Elma Schemenauer is the author of 75 books, mostly educational titles published in Canada and the USA. Born near the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan, Elma Schemenauer first learned the traditions of her extended Mennonite family. After teaching for several years, she moved into a publishing career in Toronto. In 2006, she and her husband Robert relocated to Kamloops.

In her adult novel, Consider the Sunflowers (Borealis 2014), it's 1940 and Tina Janz doesn't want to marry the man her pious Mennonite parents have chosen for her. He's as boring as turnips compared with her half-Gypsy boyfriend Frank Warkentin. Obsessed with the dashing Frank, Tina leaves her job in Vancouver to marry him. However, her joy is soon overshadowed by loneliness on Frank's farm in the prairie community of Coyote, Saskatchewan. When he shuns local Mennonites because some of them scorn his mixed parentage, Tina feels torn between her Mennonite heritage and her husband. Their son's death drives the couple farther apart. Then fresh challenges send them stumbling toward a new understanding of love, loyalty, faith, and freedom.

In 2017, Elma Schemenauer's YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure (Borealis $19.95) will present thirty historical tales from the 1200s to the 1900s. Subjects include the lost Vancouver-based ship Baychimo to the mysterious chapel bell in Tadoussac, Quebec. And then there's Tom Sukkanen, the Minnesota farmer who walked to Saskatchewan and build an ocean-going ship on his prairie farm. As well as Ontario's daring Lady Agnes, Nova Scotia's migrating Normanites, gold-seekers in Alberta, and a Manitoba Cree chief who gave his life for the woman he loved. 978-0-88887-650-8

Elma Schemenauer's mother, Agatha, worked in Vancouver as a young woman. She was one of the "Daughters in the City"; described in Ruth Derksen Siemens' book of that name. Agatha eventually left to marry her sweetheart back in rural Saskatchewan, a life that was fictionalized in Consider the Sunflowers in which the mMain character, Tina Janz, leaves Vancouver to marry the bad boy of her Saskatchewan Mennonite community.

Elma Martens Schemenauer is a first-generation daughter of Russian Mennonite immigrants to Saskatchewan. She spent her early years in a farming community between Elbow and Davidson, Saskatchewan. This community, in the rural municipality of Willner, later inspired the fictional setting for her novel Consider the Sunflowers.

Growing up, Elma enjoyed her relatives' stories about Russia and their first years in Saskatchewan. Mennonites were a minority in her community, which was mainly Scandinavian and British. However, the Mennonites maintained their traditions and their own church, where Elma sometimes played the organ for the singing.

After high school in Elbow, Elma attended Briercrest Bible Institute (now College) at Caronport, Saskatchewan. She graduated with a diploma in Christian education. Later she attended the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto, earning a BA in English and psychology, and qualifying as a teacher.

Elma began her teaching career in Saskatchewan. Then, under the auspices of the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions and Services, she taught English in Nova Scotia. From teaching she moved into a publishing career in Toronto, where she enjoyed many years of editing and writing.



Consider the Sunflowers (Borealis 2014) 978-0-88887-575-4 $19.95

Jacob Jacobs Gets Up Early (Nimbus) 1-55109-030-9

Yesterstories series. Four books of historical short stories published by Prentice Hall & Globe/Modern
Fish and Ships 0-88996-039-9,
The Lost Lemon Mine 0-88996-030-5,
The Ghostly Trapper 0-88996-028-3,
The Lady with the Missing Finger 0-88996-032-1


Picture book published by McClelland & Stewart
Newton McTootin and the Bang Bang Tree 0702-6803

Two values picture books published by Grolier
What It Means to Be a Friend 07172-2225-X, What It Means to Be Responsible 0-7172-2226-8


Three books published by Weigl
Ottawa 0-896990-49-5, Victoria 0-896990-53-3, Calgary 0-896990-51-7

Published by Children's Press of Chicago
New True Book: Canada 0-516-01056-4

Thirteen books published by Child's World of Chanhassen, Minnesota
Brazil 1-56766-579-7,
Canada 1-56766-914-X,
England 1-56766-735-X,
Ethiopia 1-56766-713-9,
Guatemala 1-56766-578-0,
Haiti 1-56766-715-5,
Iran 1-56766-738-4,
Israel 1-56766-600-0,
Japan 1-56766-371-0,
The Philippines 1-56766-601-9,
Russia 1-56766-582-9,
Somalia 1-56766-911-5,
Uganda 1-56766-914-X

