Barman, is one of my mentors and an inspiration to everyone who is interested in British Columbia history.

By Jean Barman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Beyond the West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Columbia is regularly described in superlatives both positive and negative - most spectacular scenery, strangest politics, greatest environmental sensitivity, richest Aboriginal cultures, most aggressive resource exploitation, closest ties to Asia. Jean Barman's The West beyond the West presents the history of the province in all its diversity and apparent contradictions. This critically acclaimed work is the premiere book on British Columbian history, with a narrative beginning at the point of contact between Native peoples and Europeans and continuing into the twenty-first century. Barman tells the story by focusing not only on the history made by leaders in government but…


Book cover of Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance

Alison R. Marshall Author Of The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba

From my list on to reimagine Chinatown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by Chinese culture. My great uncle owned an import-export shop in 1920s Montreal and many of the things in his shop decorated my family home. An aunt who worked in Toronto’s Chinatown took me to see a Chinese opera performance and this began my journey to understand Chinese thought and culture first with an MA in Chinese poetry and then with a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies. After I learned that Sun Yatsen had visited Manitoba, where I had moved for work, my attention turned to Chinese nationalism. More than 15 years later, my research and work on KMT culture continues.

Alison's book list on to reimagine Chinatown

Alison R. Marshall Why did Alison love this book?

Denise Chong explores a similar period of Chinese Canadian history in Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance. Similar to my own book, Lives of the Family looks beyond Vancouver and British Columbia Chinatowns to tell the story of Chinese Canadian migrants, whose lives straddled continents, who ran successful businesses, and were involved with the KMT. 

By Denise Chong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lives of the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International bestselling author of The Concubine's Children, Denise Chong returns to the subject of her most beloved book, the lives and times of Canada's early Chinese families.
     In 2011, Denise Chong set out to collect the history of the earliest Chinese settlers in and around Ottawa, who made their homes far from any major Chinatown. Many would open cafes, establishments that once dotted the landscape across the country and were a monument to small-town Canada. This generation of Chinese immigrants lived at the intersection of the Exclusion Act in Canada, which divided families between here and China, and 2 momentous…


Book cover of A Place Called Winter

Joy M. Lilley Author Of The Liberty Bodice

From my list on WW2 and women of the Special Operations Executive.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Joy Gerken pen name Joy M., Lilley. I live in Kent, England with husband Michael and our three rescue cats. We have four children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. I began writing in 2013 after retiring from a long nursing career. My list is multi-genre, I like to both read and write books from all genres. It broadens my horizons and helps me focus more clearly on my own writing. I recommend all five books to you as I have enjoyed the reading of them all.

Joy's book list on WW2 and women of the Special Operations Executive

Joy M. Lilley Why did Joy love this book?

This book is a true story told about a relative of the author and the prejudices faced and hardships endured by him. He was sent away to Canada at a time in the U.K.when homosexuality was illegal.

A real page-turner that left me pondering the amount of prejudice that still remains in our society today.

I believe we should all live and let live. Disliking the racism and homophobia we still see today, I do all in my power to educate folks otherwise as I have always felt there to be no reason for its existence.

This story made me aware of the fact that prejudice still exists in 2022.

By Patrick Gale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Place Called Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2015 **

Picked for the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Book Club

To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.

Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a…


Book cover of Carry On: Poetry by Young Immigrants

Mary Beth Leatherdale Author Of Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees

From my list on what it’s like to be a refugee.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada that my family had owned for six generations, my world was small. That all changed when I moved to Toronto and met my husband, the Canadian-born son of Polish Jews who survived death camps and the Holocaust. His family taught me what it means to find yourself in the crosshairs of history, to be forced to make impossible choices under dire circumstances. I’m passionate about sharing stories that build understanding and celebrating those forced by fate to be fighters — their strong yet often surprising personalities, their unique journeys, and their inspiring grit. 

Mary's book list on what it’s like to be a refugee

Mary Beth Leatherdale Why did Mary love this book?

I love the genesis of this book — a high school writing workshop for newcomers to Quebec, Canada. And I love that within its pages, students from around the world — the Philippines, Uruguay, Pakistan, China, Moldova Iran, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Venezuela — come together to share their personal experiences of seeking peace and security in a new country. Students share the pain and loss of being forced to leave their homes, families, friends, and way of life behind and reflect on their changing identities with strength and vulnerability. Illustrated with expressive portraits by Rogè, the collection powerfully conveys the uncertainty these young immigrants face and the cautious hope they have for the future. 

By Various Contributors, Rogé Girard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carry On as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving #OwnVoices poetry collection written by young newcomers to Canada
Carry On began in a high school in Outremont, Quebec, where author and poet Simon Boulerice conducted creative-writing workshops for young newcomers to Canada. As the students began writing, their poems gave voice to their reflections on leaving family, friends, and countries of origin to make new homes and connections in their new home, Canada.
Paired with expressive portraits by award-winning artist Rogé, each young writer reflects on the experience of leaving one home for another. The collection of poems express feelings of anxiety, sorrow, anticipation, gratitude, and hope…


Book cover of Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada, 1880 1940

C. Elizabeth Koester Author Of In the Public Good: Eugenics and Law in Ontario

From my list on how eugenics came to Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lapsed lawyer who decided as an empty-nest project to take a few history of medicine courses just for fun. One thing led to another and I found myself with a PhD and a book about eugenics and law to my name. I love the history of medicine. It connects us right back to the cavemen who worried about the same things we worry about today – illness, injury, our bodies, reproduction, death, dying. The history of eugenics is really a part of that history and it is filled with laws – coerced reproductive sterilization, marriage restrictions based on so-called “fitness,” etc. So it's a perfect union of my background and my newfound love. 

C.'s book list on how eugenics came to Canada

C. Elizabeth Koester Why did C. love this book?

It is important when trying to understand eugenics in Canada to compare how it played out in this country to its trajectory elsewhere. This helps us understand what the commonalities were in the ideas and also to see how and where specific environments resulted in local incarnations of these ideas. Dowbiggin does this for us with great insight by writing comparatively about psychiatry and eugenics in Canada and the U.S. I knew that psychiatrists had enthusiastically taken up the eugenic cause but this book explains really well how and why this happened on both sides of the border, showing us that the profession’s general support for eugenics was not necessarily (or only) because of the ideas themselves, but for professional and status-building reasons.

By Ian Robert Dowbiggin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Keeping America Sane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would bring a physician to conclude that sterilization is appropriate treatment for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped? Using archival sources, Ian Robert Dowbiggin documents the involvement of both American and Canadian psychiatrists in the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century. He explains why professional men and women committed to helping those less fortunate than themselves arrived at such morally and intellectually dubious conclusions.

Psychiatrists at the end of the nineteenth century felt professionally vulnerable, Dowbiggin explains, because they were under intense pressure from state and provincial governments and from other physicians to reform their specialty. Eugenic ideas,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, public policy, and World War 1?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, public policy, and World War 1.

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