Accomplished author Paul Yee’s latest novel, I am Canada: Blood and Iron: Building the Railway, Lee Heen-Gwong is part of a series of fictional books for youth published by Scholastic Canada. It is about the country’s past and the hardships of life that existed then.
The book tells a tale from a young boy’s point-of-view regarding his new life in Canada with his father. Coming from a desperate need to pay off gambling debts, Heen’s father aims to work hard as he partakes in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The story depicts the dangerous working conditions involved with building the railway that is worsened by the fact that the workers are at odds with one another. Old habits die hard as Heen’s father takes up gambling again which pits the father and son’s lives into further turmoil.
Now living in Toronto, Paul Yee grew up in Vancouver’s Chinatown which inspired his life-long desire to write about Chinese-Canadians, often from a historical perspective. Upon obtaining his M.A. in Canadian History from the University of British Columbia, Yee worked as an archivist, an immigration policy government worker and volunteered at The Vancouver Chinese Cultural Center.
He published his first story in the 1980s and has written over 20 books since then. Of note is Ghost Train which garnered Yee with the Governor General’s Award for English Language Children’s Literature in 1996. He promotes cultural understanding as shown in the popular children’s book Shu-Li and Tamara. Besides writing books for youth, he has also written short stories and non-fiction books for adults. In all, he seeks to educate everyone about Chinese culture and his books truly transcend generations.
The Chinese Canadian Historical Society and the Museum of Vancouver presents Blood and Iron: An Evening with Author Paul Yee on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the museum. For more information about the event, visit the Museum of Vancouver’s event page here. Learn more about Paul Yee by accessing his own website at paulyee.ca.