— Susan Mooney, Carmen, Manitoba
— Ruth Tiessen, Kingsville, Ontario
— Robert Way, Gatineau, Quebec
Just finished reading Lost on the Prairie — I enjoyed it very much! You kept my interest throughout the whole book. Thanks for writing it. A good read for a young reader as well as an adult!!!
— Elizabeth Reimer, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
I finished reading Sixties Girl in one day. I had a hard time putting it down. I loved how the two storylines were so skillfully woven together and like Will, I kept wanting more of his grandmother’s stories. Maybe because I also grew up in the sixties the stories really resonated with me. And I loved how you didn’t shy away from the hard things lots of kids go through.
— Marguerite Newton
— Nettie Peters, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Loved Sixties Girl. Couldn’t put it down.
— Darlene Hiebert
— Kelly Weiss, Chicago, Illinois
— AnnaBeth Birky, Newton, Kansas
— Esther Dick, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Local author MaryLou Driedger used her grandfather’s story to help her write Lost on the Prairie. He was left behind in a disconnected boxcar as the family travelled from Kansas to Saskatchewan. In Driedger’s mid-level novel, set in 1907, 12-year-old Peter Schmidt faces the same calamity. There’s plenty of action and suspense as Peter spends time with an Indigenous family, helps rescue a man from quicksand, and gets stranded on a broken Ferris wheel. Peter shows resourcefulness and courage as he faces numerous hazards and learns about places (including early Winnipeg) he never knew existed. Readers ages 8-12 will find excitement on every page as they trace Peter’s journey north.
— Helen Norrie, Winnipeg Free Press – July 17th
What an adventure! It starts off with a bang and the action doesn’t let up. I know lots of students in my grade 8 class who will enjoy this book. The back matter is equally fun to read because I got to learn about the author’s connection to the story and which parts were based on fact. The main character grows and changes through his adventures. Honestly, I read this book in a day because it was such fun and so hard to put down. It will be a welcome addition in any grade 4-8 classroom. This is a gem of a book!
— Colleen Nelson’s fourteen books for children and teens have garnered a long list of awards. Her 2021 middle-grade novel Harvey Comes Home was named the Manitoba Book of the Year for Young People and was a Governor General’s Award nominee.
— Mary Fransen, Hesston, Kansas
— Peggy Martens, Altona, Manitoba
— Mari Hubbard, Ankeny, Iowa
— Penny Willis, Leamington, Ontario
— Kari Tanaka, University of Lethbridge Bookstore
— Mildred Schroeder, Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Harriet Zaidman, Winner of the 2022 Geoffry Bilson Award for Historical Fiction
— Allison Ward, Winnipeg educator
Lost on the Prairie had my attention from the first line to the last. I loved the plot, the characters, the quick pace, the details incorporated that made the time period come alive, the rich language and clever phrases that often made me chuckle… In short, I loved everything about the book. Kids and teachers are going to love it, too. and I hope the book has a long and happy life on the bestseller list where it surely belongs.
— Larry Verstraete’s sixteen books for children have garnered many awards. His latest novel Coop the Great was a 2020 honour book for the Young People’s Choice Award in Manitoba and will soon be available in Germany with Merlin Verlag Publishers.
I loved this book for a lot of reasons. 1. Strong writing. 2. Intergenerational storytelling 3. It tackles some heavy subject matter (body shaming, menstruation misinformation, racism) 4. The characters are flawed but face their problems in realistic ways. There were lots of takeaways for me and it would make an excellent read-aloud or lit circle book for grades 4-7.
— Colleen Nelson- author of seventeen books for young people. Nominated for Readers Choice Awards across Canada. Winner of Manitoba Book of the Year Award. Nominated for a Governor General's Award, Winnipeg
— Kelly Lewis, Winnipeg, Manitoba
I can recommend to you MaryLou Driedger’s Lost on the Prairie, a middle-grade historical fiction novel about a young Mennonite boy travelling from the US midwest to Saskatchewan in 1907. It is a sensitively told adventure, meticulously researched and based on her family history, that pre-teens/young teens will enjoy but that their parents can also!
— Zilla Jones, winner of The Malahat Review Open Season Fiction Contest
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely yes! What did I love about it? The historical events and historical notes. The friendship between Will, Emmaline and Aneesh. The discussion about bullying and how destructive it can be. How eager I was to read the story behind each item in the suitcase. How each chapter in the present ends with an opening into a story from the past. Reading this book made me envy Will; the time he spends with his grandmother and all the stories she tells him. I don’t have a close relationship with any of my grandmothers, and I thought Will was so lucky. Thanks to the author for letting me pretend I was listening to my grandmother. If you know any young readers who want to explore history in a simple and heartwarming way, Sixties Girl is a good book to start with.
— Book Blossom Instagram
— Julie Driedger, Leamington, Ontario
— Joel Driedger, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Just finished Sixties Girl. What a pleasure to read! You are an accomplished author! Congratulations! I will be passing the book along to the young people in our family and have recommended it to our library.
