Canada Reads 2018


Forgiveness intertwines the compelling stories of Mark Sakamoto's grandparents as war rips their lives and their humanity out of their grasp.

Mark Sakamoto

Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto is being defended by Jeanne Beker on Canada Reads 2018.

When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Ralph found himself one of the many Canadians captured by the Japanese in December 1941. He would live out his war in a prison camp, enduring beatings, starvation, electric feet and a journey on a hell ship to Japan, watching his friends and countrymen die all around him. Mitsue and her family were ordered out of their home and were packed off to a work farm in rural Alberta, leaving many of their possessions behind. By the end of the war, Ralph was broken but had survived. The Sakamotos lost everything when the community centre housing their possessions was burned to the ground, and the $25 compensation from the government meant they had no choice but to start again.

Forgiveness intertwines the compelling stories of Ralph MacLean and the Sakamotos as the war rips their lives and their humanity out of their grasp. But somehow, despite facing such enormous transgressions against them, the two families learned to forgive. Without the depth of their forgiveness, this book's author, Mark Sakamoto, would never have existed. (From HarperCollins)

From the book

It started out innocently enough. I should not have been caught unawares. Grandpa Ralph does have a habit of travelling with one family member at a time. I can't quite pin down when that began. Cousin Christine went with him to Hawaii. Uncle Blake accompanied him to China. He wants to show his family the world. When my turn came, I was just wrapping up my first year of law school in Halifax. He rang me up. He knew I had not spoken to my mom in months. Neither had he. 

"Thinking about going home. Thought maybe I might swing by Halifax and take you with me."

This was a trip of a lifetime. His lifetime. It would almost certainly be the last time he returned home. He made no bones about that.

From Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto ©2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Panellist interviews

The Canada Reads defenders and authors took the stage in Toronto to discuss the five books that will be championed on CBC's battle of the books from March 26-29, 2018. Here and Now's Gill Deacon hosted the event in the Glenn Gould Studio. 1:07:45
This morning is a big day for books in Canada — it's the day that we get to find out this year's panellists and their book choices for Canada Reads 2018. This year's battle of the books will revolve around the theme "One Book to Open Your Eyes," celebrating titles that challenge readers to look differently at themselves, their neighbours and the world around them. All five of the panellists — Jully Black, Mozhdah Jamalzadah, Tahmoh Penikett, Greg Johnson, Jeanne Beker — join guest host Laurie Brown in the q studio to reveal their choices for the book they think all Canadians should read. 14:24

Authors Interviews

Mark Sakamoto's grandparents went through much hardship during WWII. But instead of being bitter, they taught Sakamoto about forgiveness, and now it's documented in a new book. 10:52

The Canada Reads 2018 contenders


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