The Extraordinary Life of Anna Swan

  • Intended audience: 9-12 year olds
  • Number of pages: 56
  • Publisher: Cape Breton University Press
  • Amazon
  • Indigo

On a balmy August morning in 1846, a child was born to Ann and Alexander Swan in the couple’s small wood cabin in Millbrook, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. This in itself was not odd, as home was where babies were most often born in the mid-19th century. What was surprising, however, was that Anna Swan weighed an amazing 6 kilograms (13 pounds) – almost twice the size of an average newborn.

Anna Swan grew to an astonishing size – nearly 2.5 metres (almost 8 feet) tall. She was billed as “The Nova Scotia Giant Girl” at P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York. But despite her unusual and challenging physical attributes, she rose above adversity and led a life of love, happiness and great accomplishments. This is her remarkable story.

“Renaud’s well written story fully recounts Swan’s career but she makes her subject a real person. Swan found a true love of equal stature and married but died early after surviving two tragic miscarriages. Richly illustrated with photographs and period documents, its design by Gail Jones gives it the look of a photo album or archival file. The bibliography at the back will give young aspiring historians the amount of research and reading involved in bringing a story like this to the page.” – Cape Breton Post, May 17, 2013

“Highly recommended.” CM magazine

    Rocky Mountain Book Award 2016 Nominee

    OLA’s Silver Birth Award reading list 2014-2015

    Shortlisted for the 2013 Québec Federation of Writers Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

    Long-listed for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award