— Susan Mooney, Carmen, Manitoba
— Ted and Joanne Ewert, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Lost on the Prairie is a terrific read and full of great adventures. The author really lets you get inside the hero Peter’s head. I was holding my breath in so many places in the book including when Peter almost missed the train in Winnipeg. I really admired the research that was done to make the story authentic. I loved that Mark Twain is in the book as a real person. I also liked the combination of fiction and real life and the family photos that were included. I look forward to the author’s next book.
— Beryl Young is the award-winning author of novels, picture books, and biographies for children. Her latest book Show Us Where You Live Humpback was just released in May 2021 by Greystone Kids.
I am loving your book. It is tremendous! Believe me when I say it is spectacular and the study guide is the best I have ever seen.
— Jodi Carmichael, Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Erin Thomas, teacher-librarian, Winnipeg
Sixties Girl was so interesting that I could hardly put it down! Congratulations on another well-written, engaging book for children and adults alike!
— Pat Boese, Winnipeg
I really enjoyed Sixties Girl. Reading Laura and Will’s stories created a domino effect triggering memories and stories from my own childhood.
— Shannon Kehler, Steinbach
Lost on the Prairie is a fast-paced adventure portraying the demands and dangers of prairie life at the turn of the twentieth century. Middle year readers will readily engage in the excitement and challenges Peter faces in this work of historical fiction. Lost on the Prairie will not only be a popular read for the intended audience, but it will be one that parents and grandparents will enjoy sharing. Highly Recommended!
— Janice Foster, retired teacher and teacher librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Even though I was familiar with the fantastic cover design of your book, I was still surprised when I finally held it in my hands for the first time. It is such a pleasure to hold. I love its size. It is small but satisfyingly thick — not too thick but happily substantial. I’m enjoying Peter’s voice, point of view, and adventures.
— Erin Unger, Steinbach, Manitoba
As a former educator, I soooo enjoyed this book. It was a quick, engaging read. It kept me wanting to continue reading to find out what happens to Peter. The development and evolution of the story had interesting twists and turns. I kept thinking about what reading Lost on the Prairie would be like with my former students and what their reactions would be. It brought back memories of specific students who I know would love the book. Bringing in Mennonite and First Nation cultures is an opportunity for great discussions. The bonus for teachers is the Study Guide. Well done!
— Barbara Walker, Edmonton, Alberta
In this thoughtful middle-grade novel, the past deftly intersects with the present. His grandmother’s old suitcase, stuffed with random objects, becomes eleven-year-old Will’s portal to both family and world history, and to a better understanding of himself. An empowering book about sharing stories, Sixties Girl is sure to stimulate conversation between generations.
— Gabriele Goldstone, Author. Winner of the Golden Moonbeam and Silver Moonbeam Awards for Historical Fiction, Winnipeg
The challenge for a writer of fiction is always the delicate relationship between fact and fiction; without fact, it would be fantasy. MaryLou has faced this challenge in her most recent novel, Lost on the Prairie, where she artfully draws on the lives and experiences of her family going back as far as a hundred years. What to many would be seen as relatively ordinary events and unremarkable people, MaryLou has transformed into a spellbinding story of the adventures of a 12-year-old boy. Far from being just a children’s story, Lost on the Prairie has appeal to adults as well as seniors.
— Dr Esther Matz, author of the Pineview Mystery Series, Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Meena Stephen, Hong Kong, China
The twists and turns of the 1960s are the backdrop of MaryLou Driedger’s new novel, which whisks adolescent readers back to an era of rapid change with more than a few parallels to the present. Sixties Girl is the coming-of-age story of Laura, a girl who is grappling with transformations happening close to home and around the world. Set in 1960s and present-day Winnipeg, the book follows Laura as she navigates the ups and downs of adolescence. A grown-up Laura also recounts her eventful childhood to her grandson, Will, who finds contemporary echoes in the decades-old stories.
— Jordan Ross, The Carillon
— Ella Munro, Teacher Librarian, Winnipeg
— Ernest Klassen, Steinbach, Manitoba
— Lori Emilson, curriculum support teacher, Ashern, Manitoba
Set in the early twentieth century, Lost on the Prairie is a well-researched and imaginative coming-of-age story for young readers.
— Manitoba Book Awards Jury
MaryLou Driedger has deftly woven together a historical fiction story of a girl growing up in the fast-changing 1960s and a contemporary story of a boy dealing with bullying, making new friends, and learning how to trust. Both storylines are compelling in their own right, and together they form this beautifully written novel that lets us sink into each character’s coming-of-age journey. Sixties Girl is a captivating page-turner that I did not want to end! Fans of Driedger’s first book, Lost on the Prairie, will not be disappointed!
— Jodi Carmichael, Author, Winner of a Manitoba Book Award, Silver Moonbeam Award and Silver Benjamin Franklin Award, Winnipeg
— Aria Klaasen, student at the St. Anne Collegiate, Manitoba
— Pat Boese, Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Lynn Froese, Winnipeg
Sixties Girl has this great message about the value of spending time with older generations. If we will sit down and listen to their stories there is so much they have to teach us.
