Nimbus Publishing
ISBN: 978-1771085410

About The Story

It's 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The First World War is raging and the Halifax Harbour is bustling with activity. For twelve-year-old Livy and her fifteen-year-old brother Will, life goes on in spite of anti-German prejudice and the rumours surrounding their German-born father.

On the morning of December 6, Will is following his usual routine while Livy finds herself in a most unusual situation. Before she can get out of it, the unthinkable happens. A flash of light, thunder rolling underground and, in an instant, an explosion that changes their world forever. What caused it? Who was to blame? How do the survivors even begin to rebuild their shattered lives?


The Story Behind the Story

When I was in my early teens, my dad gave me a book called Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan. It was a gripping account of the Halifax Explosion, a disaster that was also a family story: my future grandfather, a teenager at the time, had been in Halifax on that fateful day. Fortunately, he survived. And I became hooked on anything that had to do with the events of December 6, 1917.

During a visit to Halifax in the early 1990s, I spent time in the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia to find out more about the Explosion. Three subsequent visits led to more research and interviews and the writing of No Safe Harbour for Scholastic's Dear Canada series. I figured the Explosion would be out of my system by then—after all, it's not the most cheerful of subjects—but I still wanted to write about it. This time, I wanted a stand-alone book that explored the topic from a different point of view and examined such issues as social class, blame and prejudice, as well as the unlikely human bonds that arise in times of tragedy.


Lawson's nuanced telling keeps us on edge, hoping moment by moment that her characters will survive against the odds .… Not a detail is wasted; nothing feels untrue or fabricated….
Lawson's economy in creating a layered and utterly convincing story makes it appealing to readers of all ages. The War and its climate of anti-German hysteria form a subtle backdrop, raised by the mystery that surrounds Ernst Schneider's—Livy and Will's German-born father's—death at sea. Suspicions around his activities dramatize the paranoia that arose at the time about German nationals being spies, amid rumours that Germans caused the Explosion. At the inquiry that soon followed the disaster, the urge to lay blame and find scapegoats adds further tension to Livy and Will's story in this thoughtful interweaving of fiction and fact."

Atlantic Books Today

A wonderful and beautifully written novel. The appealing main characters, emotional realism and searing descriptions make this dramatic event immediate and unforgettable."

Kit Pearson, Winner of the Governor-General's Award for Children's Literature


Where to Buy this book

A Blinding Light is available:

1. at your local bookstore or children's bookstore.
2. by placing an order with your local bookstore or online bookseller.
3. directly from the publisher, Nimbus Publishing.
4. as an e-book from many e-book sellers.