D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation
Published: 2016
xi+82 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9694504-2-9

Mennonite History for Young People

Vol. 1

Leaving Canada

The Journey to Mexico

Rosabel Fast

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