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Author: Renaud, Anne
Publisher: Whitecap
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 9781770502154
Grades: Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6

A Bloom of Friendship: The Story of the Canadian Tulip Festival

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The Canadian Tulip Festival is …born of courage, sacrifice and loss, and a friendship that blossomed between Canada and the Netherlands more than half a century ago.
In Ottawa, and in the Netherlands, the tulip is a symbol of the friendship between two countries which arose out of sacrifice.  It is an important remembrance for Canadians of what Canadians have given both in lives and friendship with another nation, during WWII.  This friendship began as a result of Nazi Germany invading Netherlands, in 1940. The Dutch royal family fled to London, England, but that proved unsafe for Princess Juliana and her two young children. They sailed to Canada and settled in Ottawa, for the duration of the war.  The details of the greater story, the invasion of Europe and persecution of Jewish people, are clearly explained within the friendship story of this book.  Five years later, the Canadian Army accepted the surrender of German troops in the Netherlands.  The Canadians provided relief from starvation, helped with Netherlands’ restoration and brought back more than 1,800 war brides when they returned to Canada.  Upon returning from Canada, Princess Juliana found her nation profoundly thankful to the Canadians who had played a vital role in their freedom.  As a gift of gratitude, 100,00 tulips bulbs were sent to Ottawa.  Every year since, Canada has received 20,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands –  a reminder of a lasting and enduring friendship. Each spring, Canadians travel to Ottawa to celebrate and enjoy the Tulip Festival.
The book is ideal for Canadian school and public libraries and will be of interest to young and old alike.  Beginning with the Message of Friendship, by the ambassador to the Netherlands, readers will learn about this friendship between Canada and Netherlands, through easy to read text, history fact sidebars, historical maps, photographs, and timeline.  The bibliography refers a commemorative booklet that can be ordered from Canada’s Veterans Affairs  or available in electronic form in English, French and Dutch @ http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/V32-66-2004.pdf
This is another historical story that adds to the strength of our national identity.  It is a must for every Canadian school library and will be useful in developing students’ historical thinking as part of the Alberta social studies curriculum at many grade levels and/or used with a Remembrance Day focus.
 

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