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A Ribbon of Shining Steel

A Ribbon of Shining Steel
The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron

By Julie Lawson

ISBN: 978-0-439-98848-3 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4431-2814-8 Ebook
208 pages | Ages 8-12 | 5 3/8" x 7 5/8"

Kate's father is a builder for the Canadian Pacific Railway as it snakes its way across the mountains and through the Fraser Canyon. Everyone is excited about the 'Iron Horse' but building the railroad is a treacherous undertaking. Kate is always thinking about her father's safety, and the Accident Hospital next door is a constant reminder of the hazards the railroad brings. There is tremendous excitement surrounding the creation of the transcontinental railroad despite the danger as Kate, her town, and all of Canada eagerly await its completion.

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From Kate's diary:

Monday, August 28, 1882, 7 P.M.

Hell's Gate and Galoshes! I am well pleased today — and thankful for God's tender mercies. After the events of yesterday, I might not have had a today.

This is what happened. I was spending the week's end at Rachel's farm in Spuzzum and Rachel came up with a daring idea. We would follow the Wagon Road to a spot near the Alexandra Suspension Bridge where her brothers keep their boat, then we would borrow the boat and float a short distance downriver.

The Fraser was low and everything was fine at first, but it was a wild stretch of water and it was not long before we panicked and decided to end the Adventure. We steered the boat to shore — with great difficulty — and Rachel jumped out with rope in hand. The plan was for me to jump out as well, but before I had a chance to, the current dragged the rope out of Rachel's hands and I was adrift and flying down the Canyon.

The river was boiling with spray and seething with treacherous whirlpools — but in spite of my terror I noticed a large flat rock a few feet from shore. I took hold of the rope and with heart in hands leapt out upon the rock, waded to shore, tied the boat to a tree and climbed the rocky bluff, goodness knows how.

Later Papa told me I should use my Diary to record "lessons learned," beginning with my foray on the river. Here is my first Lesson Learned: Next time I will be the first to leap out of the boat.

Same Day, 9 P.M. In case anyone dares to read my Diary (warning: Toby), "Hell's Gate" is not a blasphemy even tho' it contains the word H___. It is a real place on the Canyon so I can say it.

From Dear Canada: A Ribbon of Shining Steel, copyright © 2002 by Julie Lawson.


I loved this book! I finished it in two days. It was SOOOOOO interesting.
Grace A., Age: 11, New Brunswick, Rating: 10

I love this book!! Kate does things that I can't dream of doing, and it is fun to read. Also I have read the series and have almost all the books, so this book will be on the shelf with the others!! DEAR CANADA ROCKS!!!
Zoe B., Age: 12, Ontario, Rating: 10

I love this book so much! It's amazing! It's so cool because Kate is so much like me that it's kinda scary : ) This is my favorite Dear Canada! It's not too sad, which is good because I prefer happier books.
Kate A., Age: 13, Ontario, Rating: 10

Really good book, I loved it. Just loved how she writes words and the meanings.
Clarity W., Age: 14, Newfoundland and Labrador, Rating: 8

It was so hard to put this book down! I ended up staying up really late to figure out what was going to happen next. When I finished it, our unit in social studies unit was all about the same topic! That was when I realized that Andrew Onderdonk was actually a real person, & I ended up being really interested to learn more about the story!
Mikayla S., Age 10, Alberta, Rating: 10

I love this book!! It is lovely. I like how Kate Cameron is so smartly mischievous in a way. Kind of like me. This is so good because it gives you a flashback of that time and makes you interested in the city or town it takes place in and makes you want to be in Yale in 1882. Out of all the Dear Canada books this is my absolute favorite. P.S I think they should make one that takes place at Sylvan Lake, Alberta or High River, Alberta.
Nicholas C., Age 10, Alberta, Rating: 10

I love this book one of my favs :)
Colbie M., Age 11, New Brunswick, Rating: 10

This is a wonderful story of courage and adventure. A Ribbon of Shining Steel is a thrilling story with very realistic situations that are described perfectly. It is exactly what life on the railway of British Columbia would be like in my mind. Kate is vey realistic and easy to fall in love with. I captivated with her and you will to if you read this amazing tale of adversity and strength.
Laura P., Age 12, British Columbia, Rating: 10

Loved this book!!!! Kate has the same name as me! And she and I would have been the best of friends because we are alike in many ways. It is my favorite Dear Canada boom and it always will be and the author was very clever to write this. When I'm older I'm going to write a Dear Canada book, and her name will be Rachel, after Kate’s best friend, thank you.
Kathleen (Kate) C., Age: 12, Saskatchewan, Rating: 10