Books

24 Canadian books to get your dad for Father's Day

Books make great gifts. From laugh-out-loud short stories to stories about space exploration, here are some suggestions for your dad on Father's Day.

Books make great gifts. From laugh-out-loud short stories to stories about space exploration, here are some suggestions for your dad on Father's Day.

If your dad loves to laugh, try Dad Up! by Steve Patterson

Dad Up! is a book by Steve Patterson. (Penguin Canada, CBC)

Dad Up!: Long-time Comedian. First-time Father is a humorous look at fatherhood from comedian and father of two Steve Patterson. It explores what it means to be a dad in today's world, offering up unexpected wisdom and funny anecdotes. Patterson also recalls his own childhood, growing up as the youngest of five boys in an Irish Catholic household, and reflects on the lessons his father imparted to him.

Patterson is the host of CBC Radio's comedy show The Debaters. He has taped numerous nationally televised comedy specials, toured his one-man show across the country and released a comedy album. He is also the author of the humorous essay collection The Book of Letters I Didn't Know Where to Send.

Steve Patterson talks to Shelagh Rogers about Dad Up! Long-Time Comedian, First-Time Father. 15:58

If your dad misses travelling, try Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

Indians on Vacation is a novel by Thomas King. (CBC/Sinisa Jolic, HarperCollins Publishers)

Indians on Vacation is about a couple named Bird and Mimi, who decide to travel through Europe after discovering postcards from Mimi's long-lost Uncle Leroy, who sent them while on his own European adventure almost 100 years ago.

Indians on Vacation  won the 2021 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

Thomas King is a Canadian-American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. His books include Truth & Bright WaterThe Inconvenient IndianGreen Grass, Running Water and The Back of the Turtle. He also writes the DreadfulWater mystery series.

Thomas King talks about the autobiographical inspiration by his novel Indians on Vacation, which is longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. 16:47

If your dad is a hockey fan, try Call Me Indian by Fred Sasakamoose

Call Me Indian is a book by Fred Sasakamoose. (Viking, Canadian Press/Jason Franson)

Fred Sasakamoose was the first Indigenous hockey player with Treaty status to play in the NHL. He was sent to residential school when he was seven years old, and endured that horror for a decade. But he became an elite hockey player, joining the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. He only played 12 games in the NHL, but the legacy he left would have a huge impact for decades to come. Sasakamoose became an activist, dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous people through sport. He shares his story in the memoir Call Me Indian.

Sasakamoose is a member of the NHL Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada. He died in 2020.

Tributes have been pouring in for former Chicago Blackhawks player Fred Sasakmoose, one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the NHL. Sasakamoose died Tuesday after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Waubgeshig Rice spoke with Day 6 about what the hockey legend means to Indigenous players today. 8:55

If your dad follows the financial industry, try Values by Mark Carney

Values is a book by Mark Carney. (Signal, Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Values is a book by the former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney. In Values, Carney looks at the "fault lines" that divide contemporary society — racial, geographical, cultural and economic — and argues that they all stem from the same thing: a crisis of values. Carney offers a vision of a better world, and a map toward getting there.

Carney is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and the U.K.'s Finance Advisor for COP26. He was previously the Governor of the Bank of England and Governor of the Bank of Canada. He currently lives in Ottawa.

Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney shares his ideas on how Canada can come out of the COVID-19 crisis in better shape. His new book is Value(s): Building a Better World For All. 19:02

If your dad likes superheroes, try Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Natalie Zina Walschots is the author of Hench. (Submitted by Natalie Zina Walschots/CBC)

Hench is the story of a woman who pays the bills by doing administrative work for bad guys. But when an incident leaves her injured and gets her fired, she ends up realizing what happened to her isn't unique — and she might have the means to take down the so-called hero who hurt her. How? With every office workers's secret weapon: data.

Hench was championed by Paul Sun-Hyunge Lee on Canada Reads 2021.

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.

