Canada Reads 2020

Five books, five champions, one winner: CBC's annual Battle of the Books has been getting people listening, watching and reading since 2001. Canada Reads is a "literary Survivor," with celebrities championing books. Books are voted "off the bookshelf" until one book is chosen as the title the whole country should read this year. The 2020 theme is One book to bring Canada into focus. In this collection, hear from the writers of this year's shortlisted books, past Canada Reads champions on their debating tips, and past contenders.

Below, check out our How to Use Canada Reads in the Classroom teacher guide, along with book excerpts and backgrounders for the 2020 books.

Watch or listen to CBC's Canada Reads debates July 20-23, 2020 at cbc.ca/canadareads.

  • 2018
  • 13-14
  • 21 Titles

Included in this collection

CBC Books Canada Reads 2020: Cory Doctorow on Radicalized

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow collects four science fiction novellas, all of which explore ethical questions surrounding how technology is abused on both personal and corporate levels. Cory Doctorow is a Toronto-born science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger.
  • 2020
  • 00:06:26
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/02/2020

CBC Books Canada Reads 2020: Samra Habib on We Have Always Been Here

Samra Habib's first book spans continents — from Pakistan to Canada — as Habib describes her long journey through religious persecution, racism and embracing her identity as a queer Muslim woman. Samra Habib is a journalist, photographer and activist based in Toronto.
  • 2020
  • 00:04:05
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/02/2020

Teacher Guide(s)

  • How to use Canada Reads in the classroom

  • Canada Reads 2020: Backgrounder on We Have Always Been Here (PDF)

  • Canada Reads 2020: Backgrounder on We Have Always Been Here (PPT)

  • Canada Reads 2020: We Have Always Been Here excerpt (PDF)

CBC Books Canada Reads 2020: Eden Robinson on Son of a Trickster

In Son of a Trickster, celebrated Haisla and Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson tells the story of a 16-year-old named Jared who is known in his community for making the best weed cookies and for having a scary mom. Jared takes care of his struggling family the best he can and shrugs off the fact that the ravens are talking to ...
  • 2020
  • 00:07:20
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/28/2020

CBC Books Canada Reads 2020: Jesse Thistle on From the Ashes

Métis-Cree writer Jesse Thistle talks about how our own story can emerge from getting the "small fragments of our experience" down on the page. In his memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way, Thistle describes how he transformed his life — from being homeless and struggling with addiction to winning awards in academia. ...
  • 2020
  • 00:05:57
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/27/2020

CBC Books Canada Reads 2020: Megan Gail Coles on Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Megan Gail Coles talks about her novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club and explains why she warns the reader, “This might hurt a little. Be brave.” Her novel revolves around a cast of flawed characters connected to a St. John's restaurant called The Hazel. They are implicated in each other's hopes, dreams and pains as they ...
  • 2020
  • 00:07:14
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/26/2020

CBC Books Canada Reads 2019: Lindsay Wong on The Woo-Woo

In this video Lindsay Wong discusses The Woo-Woo, her dark, witty and touching memoir that gives an honest account of the impact of mental illness on her family. The Vancouver-based writer delivers a raw and emotional look at whispered secrets, dysfunctional relationships — and how her grandmother, mother, aunt and even herself initially blamed the mythical "woo-woo," Chinese spirits that plague ...
  • 2019
  • 00:03:02
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/27/2019

CBC Books Canada Reads 2019: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette on Suzanne

In this video Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette discusses Suzanne, an English translation of her celebrated 2015 novel La femme qui fuit. Barbeau-Lavalette’s novel is an imagined account of the life of her estranged grandmother. A novel that blurs the lines between fact and fiction, Suzanne tells the story of more than eight decades of art and political history through its portrait of a conflicted woman and ...
  • 2019
  • 00:05:35
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/27/2019

CBC Books Canada Reads 2019: Max Eisen on By Chance Alone

In this video Max Eisen discusses his deeply moving memoir By Chance Alone. When Eisen was 15 years old he and his family were taken from their home to Auschwitz, where he worked as a slave labourer. He survived the Holocaust and emigrated to Canada in 1949. Eisen has toured the world, educating people about the horrors he survived during the ...
  • 2019
  • 00:04:32
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/27/2019