Beryl YoungBeryl Young Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot!Follow the ElephantCharlieWishing Star Summer

Charlie: A Home Child's Life in Canada
Ronsdale Press, 2011
IBSN 978-1-55380-138-2
In the UK, order from Gazelle Books

Imagine it's one hundred years ago and you are thirteen years old, living with your family in England. When your father dies suddenly your mother must send her children to orphanages. Then imagine how it would feel to be called into the orphanage office and told you are being sent across the ocean to Canada.

That's what happened to my father and that's what I write about in Charlie: a Home Child's Life in Canada. I grew up knowing very little of my father's story and it wasn't until I was an adult that I began to research his life.

I learned that Charlie travelled to London to live in a Home founded by Dr. Thomas Barnardo as a safe-haven for children whose parents couldn't look after them. From there, at the age of thirteen, Charlie was sent across the Atlantic ocean to Canada to work as a farm labourer on an Ontario farm. He experienced homesickness, hardship and eventually great kindness as he grew from a skinny boy to a healthy eighteen year old.

Charlie at age 13, just
before he sailed for Canada

At age 15, Charlie worked
on a farm in Ontario

As a young man, Charlie was
a constable in the Royal
North-West Mounted Police

When World War One began, Charlie signed on with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was wounded in France at the Battle of the Somme. After the war, Charlie returned to Canada and joined the RCMP. Rising through the ranks, he was posted across Canada, and in 1952, the boy who once saw Buckingham Palace from a tram on his way to Dr. Barnardo's orphanage, became an RCMP escort to Princess Elizabeth on her first visit to Canada.

Charlie's story is a compelling account of a poor English boy who rises from poverty to become a valuable member of Canadian society. His story, like many others, is an inspiring part of our Canadian heritage.

The book includes personal and archival photographs, maps and information sidebars. Lesson plans, activity sheets and marking rubrics in Canadian history and social geography are available for Grades 5-8.


"Beryl Young's story of her father fills a very necessary gap in Canadian history. That she does so in such an interesting and thoughtful way is a tribute to her skill as a writer. . . It is enjoyable for personal reading and as an interesting biography, as well as in classrooms as an excellent source of background material. Highly recommended."
    *** Canadian Materials, November, 2009

"Beryl Young's story of her father's life is gripping. Charlie overcame extraordinary difficulties to make his mark. I wish I'd known him, but somehow I feel like I do."
    Eric Wilson, children's writer

"In this story of the life of her father, Beryl Young brings to life an important aspect of Canadian social history. . . This book will provoke understanding, empathy, and enjoyment in young readers and in their parents as well."
    Margaret Prang, Professor Emerita, History, University of B.C.

"A warm, candid look back at the life of a man who struggled to secure a place for himself in the new world. Along with the author's gentle and fluid narrative, the tome is seasoned with a smattering of sepia photographs of days gone by."
    Halifax Chronicle Herald , November 2009


       Charlie: a Home Child's Life in Canada is

nominated for the B.C. Red Cedar 2011-12 award
short-listed for the 2010-11 Ontario Library Association Red Maple Non-fiction Award
recommended as a starred book of exceptional calibre in Canadian Children's Book Centre BEST BOOKS for 2010
nominated for the Chocolate Lily Award (B.C.) 2010-11
nominated for a Hackmatack Award (Atlantic Canada) 2010-11
runner-up for the National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award, 2010
long-listed for the Canadian Literature Roundtable Information Book of 2010

Special Events:
The book is now in a third printing
The Ontario legislature has voted to make September 28th British Home Child Day every year
The Parliament of Canada has voted unanimously to declare 2010 The Year of the British Home Child
The Home Child commemorative stamp has now been issued and is available at Canada Post. It's very handsome with a picture of a boy who looks like Charlie and a similar one of a boy ploughing a field
I was invited to present a copy of Charlie to the Parliamentary Library. It was quite a thrill to think of my father's story being in such a beautiful library in the Parliament buildings
Reader's Digest International has bought the rights to publish the condensed version in China and other countries