Canada Reads 2021

The year 2020 was a year like no other. With the 2021 Canada Reads debates about to begin — and celebrating their 20th year! — we are reminded that books can be a safe place to go when times are tough. Whether you're reading to escape your daily cares, to explore new perspectives or simply to lift your spirits, these stories of perseverance, discovery and resilience will transport you across Canada, around the world and to worlds beyond. 

Over four days, the five champions will bring their diverse perspectives to this year's theme: One Book to Transport Us.

TEACHER GUIDES: In this collection, you'll find author videos, book excerpts, classroom activities and more for the 2021 books. And don't forget to check out the How to Use Canada Reads in the Classroom teacher guide.

Watch or listen to CBC's Canada Reads debates March 8-11, 2021 at cbc.ca/canadareads.

  • 2018
  • 13-14
  • 26 Titles

Included in this collection

CBC Books Canada Reads 2021: Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Francesca Ekwuyasi's debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread, is a literary feast for the mind, the soul and the senses. Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family ...
  • 2021
  • 00:14:59
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/03/2021

CBC Books Canada Reads 2021: Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Natalie Zina Walschots is a writer and journalist from Toronto. She is also the author of the poetry collections DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains and Thumbscrews. Hench is her first novel. Hench is a novel about Anna, a woman who pays the bills by doing administrative work for villains. But when an incident involving the world's most popular superhero leaves ...
  • 2021
  • 00:13:51
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/02/2021

CBC Books Canada Reads 2021: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Set in a fantasy land named Chasland that feels like the Regency era in England, The Midnight Bargain is a fantasy about a woman named Beatrice Clayborn who makes her debut at "bargaining season" — an annual event where wealthy young men and women gather from all over the world to make advantageous marriages. But Beatrice dreams of becoming a ...
  • 2021
  • 00:13:12
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/02/2021

CBC Books Canada Reads 2021: Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead's debut novel, is the first book by an Indigenous author to win Canada Reads. The novel centres on the life of a two-spirit Indigiqueer young man who leaves the reserve and becomes a cybersex worker in the big city to make ends meet. But he must reckon with his past when he returns home to attend ...
  • 2021
  • 00:15:45
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 03/02/2021

CBC Books Canada Reads 2021: Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee

Scott Helman is championing Two Trees Make a Forest by writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee on Canada Reads 2021. In her memoir, Lee returns to her mother's homeland of Taiwan to understand the landscape that shaped her family — and in turn, shapes her. The book intertwines her grandparents' histories, the political history of Taiwan and the island's ...
  • 2021
  • 00:14:06
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 02/23/2021

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