Mennonite History for Young People

“Mennonite History for Young People” is a new series of education materials published by the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation that tells the story of Mennonites who arrived in Manitoba from Russia in the 1870s and migrated to Mexico and Paraguay in the 1920s. The series begins with Leaving Canada, which tells the story of the migration from Canada to Mexico.  Upcoming volumes in the series explore the history of the migrations from Russia to Canada and then to places like Belize, Bolivia, Argentina, Kansas, Southern Ontario, and Alberta over the last 75 years.

The series has been developed to be an excellent addition to existing Social Studies curricula in Canada for both public and private schools with Low German Mennonite students. It can also serve as a non-fiction reader for Language classes. Each volume is a softcover, 8.5″ x 11″, full-colour, authentic history text, written to engage both students and adults alike, and is written in accessible language at the grade 6 reading level.

Please note that titles in this series are not available as online publications, but can be purchased for $5.00/copy (plus shipping costs, if applicable) by contacting the Plett Foundation or at the retailers listed below.

Books in the Series:

Volume 1 – Leaving Canada: The Journey to Mexico

Volume 2 – Discovering Mexico: A Strange New Land

Volume 3 – A New Home: Living in Mexico

Upcoming Volumes

Volume 1 - Leaving Canada: The Journey to Mexico

Front Cover

Released June 2016

From the back cover: In the 1920s a large group of Mennonites made a big decision.  They would sell their homes and farms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and build new farming villages in Mexico.  In this reader you will meet the people who made that decision and find out why they made it.  You will travel across Mexico with six men who were sent to find just the right land for their people.  You will go by train with the children, young people, their parents and their farm animals, to their new homeland.  You will enjoy y our first breakfast of bread and coffee in your tent-village home.  “No breakfast had ever tasted so good,” wrote Ohm Iezak.  You will also meet Mexicans who wondered who all these strangers were.  All that and more…

 Reviews of Leaving Canada:

Leaving Canada is an immensely welcome volume and fills a major gap in the literature – a clearly written, accessible historical account of Mennonite emigration from Canada intended for a young audience.  Though the work is presented as a sort of textbook, it reads much like a story, with primary source material in the forms of diaries and memoirs interspersed with creative vignettes, both of which help to create a patchwork of images from which the reader may conjure the story of the Mennonites leaving Canada for Mexico in the 1920s.”

– Robyn Sneath, PhD candidate in Education at Oxford University


“With features like historic photographs, maps and excerpts from an old journal, [Rosabel Fast] invites the reader to witness the emotionally trying times that the [Mennonite] community experienced. […] The book, although dedicated to young audiences, is also a rich source of information for adults as it highlights a chapter of Canadian people’s history that is rarely explored in history textbooks.  The book seems to be designed not only with young people in mind but also the teachers and parents who will be reading it with the children.  Teachers will benefit greatly from this resource as primary research material that should help them guide young people into further explorations of the history of their people.”

– Marcela Durán, instructor in the Faculty of Education, York University


“Das Buch enthält viele Geschichten und Informationen, die dem Leser helfen, besser zu verstehen, warum die Vorfahren des wunderschöne Kanada verliessen und nach Mexiko zogen. [Rosabel] Fast versteht es schön dem Leser in die damalige Welt zu versetzen und mehr Verständnis für das Schwere und die Opfer so einer Auswanderung zu haben.”

– Kennert Giesbrecht, editor of Die Mennonitische Post


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Volume 2 - Discovering Mexico: A Strange New Land

Vol 2 - Front Cover

Released April 2017

From the back cover: In Leaving Canada: The Journey to Mexico, Volume One, you met a big group of Mennonites who made an important decision.  They sold their farms in Canada and moved to Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico.  In this reader, you will see how the young people and adults in this group got to know their strange new homeland.  Abram loved Mexico’s red-brown earth.  Two brick layers, Ramon and Vicenti, turned it into adobe bricks for buildings houses.  Sarah and her brothers and sister planted a large field of corn by hand.  The adults, who knew snow blizzards in Canada so well, were frightened by Mexico’s fierce sandstorms.  Wise leaders and a good German friend solved difficult problems together.  All this and more…


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Volume 3 -A New Home: Living in Mexico


Released November 2017

From the back cover: In Leaving Canada: The Journey to Mexico, you met a group of Mennonites who sold their farms in Canada and moved to Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico.  In the second volume, Discovering Mexico: A Strange New Land, the Mennonites get settled in their new homeland.  In this reader, young people and adults are settlers no more.  Mexico is their homeland.  You will meet David, whose Christmas present makes him the envy of the village; Helen, who learns to sew her own clothes; and the Rempel children, who build an adobe village.  And Sarah is back with more spunky stories.  All this and more in A New Home: Living in Mexico.


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Upcoming Volumes:

Volume 4: Coming Soon!


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Where to Buy the “Mennonite History for Young People” Series:


MCC Thrift on Kent, 50 Kent Ave., Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 3R1

MCS Aylmer Resource Center, 16 Talbot St. E., Aylmer, Ontario

Books 2 Fabrics, 25 Oak St. E., Leamington, Ontario

MennoMex, 49919 Talbot Line, Aylmer, Ontario

MCC New to You Thrift Shop, 55 Main St. S., Milverton, Ontario


Mennonite Heritage Archives, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3P 0M4

Village Books & Gifts at Mennonite Heritage Village, 231 PTH 12 North, Steinbach, Manitoba, R5G 1T8

Die Mennonitische Post, 383 Main Street, Steinbach, Manitoba, R5G 1Z4

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Diese Steine: Die Russlandmennoniten

Diese Steine front cover
Written by Adina Reger, this history of the Mennonites of Imperial Russia has become the most widely read history of the forbears of the 1870s immigrants written in the German language.

This title is available free of charge, online.  Download the complete PDF below:

Diese Steine (PDF)






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