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 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: 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

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: 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 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 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