Natalie Zina Walschots on the inspiration behind her 2021 Canada Reads shortlisted novel, Hench. 16:41

If your dad is into military history, try The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell

The Bomber Mafia is a book by Malcolm Gladwell. (Celeste Solomon, Little, Brown & Company)

The Bomber Mafia is an exploration of the relationship between technology and ideology and how they come together during times of war. Malcolm Gladwell uses a range of anecdotes and stories to examine how societal structures shape human behaviour, decision-making and the spread of ideas. The Bomber Mafia looks at the deadliest night during the Second World War, and how it was caused by the collision of different approaches and beliefs about air bombing. The book builds on themes that Gladwell explored in a 2020 episode of his podcast, Revisionist History.

Malcolm Gladwell is a bestselling author, journalist and staff writer at the New Yorker. His books include The Tipping PointBlinkOutliersWhat the Dog Saw and David and GoliathHis previous book, Talking to Strangerswas one of the top 10 bestselling Canadian books of 2019.

The firebombing of Tokyo was one of the single most destructive nights of the Second World War. But before that mission, Malcolm Gladwell says there were efforts to fight less deadly wars, and to end them faster with precision bombing. Gladwell explores those efforts in his new book, The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War. 23:13

If your dad is excited for the Olympics, try My Mother's Daughter by Perdita Felicien

My Mother's Daughter is a memoir by Canadian Olympian Perdita Felicien. (Martin Brown, Doubleday Canada)

Perdita Felicien's mom Catherine was a poor young woman in St. Lucia when she was given a seemingly random, but ultimately life-changing, opportunity: to come to Canada with a wealthy white family and become their nanny. But when she gets to Canada, life is tougher than she expected, as she endures poverty, domestic violence and even homelessness. However, she still encouraged and supported her youngest daughter's athletic dreams. Felicien would go on to be a world-class hurdler and one of Canada's greatest track athletes. My Mother's Daughter is the story of these two women, and how their love for each other got them through difficult times and changed their lives.

Felicien was a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a world championship. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of CBC's team covering the Olympics. My Mother's Daughter is her first book.

Perdita Felicien draws strength from the hurdles her mother faced

The National

4 months ago
9:12
Perdita Felicien is one of Canada’s most decorated female track athletes, but her memoir focuses on the hurdles her mother faced and how that became her inspiration. 9:12

If your dad was moved by the Humboldt Broncos story, try Crossroads by Kaleb Dahlgren

Crossroads is a memoir by Kaled Dahlgren, a Humboldt Broncos crash survivor. (Collins)

On April 6, 2018, the news of a bus crash sent shock waves through Canada and around the world. The Humboldt Broncos, a junior hockey team, were travelling to an away game when a semi-truck missed a stop sign and the bus carrying the team crashed right into it. Sixteen people on board the bus were killed. Kaleb Dahlgren, the assistant captain of the team at the time, was one of the crash's 13 survivors. He shared his story of recovery, and eventually went on to study — and play hockey again — at York University. It's been three years since the crash and Dahlgren is now sharing his story in a memoir, Crossroads.

Dahlgren is a student at York University, where he plays on the varsity hockey team. Crossroads is his first book.

Kaleb Dahlgren, Humboldt crash survivor, opens up in new book 'Crossroads'

Sports

4 months ago
5:37
Humboldt Broncos crash survivor, student athlete and author Kaleb Dahlgren sits down to discuss his new book 'Crossroads' and the next chapter in his life. 5:37

If your dad runs, try Take Me Outside by Colin Harris

Take Me Outside is a book by Colin Harris. (Rocky Mountain Books)

Colin Harris had a dream: to run across Canada — 7,600km in total — and visit schools along the way to encourage kids to get outdoors and get active. The trip was a huge undertaking, mentally, physically and financially. Take Me Outside is the story of his mine-month journey, sharing the highs and lows, and the lessons Harris learned along the way.

Harris is the founder and executive director of Take Me Outside. He lives in Banff, Alta. Take Me Outside is his first book.

If your dad is creative, try The Age of Creativity by Emily Urquhart

The Age of Creativity is a book by Emily Urquhart. (The Walrus Books, Emily Urquhart)

Emily Urquhart is the daughter of writer Jane Urquhart and artist Tony Urquhart. When the family was celebrating her father's 80th birthday, Emily was struck by how her father has continued his daily artistic practice into his old age, and was even trying new forms and styles. The Age of Creativity is Urquhart's exploration into later-in-life creativity, blending the story of her father with research and the stories of other seniors finding new and dynamic creative outlets later in life.

