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Sask. author inspires award-winning Holodomor lesson plans

Rhea Good's novel, Bottle of Grain inspired Pamela Clark's award winning lesson plan
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The statue commemorating Holodomor, a copy of Petro Drozdowksy’s "Bitter Memories of Childhood," stand in Wascana Park in Regina.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Rhea Good, a Battleford author, teacher, and avid gardener, is continuing to help students understand the effects of the Ukrainian famine known as the Holodomor — albeit in a slightly different way than most authors.

Pamela Clark, a Calgary-based educator, recently won the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium's teacher award for her lesson plans. Plans that were based on Rhea Good's children's book, Bottle of Grain.

"While Russia continues to deny famine-genocide ever happened, the eye-witness accounts of Maria Soroka and scores of Holodomor survivors tell of a different truth," said Jim Shevchuk, a local Ukraine supporter and current principal for Mclurg Highschool in Wilkie.

"Truthfulness is a core value in teaching and Rhea Good and Pamela Clark should be commended for Herculean efforts to create awareness of this dark chapter of history," he added.

Good's novel chronicles the true story of the Soroka family — told through the eyes of Maria —  as they survived the Ukrainian famine by hiding bottles of grain, and was written and published in 2020 as an illustrated children's book. 

"While the setting is weighty for a children’s book, the narrative is presented in a way that fosters understanding and empathy, offering readers a gentle introduction to these important historical events," Shevchuk added. 

Clark originally was inspired by the book when she discovered it at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village gift shop near Edmonton.

Clark has received a $2000 prize and her lesson plans are added to the HREC website, accessible to all. Clark will be presenting her lessons titled, 'The Power of Hope' at the Calgary Teachers’ Convention in February 2024. 

"I am overjoyed to know that Bottle of Grain will reach a wider audience because of Pamela Clark's lesson plans," Good told the News-Optimist in an email statement.

"I have also done presentations using the book and I have seen with my own eyes how people are impacted by the story.

"Gratitude to Ms. Clark as we strive to share the story of Holodomor."