A Trusted Name Writes to His Grandchildren | Looking at David Suzuki’s “A Letter to My Grandchildren” (release date: 2015) Greystone Books

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We have all watched David Suzuki tirelessly inform about science, technology and the environment for decades. His work, in all the forms he does, is well regarded not only here in Canada but around the world. Last week, I received a sample of his new book – A Letter to My Grandchildren – via email. This sample shows not only Suzuki dedication to bring facts to the public’s attention but also includes a deep passion to inform his grandchildren in a future date.

 

Page 2 – In Search of Roots

 

Even though three of you—Tamo, Midori, and Jonathan—

were born in the 1990s, you will spend most of your lives

in the twenty-first century. And, of course, Ganhi and Tiis,

your entire lives will be spent in the twenty-first century.

The stories from my life that I will recount here will seem

like the stuff of history books to you because what is my

living memory you only know through such books, movies,

and videos.

Even though we live in a multicultural society, Suzuki’s narrative here adds a new and unique perspective to the discourse of history. And the fact that he has shaped it in a letter to his grandchildren makes the book easy to read.

 

Page 3

 

My father’s parents never did make a trip, or even a

phone call, back to Japan. After being kept in camps during

World War II, my mother’s parents decided to leave Canada.

They were dropped off in Hiroshima, which had been flattened

by the first atomic bomb ever dropped over a city. I can

only imagine the suffering of the terribly injured survivors,

who had radiation burns and injuries that had never been

encountered before and needed medical help, food, and shelter.

All of Japan had been hammered by war, but Hiroshima

was in a category by itself. Not surprisingly, my elderly

grandparents both died less than a year after their return.

This should be a fantastic read. The sample sent is all too brief but if the book includes more of the information Suzuki wishes to impart to his grandchildren in the manner he has done so then it should be a great book.

When my grandparents arrived in Vancouver, it was a

resource town built on mining, fishing, and logging and

drew people from all over the world. It was a rough-andtumble

place, where racist assumptions about people of

color were embedded in the culture. After all, when Europeans

first arrived in North America, they claimed to have

“discovered” it, despite the hundreds of thousands of people

living in rich and varied cultures all across the continent.

Because the indigenous people were completely alien to the

incoming Europeans, they were dismissed as “primitive.”

The newcomers were focused on finding wealth and had

little interest in the indigenous people, flora, and fauna

except as resources. They regarded indigenous people as

savages who should be forced to adopt European ways. This

attitude continued through the twentieth century, when

indigenous children were sent to residential schools and

their languages and traditional ways were officially banned.

Asians and blacks, too, were considered different and

assumed to be inferior and so were not given the right to

vote or, in many parts of British Columbia, to own property.

They were also prohibited from entering certain professions,

such as medicine and pharmacy. That was British Columbia

and much of Canada in the early twentieth century.

A Letter to My Grandchildren by David Suzuki should be a brilliant read when it is released in 2015. The writing style is light yet the information it gives provides is unique and enlightening.

*****

Link to the David Suzuki Foundation website, to which proceeds from A Letter to My Grandchildren will go to.

Link to Greystone Books

 

 

 

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