— Spencer Miller, – Top Grade Lit for Canadian Classrooms
I loved your book, Lost on the Prairie. It really captured the prairie flavour that the US and Canada have in common.
— Diane Driedger, Winnipeg, Manitoba
— Pam Unrau, Steinbach, Manitoba
I suppose all story writers are story ‘weavers’ to some extent…but that is the word that kept coming to mind as I read the chapters of Sixties Girl. This story is beautifully woven! Laura’s voice, Will’s voice, moments in history, items in the suitcase, interactions of family and friends, personal fears and shared celebrations, past and present, youth and senior….there are SO many strong and colourful threads woven together so very nimbly and skillfully! Thank you for this memorable piece of fabric! Being a sixties girl, too, I connected with several threads you have woven!
— Debbie Jackson, Steinbach
My son and I just finished reading Lost on the Prairie. Loved it!
— Tara Klassen, Steinbach, Manitoba
A great adventure story for middle-grade boys. Historical fiction about family always interests me. In this book, the protagonist gets lost during an immigration journey from Kansas to Saskatchewan. Inspired by a true story! The author seems to have researched the South Dakota Indigenous Peoples with great care and detail. In general, the book appears well-researched. I loved the writing . . . the strong verbs, the visual details, the clever connection to 1907 reading material, and Peter’s connection to animals. Kids will love it.
— Gabriele Goldstone is the author of The Kulak’s Daughter, a Resource Links Best of 2010 selection that received a Silver Moonbeam Award. The follow-up, Broken Stone, was Highly Recommended by CM Reviews. Both books were shortlisted for Manitoba Book Awards. Her latest novel Tainted Amber spent several weeks on the McNally Robinson Bestseller list.
I enjoyed reading Sixties Girl. You are a gifted writer and I’m excited to purchase more copies to give to our nieces and nephews!
— Erin Unger, Steinbach
Lost on the Prairie is a spellbinding story of twelve-year-old Peter Schmidt moving from Kansas to Saskatchewan. The first chapter hooks you and you can’t put it down. You are on pins and needles wondering if Peter will make it to his destination. This novel is a treasure!!
— Pat Trottier, Winnipeg, Manitoba
By using a beloved grandparent’s recollections as a framing device, Driedger makes moments in local and global history real and rooted in a perspective children can understand. While the topics broached are serious, Driedger tells them with compassion and understanding, softening the subject matter for younger readers without robbing them of their significance.
— Tessa Riggs, Toronto – Canadian Review of Materials
— Barb Lane, Steinbach, Manitoba
I loved Sixties Girl. Thank you for sharing this story. Brilliant and wonderful.
— Simone Penner, Winnipeg
Although the author had a middle-school audience in mind, Lost on the Prairie is a fabulous read for all ages. The story follows a young boy who gets separated from his family as they travel to Canada, and he must find his way alone, across the immense prairie landscape.
— Millie Hildebrand, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Bought Sixties Girl today at McNally-Robinson and read it from start to finish! It was very engaging!
— Joan Fransen, Winnipeg
— Adelia Neufeld Wiens, Winnipeg, Manitoba
As a sixties girl myself I was intrigued when I saw Sixties Girl was an addition to our local library as I was scanning the new releases. The novel was full of references that brought back many memories for me. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I’ve already recommended the book to a few of my grandmother’s friends.
— Val Guillemin, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Listening to stories told by his grandmother about growing up in the 1960s compels young Will to ask hard questions about his own relationships with friends and family. Heartfelt, warm, rich in details, meticulously researched, and complete with intriguing historical notes, MaryLou Driedger’s Sixties Girl adeptly brings the era to life.
— Larry Verstraete, Author, Winner of the Silver Birch Award, Red Cedar Award, McNally Robinson Books for Young People Award
I just finished Sixties Girl and loved it. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I wanted to hear more of Grandma’s stories. I could identify with so much of it since I was very much a sixties girl myself. Thanks for an awesome read.
— Rita Enns, Leamington, Ontario
— Marge Giesbrecht, Landmark, Manitoba
Loved Sixties Girl! So many of the exploits were familiar, as someone who also grew up in the sixties. I so enjoyed your use of a grandparent sharing stories of their adventures. I know your book will be a great success!
— Rita Burgess, Winnipeg
The book was so well written, holding my interest throughout. Sixties Girl has many poignant and honest stories and you will want to read them even if you are not in the 9-12 age group the book is written for. I found the recurring theme of the old German lullaby Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf, so comforting. I liked that Driedger did not gloss over the difficulties of the young people in the story. I did find it interesting that many of Laura’s stories are set in Rocky Creek. Could this be a “take off” on Steinbach? My verdict? This book is well worth reading.
— Betty Koop from a longer review in the June 2023 issue of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society Newsletter