Sixteen books published by GLC-Silver Burdett
Hello Calgary 0-88874-251-7, Hello Charlottetown 0-88874-252-5, Hello Edmonton 0-88874-253-3, Hello Fredericton 0-88874-254-1, Hello Halifax 0-88874-255-X, Hello Montreal 0-88874-256-8, Hello Ottawa 0-88874-257-6, Hello Quebec City 0-88874-258-4, Hello Regina 0-88874-259-2, Hello St. Johns 0-88874-260-6, Hello Toronto 0-88874-261-4, Hello Vancouver 0-88874-262-2, Hello Victoria 0-88874-263-0, Hello Whitehorse 0-88874-264-9, Hello Winnipeg 0-88874-265-7, Hello Yellowknife 0-88874-266-5

Published by Pearson
Making History: The Story of Canada in the Twentieth Century (co-author) 0-13-083287-1

Two books published by Prentice Hall
Atlantic Canada in the Global Community (co-author) 0-13-727876-4, Counterpoints: Exploring Canadian Issues (co-author) 0-13-088877-X

Published by Scholastic of New York

Scholastic World Cultures: Canada (co-author) 0-590-34411-0


Published by Weigl
Special Canadian Communities 0-919879-16-0

Published by Nelson
Native Canadians Today and Long Ago 0-17-602328-3

Published by Farland
Jacob Siemens Family Since 1685: Includes Early Mennonites 0-921718-04-7


Two books published by Farland
The Psychology of Driving (with John Sawatsky) 0-921718-02-0, Breadspeed: Wonderful No-Knead Yeast Breads in Two Hours 0-921718-00-4

Two books published by Grolier
Salmon 0-7172-1917-8, Pronghorn Antelopes 0-7172-1933-X

Two books published by Stoddart
Free Stuff for Kids 1988 edition 0-7737-5783-X , Free Stuff for Kids 1989 edition 0-7737-5280-3

Two books published by Ginn
Starting Points in Reading D Skills Practice Book 0-7702-0728-6, Starting Points in Reading E Revised 0-7702-0675-1

Three books published by Globe/Modern
Libraries 0-88996-276-6, Shopping Malls 0-88996-252-9, Fast Food Places 0-88996-274-X


Published by Grolier
John A. Macdonald 0-7172-1948-8

Published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson
(Numerous biographies of scientists in Sciencepower series and in Biology 11, Chemistry 11, Physics 11, Biology 12, Physics 12)


Published by Hartley
The Medallists Canadian Cities


Published by Ginn
Starting Points in Language C Skills Practice Book 0-7702-0737-5, Starting Points in Language E Revised 0-7702-0675-1

Two books published by Prentice Hall & Globe/Modern
The Writing Programme 1 (with David Booth) 0-88996-178-6, The Writing Programme 2 (with David Booth) 0-88996-180-8


Published by Scholastic of New York
Scholastic World Cultures: Canada Teaching Guide (with Sarah Swartz) 0-590-34412-9

Two books published by Creative Edge of Getzville, New York
The Magnetic Way into Early Childhood Basic Language and Math Skills, The Magnetic Way into Early Childhood: The Circus Program Manual 1-56069-169-7

Published by The Wright Group of San Diego
Language Connections 4 1-55624-716-8

Six books published by Prentice Hall & Globe/Modern
Yesterstories Teachers Guide 0-88996-034-8, The Writing Programme 1 Teacher's Guide (with David Booth) 0-88996-179-4, The Writing Programme 2 Teacher's Guide (with David Booth) 0-88996-181-6, The Writing Programme: Write Away: Teacher's Guide (co-author) 0-88996-087-9, The Writing Programme: Write Along: Teacher's Guide (co-author) 0-88996-089-5, The Writing Programme: Write Again: Teacher's Guide (co-author) 0-88996-091-7

Published by Weigl
Special Canadian Communities Teachers Guide 0-91987-917-9

Published by GLC-Silver Burdett
Hello Cities Teacher Resource Book 0-88874-271-1

Two books published by Ginn
Starting Points in Reading D Teachers' Guide 0-7702-0717-0, Starting Points in Reading D Skills Practice Book: Teachers' Guide 0-7702-0728-6

Published by Science Research Associates & SEEDS (Society, Environment & Energy Development Studies)
Professional Reference Guide

Published by Prentice Hall & Globe/Modern
Yesterstories Teacher's Guide 0-88996-034-8

[BCBW 2014] "Mennonite"