Urquhart is a writer and folklorist currently living in Kitchener, Ont. She is also the author of the memoir Beyond the Pale.

Emily Urquhart says for a long time she assumed her father's abilities as a painter would diminish with age. But what really happened challenged conventional wisdom and her own. 25:28

If your dad loves chatting up his cab driver, try Driven by Marcello Di Cintio

Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers is a book by Marcello Di Cintio. (Biblioasis, James May)

Marcello Di Cintio explores the role of the taxi cab in contemporary culture in DrivenTaxis are both public and private space, and their small dimensions mean strangers share an intimate closeness during the duration of a trip. Di Cintio interviews several taxi drivers from different backgrounds, and attempts to make sense of the role cabs plays in our culture, while also shedding light on those who drive them, often silently and anonymously.

Di Cintio is a writer from Calgary. His other books include Walls and Pay No Heed to the Rockets. Walls won the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His work can also be found in the International New York Times, Afar and Canadian Geographic. 

In 'Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers', Marcello Di Cintio unearths the tales of a handful of Canadian cabbies, and he hears the stories you may miss if you don't pay attention. 22:53

If your dad is a soccer fan, try DeRo by Dwayne De Rosario, with Brendan Dunlop

DeRo is a book by Dwayne De Rosario. (ECW Press, Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Dwayne De Rosario is one of Canada's greatest soccer players. He played soccer professionally for 18 years. He won the MLS championship four times and was named one of the league's top 25 greatest players. He grew up in Scarborough, Ont., where his family struggled to get by. He struggled in school, and it was soccer that saved hm. He shares his journey from a street smart kid to the top of the sporting world in DeRo.

Dwayne De Rosario is one of Canada's greatest soccer players. DeRo is his first book.

Brendan Dunlop is a sports broadcaster and writer from Toronto.

If your dad misses his dad, try Measuring Up by Dan Robson

Measuring Up is a book by Dan Robson. (Viking, David Wile)

Sportswriter Dan Robson always admired his father: a loving blue-collar man who worked hard and knew how to fix things. When his father dies, Dan is hit hard. He not only misses his father, he realizes there is so much he never learned from him. So he decides to learn all the skills his father had: plumbing carpentry, basic electrical work and more. Measuring Up is the story of Dan's father, their relationship, and how Dan found ways to keep his father's memory alive.

Robson is the author of Quinn: The Life of a Hockey Legend, and the co-author of The Crazy Game with Clint Malarchuk, Change Up with Buck Martinez and Killer with Doug Gilmour. He is currently a senior writer at The Athletic.

Journalist Dan Robson explores what it means to lose a parent in his new memoir, Measuring Up. 24:36

If your dad likes reading about fathers and sons bonding, try Black Water by David A. Robertson

David A. Robertson is the author of Black Water. (Amber Green, HarperCollins Publishers)

David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation, but grew up not knowing much about his Indigenous heritage. His father, Don, grew up on the trapline in northeast Manitoba, but lost his connection to his Indigenous roots, language and culture after his family was moved to a reserve, and Don wasn't allowed to speak Cree at school. David decides to go traplining with his father as an adult, as a way to connect to his own Cree heritage and the land, but to also better understand his father. Black Water is the story of these journeys: a father and son heading into the wilderness, and of a son connecting with his father, but also with heritage and, ultimately, himself.

Robertson is a writer based in Winnipeg. He has published more than 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book StrangersHe is also releasing a middle-grade novel, The Barren Grounds, in fall 2020. He hosts the CBC Manitoba podcast Kiwew.

