Counting on Hope

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Overview

Award-winning writer Sylvia Olsen's sensitively drawn depiction of innocence lost and wisdom hard won, Counting on Hope tells the story of an English girl named Hope and a Lamalcha girl named Letia, whose lives are profoundly changed when their two cultures collide. The action is set against the backdrop of the confusing events surrounding the English colonization of British Columbia and an 1863 naval assault on Kuper Island. Alternating between free verse and prose, Counting on Hope follows the girls' individual...

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Overview

Award-winning writer Sylvia Olsen's sensitively drawn depiction of innocence lost and wisdom hard won, Counting on Hope tells the story of an English girl named Hope and a Lamalcha girl named Letia, whose lives are profoundly changed when their two cultures collide. The action is set against the backdrop of the confusing events surrounding the English colonization of British Columbia and an 1863 naval assault on Kuper Island. Alternating between free verse and prose, Counting on Hope follows the girls' individual story lines before, during and after their meeting. The novel captures the wonder and joy with which Hope and Letia develop their friendship and describes the tragic events, suspicion, fear and confusion that characterize so many early encounters between Europeans and the First Peoples. Ultimately a story of hope, the novel follows the two girls out of childhood, off their island paradise and into the complex realities of an adult world.

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Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book News
"A very differently thought-out book and sets a new standard in Canadian children's historical fiction...The wonderful image that young readers will carry away is one of two girls, dancing together on the beach."
CM Magazine
"A wonderful and poignant tale that will do an excellent job of introducing children to some of British Columbia’s early history. Highly Recommended."
VOYA - Elaine Gass Hirsch
Hope and Letia are young women living with their families on an island off the coast of British Columbia in the mid-nineteenth century. The girls share many similarities, including supportive fathers and concerned mothers, a love of their beautiful island, and an interest in becoming friends. Their biggest difference, however, is a source of great tension in the region: Hope is from England and Letia is of the Lamalcha First Nation. Amidst increasing anxiety brought on, in part, by the arrival of whisky traders and their tales of dangerous Indians, the girls secretly develop a friendship. Their exchange of precious keepsakes prior to momentous change helps to sustain each of them during the tragic events which follow, and beyond. Written effectively in the alternating, distinct voices of Hope and Letia, the story unfolds slowly, which could deter readers. Character development beyond the two main characters is minimal. Nonetheless, Counting on Hope powerfully describes this period of cultural collision and colonization in British Columbian history and should appeal to readers with an interest in western historical fiction. An author's note at the story's end outlines the accuracy and fictionalization of events. Reviewer: Elaine Gass Hirsch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550391732
  • Publisher: Sono Nis Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Age range: 11 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia Olsen is the author of two previous Orca Young Readers as well as two Orca Soundings. She lives in North Saanich near Victoria, British Columbia.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo.com

    Told in alternating points of view, the author tells the story of two girls from two different worlds. One from England and one from the Lamalcha tribe.

    Despite culture clashing and prejudice aroused by whisky traders in the hopes of causing trouble, the two become best friends and even exchange dolls to remember each other by. When tragedy strikes and Hope's father and sister are killed in a storm, prejudices get dangerously out of control, terror is taken to a new level on both sides, and peace threatens to be destroyed.

    Can cultural differences be put aside so that understanding and forgiveness can come?

    An endearing, tragic story that gives a historical example of what can happen when people let prejudice get in the way of truth. Although fictional, the characters are memorable, the plot is emotional, and the writing is well done.

    Readers who like historical fiction will enjoy reading COUNTING ON HOPE.

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