CBU Press has launched a free teaching resource for one of its most popular novels for young people.
Published in 2012, Trapper Boy, by Sydney Mines writer Hugh R. MacDonald, has been used in a number of classroom settings already, says CBU Press editor-in-chief Mike Hunter.
Set in a 1920s coal-mining town, Trapper Boy is the story of 13 year-old JW Donaldson, a good student with a bright future. As school ends for the year in 1926, his father’s hours at the mine are being reduced and the family faces difficult decisions to try to make ends meet. One such decision has a previously unimagined impact on the JW’s life.
Hugh MacDonald, a social worker by day, and a locally known musician, actually wrote a song about a trapper boy some years ago, later developing it into a story, then the novel.
“That song, by the way,” adds Hunter, “was recently added to the repertoire of the Men of the Deeps coal miners’ chorus and is included on their recently released 50th anniversary compilation CD.”
In 2014, CBU education associate professor Patrick Howard, used Trapper Boy as a curriculum development exercise for university students, the result of which was the creation of a teacher resource now freely available from the CBU Press website.
Editor-in-Chief Mike Hunter is enthusiastic about the resource. “We are making the resource available free of charge to teachers and hope it will encourage them to adopt this excellent, and local, historical novel,” he said.
“A number of teachers in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board have read Trapper Boy with the class over the last couple of years, and a few have invited Hugh MacDonald to meet with students as they explore the themes in the novel,” he adds.