Winnipeg author and educator David A. Robertson is this year's Freedom to Read Award, and that freedom is one he's had to fight for. David joins Laurie Hoogstraten to talk about this Award, the latest in an ever-growing list of accolades for his work. 8:09

If your dad is into space, try Canadarm and Collaboration by Elizabeth Howell

Canadarm and Collaboration is a book by Elizabeth Howell. (ECW Press, Danielle Donders)

The Canadian astronaut program began in 1981. In the nearly 30 years since, it has developed some of the world's most influential astronauts, including Chris Hadfield, governor general Julie Payette and several top ranking officials at NASA. Canadarm and Collaboration is the story of Canada's space program and how we've contributed people, ideas and technology — and yes, the iconic Canadarm — to the global quest to better understand outer space.

Elizabeth Howell is a teacher, consultant and writer from Ottawa. She is also the author of the books The Science of Time Travel and The Search for Life on Mars.

On Thursday, NASA's Perseverance rover stuck its landing on the surface of Mars, but many of the scientists involved in the mission were biting their nails through the process as past missions have frequently gone wrong. Canadian science and space writer Elizabeth Howell takes us through years of Mars misses and crash landings, and tells us why landing on the red planet is still such a complicated thing to try to do. 8:52

If your dad is interested in levelling up his fashion game, try Ten Garments Every Man Should Own by Pedro Mendes

Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is a book by Pedro Mendes. (Dundurn Publishers)

Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is a guide for men for building a stylish, classic and sustainable wardrobe. Each chapter looks at an essential item, including shirts, jackets, shoes and hats. Ten Garments Every Man Should Own doesn't focus on trends. Rather, it looks at what makes true style timeless, what makes garments worth investing in and why men should care about what they wear.

Pedro Mendes is a writer and style expert from Toronto. His work has appeared in Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail and Zoomer. He is a former producer with CBC, and  can be heard regularly on CBC Radio. Ten Garments Every Man Should Own is his second book.

Pedro Mendes is the author of the new book, "Ten Garments Every Man Should Own." He shares with Gill Deacon suggestions on what we wear and how to have a better relationship with our clothing. 10:12

If your dad is into baseball, try 100 Miles of Baseball by Dale Jacobs & Heidi L.M. Jacobs

100 Miles of Baseball by is a book Dale Jacobs and Heidi L.M. Jacobs. (Biblioasis, Gene Kannenberg, Jolie Inthavong)

Dale Jacobs and Heidi L.M. Jacobs are huge baseball fans and have been long-time Detroit Tigers season-ticket holders. But in 2018, they decided to spend their summer of baseball doing something different. Instead, they decided to take in as many different baseball games, from different levels of the sport, as they could within 100 miles of their home in Windsor. 100 Miles of Baseball is the story of that summer.

Dale Jacobs is a professor at the University of Windsor and the editor of the Windsor Review. He is also the author of Graphic Encounters: Comics and the Sponsorship of Multimodal Literacy and has edited several academic anthologies.

Heidi L.M. Jacobs is a writer and librarian who was born in Edmonton and now lives in Windsor. Her debut novel, Molly of the Mall, won the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

If your dad loves a good thriller, try Lost Immunity by Daniel Kalla

Lost Immunity is a novel by Daniel Kalla. (Michael Bednar Photography, Simon & Schuster Canada)

In the novel Lost Immunity, a dangerous bacteria has caused local outbreaks around the world. When it hits Seattle, the local public health officer asks a pharmaceutical company working on the vaccine to release it to the city early. At first, the controversial plan works. But when people start dying from an even more terrible and more mysterious illness, the vaccine gets blamed. Can they figure out what's really happening before it's too late?

Daniel Kalla is an emergency room doctor, as well as an international bestselling author of 10 books, including We All Fall Down and The Last High.

When he's not saving patients in the ER, Vancouver's Dr. Daniel Kalla writes thrillers. His latest, Lost Immunity, turns vaccine hesitancy and misinformation into a page-turner. He joins us to discuss whether, in a pandemic, fiction can be stranger than truth. 25:50

If your dad likes historical fiction, try The Good German by Dennis Bock

The Good German is a novel by Dennis Bock (Jaime Hogge, Patrick Crean Editions)

The Good German is a reimagined history in which, in 1939, Georg Elser succeeded in assassinating Hitler. But what unfolds is an alternate history where fascism reigns in Europe, and an atomic bomb is dropped on London, and Elser must reckon with the knowledge that his act of heroism changed the course of history — and for what end?

