164. Wilfred Grenfell: Adventurer to the North

Wilfred Grenfell: Adventurer to the North by Vernon Howard. (Out of Print)
Children's Missionary Library Book 2

Pages: 32
Ages: 8+
Finished: Aug. 17, 2010
First Published: no copyright info given (I'd say 50's/early 60's)
Publisher: Bible Memory Association International
Genre: Children, christian, biography
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

If you had lived a number of years ago near the River Dee in England, you might have seen two lively boys poling an awkward craft along the merry waters of the river.

Acquired: Bought my copy at a church sale.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 10yo as part of our history curriculum.

This is a brief biography written in a narrative story format of Wilfred Grenfell a missionary doctor who came to Labrador, Canada to help the fishermen but ended up primarily concerned with the Inuit. He lived the majority of his life in the region and ended up establishing hospitals, an orphanage, schools, teaching the people trades and he first established co-operatives in Newfoundland. He also considered it his duty to spread the word of the Lord wherever he went. He was knighted by King George V and became Sir Wilfred Grenfell. While his name lives on today in the name of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Newfoundland and I'm guessing possibly in names of streets and such he has largely become a forgotten Canadian hero who is worthy of being remembered.

The book is short and rapidly tells Grenfell's story in the limited number of pages which are also heavily illustrated on each opposing page, though no illustrator has been credited. The book met our purposes of reading about a significant Christian in Canada's recent past and is written in an engaging narrative format which kept us both interested. Of course, the book highlights the most exciting events keeping the story interesting. While the book is certainly from a Christian point of view, it does concentrate more on his other work in the area, medical etc., while reminding us that he always had a Bible in his other hand as he spread the Word as he went.

Pleasantly enough, from a book written in this time period it is completely respectful of the native peoples. There is no looking down upon them, or anything of that sort. The only thing that may offend today is the use of the word "Eskimo" consistently (instead of "Inuit") which was the historically correct term used both back in Grenfell's day (though spelt Esquimaux) and at the time of publishing. I found the book to be graceful and realistic in it's portrayal of the native peoples. I'm pleased to have come across this little treasure. The book is from an American publisher so keep your eyes open at church sales for others in the series!


  1. If you ever find yourself in Newfoundland, I'd recommend visiting the Grenfell House Museum in St. Anthony.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful treat to find in the book sale! My genealogy travels back to Newfoundland, and my great grandfather's family were fisherman, so I might have to keep my eye out for a copy for myself!

    Thanks for sharing!


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