A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
by Candace Savage (Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation, 2012
You could introduce students to A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape by writing the title and subtitle on the board. Ask students to look closely at the author’s chosen title and subtitle and predict what elements of nonfiction will be included in her book.
• What does the term “geography” suggest (e.g., not just physical geography and the environment, but also the geography of human systems, culture, and society)?
• What do “unearthing memory” and “from a prairie landscape” suggest (e.g., memory suggests memoir and maybe cultural history; unearthing memory from a landscape suggests elements of geology, human history, and natural history)?
Tell students that, in selecting Savage’s book as the winner of the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, jury members described A Geography of Blood as “part memoir, part history, part geological survey, part lament, part condemnation of the accepted myth of the settlement of the Western Plains, and above all, a haunting meditation on time and place.”
Suggest to students that as they read the excerpts from Savage’s book, they keep the jury’s description in mind.
See the teaching resource for more lesson ideas.
Cross-curricular Suggestions: Geography, Social Studies, Environmental Studies, Canadian History
A study of A Geography of Blood could help students understand and appreciate various aspects of human systems, society, and culture, as well as the geographic themes of location, place, movement, regions, and the interactions between humans and their physical environment.