Explore Canadian heritage through these works that depict a significant person, event or story in Canadian history. They reflect and celebrate social values such as tolerance, fairness, courage and resourcefulness.


Children’s Books

Owls & Loons: Inuit Art from Cape Dorset by Zoe Katherine Burke

In Nunavut territory, Inuit artists share their culture through art in this treasured collection of stories which often feature owls, loons and other Arctic birds.

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole

In this wordless picture book, a young Southern farm girl discovers a freedom seeker formerly held in bondage and forced to perform labor under threat of physical mistreatment or death hiding behind the corn crib in the barn and decides to help him.

Meet Viola Desmond by Elizabeth MacLeod

This picture book tells the story of a civil rights trailblazer who refused to allow white culture to tell her where she could sit in a movie theatre, got arrested, and brought her quest for freedom to the courts.

Fierce: Women Who Shaped Canada by Lisa Dalrymple

The women highlighted in this book performed amazing feats that went unrecognized for centuries. Get to know Marguerite de la Roque, Ttha'naltther, Catherine Schubert, Charlotte Small, Alice Freeman, Lucile Hunter, Ada Annie Jorda, Victoria Cheung, Mona Parsons, and Joan Bamford Fletcher!

Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz

Secretly practicing baseball so he can join the Asahis, a Japanese Canadian baseball team, Kenny’s dream is shattered when his family is placed in a Japanese internment camp. This story offers a gentle introduction to the plight of persons of Japanese descent in Canada during WWII.


Adult Non-Fiction

Who Killed the Avro Arrow? By Chris Gainor

This book offers an in-depth examination of the international politics, pressures and personalities behind Canada’s controversial decision to mothball the sophisticated jet fighter, the Avro Arrow.

Nurse at the Top of the World by Gloria Hunter-Alcock

This biography relates the adventures of a young Canadian nurse who lived and worked for several years in the Canadian Arctic, providing healthcare to the Inuit people.

A Peter Gzowski Reader by Peter Gzowski

This anthology of Peter Gzowski’s writing covers a variety of pieces across many roles he held. He contextualizes each chapter with personal stories. It includes his well-known work on social issues and selections he wrote on several well-known Canadians. 

The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon

This riveting account of the largest explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb relates the details of the catastrophic collision as well as tales of survival and heroism that rose from the ashes.

The North-West is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel’s People, the Metis Nation by Jean Teillet

Metis author Jean Teillet fills in a missing chapter in the white settler narrative of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. It shares some of the untold story of the Metis nation: their initial battle for survival and their subsequent reputation for military skills, nomadic life, and buffalo hunts.


Adult Fiction

The Letter Opener by Kyo Iona Maclear

This luminous novel about a mail sorter who searches for clues to match undeliverable mail with addresses takes on layers as she investigates her missing Romanian co-worker and uncovers comparable family history. 

Song of Batoche by Maia Caron

This intriguing story based on the Riel Rebellion involves multiple alliances and agendas as characters converge on the brink of change. A peek into the hidden history behind Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This compelling novel reveals the experience of freedom seekers formerly held in bondage and forced to perform labor under threat of physical mistreatment or death who left the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia only to discover the resettlement was steeped in its own form of repression.

Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings

This richly detailed period mystery set more than a century ago features a Canadian detective who investigates realistic crimes of the time.

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Inspired by a real incident, this morally complex novel explores the experience of a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage to reach Canada only to face the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism.


Learn more about Canadian History Week here.