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Juvenile fiction, 1918 Influenza epidemic, Canadian History, Jewish, Religion and Spirituality, Farm, Family

Quarantine: Keep Out!
by Trudy Cowan

It is 1919. A terrible influenza epidemic has made people around the world very sick. Many did not recover. Leah, Joseph and Jacob’s mother has a bad case of “the flu.” The doctor took her away from their prairie homestead farm and placed her in quarantine with two other sick people. Separating her from her husband and children was the only way that she wouldn’t spread the illness to her family. With mama away, twelve-year-old Leah is in charge of the house and her two brothers while their dear papa works in the fields. Nine-year-old Joseph has chores: milking the cow, gathering eggs and chopping enough wood to last through the Sabbath. Little Jacob misses mama so much he cries when he hears her name. It falls to Leah to comfort him and to prepare everything for their ‘Shabbos’ evening meal. In such a frightening time for many families, they worry - will mama get better?

Based on true events, QUARANTINE: KEEP OUT! is a children’s story about the influenza pandemic of 1918–1919. English, Hebrew and Yiddish words are introduced in this warm-hearted historical fiction account of one Jewish immigrant family’s experience.

"A great story. As an adult, a teacher, this book held my attention the whole time. It will perfectly target children in grades three to seven. What a very useful resource for both family discussions and social studies classes relating to immigration and Canadian history; to analyse life, medicine and technology 100 years ago; for comparing the lives of children, cultures and family connections then and now; and for providing examples of individuals and communities pulling together in difficult times. The two IBPYP (International Baccalaureate) themes that relate to the use of this book are: Who We Are and Where We Are in Place and Time." Shauna Ullman, IB Teacher

Trudy Cowan photo

Trudy Cowan has worked and volunteered in the heritage and museum field for many years. Her service on heritage organization boards includes: Alberta governor and chair, Heritage Canada Foundation/Canada’s National Trust; Alberta member and vice chair, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada; and a founder of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta. Awarded an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) for her heritage contributions by the University of Calgary in 2003, she has led historic site developments including Fort Calgary and the Lougheed House restoration. Trudy is a published author of books, articles and children’s stories, and has brought her one-woman theatrical “In-Person-Ations” of historical Canadian women to stages across Canada. She is also an award-winning fabric artist. Vice-president and Heritage Advisor to the project that brought this story’s historic synagogue to Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village, she continues her involvement as the site’s interpreter and storyteller.

Maria Muszynski, Illustrator: Eyes: hazel green; Hair: changes without notice; Philosophy: Sprinkle the day with laughter. Maria Muszynski, BFA, BEd, is a graduate of the University of Calgary and has taught many years with the Calgary Catholic School District, giving students a love for creativity and awareness of their place in history. She feels blessed to be a practicing artist who has used her talents for illustration, graphic design, and set and costume design with various organizations and groups in Calgary. Maria has also recently renewed her passion in the sacred arts of iconography, calligraphy and illumination. A long-time member of the Burns Visual Arts Society and a founding director of the Sacred Arts Guild of Alberta, Maria also sings occasionally with an adult recreational choir. Her artwork is represented in the Alberta Foundation for the Arts collection and many private collections across Canada.


Trudy Cowan
Maria Muszynski
Dave Brown, University of Calgary

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