When I was 10, my family drove nearly 3,000 miles from Columbus, Ohio, to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, stopping in Winnipeg and Edmonton to visit friends, then taking small planes north to our new home, Gjoa Haven, in present-day Nunavut. I celebrated my first Dominion Day—now Canada Day, studied Inuktitut at school, and fell in love with a land of stunning wilderness and friendly people.
Despite sharing a lengthy border, U.S. citizens famously know far too little about Canada, and (perhaps due to perceptions around marketability) Canadian authors frequently write books situated in generic North American settings or explicitly in the U.S. Fortunately, there are a number of Canadian presses publishing wonderfully, proudly Canadian books. Try these recent and upcoming releases (and check out children’s editor Vicky Smith’s column in this issue for Canadian children’s books):
Fascinating visual elements add a rich dimension to the tale of an emotionally wounded girl in need of solace in Opheliaby Charlotte Gingras, illustrated by Daniel Sylvestre, and translated from the French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou (March 6),from Groundwood Books.
Annick Press’ Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones (March 13) is the exquisite, haunting story of a gay Anishinaabe boy navigating grief, depression, and the ups and downs of intricate community bonds as he seeks to make his way through an often hostile world.
Inspired by Canada's history of colonization of First Nations peoples, the fantasy novel Flight by Jae Waller (April 3), from ECW Press, features a lush, intricately developed world of vivid imagination and breathtaking detail reminiscent of British Columbia.
Orca Book Publisher’s How Far We Go and How Fast by Nora Decter (Sept. 25) takes place in the depths of a Manitoba winter and relates the struggles of two siblings with musical talents in a dysfunctional white working-class family. It also touches on the legacies of poverty and racism that affect Ojibwa residents. Laura Simeon is the young adult editor.