Dennis Bock is a writer, editor and teacher from Toronto. His novel Going Home Again was a finalist for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. His other works include the novels The Ash Garden and The Communist's Daughter and the short story collection Olympia.

Dennis Bock talks about the thinking behind his alternative history novel The Good German. 10:18

If your dad likes a little magic in his books, try Return of the Trickster by Eden Robinson

Return of the Trickster is a novel by Eden Robinson. (Knopf Canada, Red Works Photography)

Return of the Trickster is the third book in celebrated writer Eden Robinson's Trickster trilogy, after Son of a Trickster and Trickster DriftIn Return of the Trickster, Jared is coming to terms with his trickster powers — and with the havoc they create for him and everyone he loves. His mom, Maggie, is coming to terms with them as well. But when his power-hungry Aunt Georgina comes to town, it's the beginning of a magical war — with Jared in the middle of it all.

Robinson is an award-winning writer from Kitamaat, B.C. She is also the author of the novels Monkey Beach, Son of a Trickster and Trickster DriftReturn of the Trickster completes the Trickster trilogy. Son of a Trickster was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was championed on Canada Reads 2020 by actor Kaniehtiio Horn.

Eden Robinson, the award-winning Haisla and Heiltsuk author, spoke with Unreserved host Falen Johnson about her anticipated novel Return of the Trickster, the third and final book in her bestselling Trickster trilogy. 9:57

If your dad likes short stories, try We Two Alone by Jack Wang

We Two Alone is a book by Jack Wang. (House of Anansi Press, Mike Grippi)

Set over a century and spanning five continents, We Two Alone traces the evolution of the Chinese immigrant experience. Tracing various people, families and professionals across the globe, Jack Wang creates a tapestry of experience that encompasses the trials and tribulations of a diaspora trying to find its place in the world.

We Two Alone won the 2021 Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first short story collection.

Wang's short stories have been published in Joyland Magazine, The Humber Literary Review and The New Quarterly. We Two Alone is his first book.

Author Jack Wang's short story collection, We Two Alone, takes readers on a journey around the world, and through time. The B.C.-born author, who lives in New York, says he wasn't seeing stories about the global Chinese diaspora - so he wrote them himself. All Points West host Kathryn Marlow spoke to Jack Wang before he appeared at the Victoria Festival of Authors. 9:27

If your dad is into genealogy, try Approaching Fire by Michelle Porter

Approaching Fire is a book by Michelle Porter. (Breakwater Books)

Michelle Porter's great-grandfather was Métis fiddler and performer Léon Robert Goulet. In her book, Approaching Fireshe tells his story, and her own story of connecting with her family history through poetry, photographs, musicology and more. Approaching Fire is a creative biography about family connection, history and how we tell stories to each other and to ourselves.

Porter is a Red River Métis poet, journalist and editor who currently lives in St. John's. She is also the author of the poetry collection Inquiries.

If your dad is big on following your dreams, try One Game at a Time by Harnarayan Singh

One Game at a Time is a book by Harnarayan Singh. (CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

Harnarayan Singh is the longtime voice and personality behind Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi. Growing up in small-town Alberta, Singh aspired to a career in hockey, but also saw a lack of representation among the broadcasters who presented the sport. From a childhood calling imaginary hockey games with his plastic toy mic, Singh worked his way to becoming the first Sikh to broadcast an NHL game in English and one of the leading ambassadors of the game. 

In his memoir, One Game at a Time: My Journey from Small-Town Alberta to Hockey's Biggest Stagethe broadcaster charts his life story and highlights hockey's ability to unite people. 

Singh is a sports announcer and journalist, and continues to host the Punjabi-language broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.

We hear from Harnarayan Singh, the voice behind Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi, about his new memoir and how growing up in small-town Alberta shaped his love of hockey, faith and family. 25:47

If your dad is a Leonard Cohen fan, try Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories by Michael Posner

Michael Posner is an award-winning writer, playwright, journalist, and the author of Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories. (Simon & Schuster, Aaron Harris/Canadian Press)

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories is the first of three volumes in a planned biography of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. This first edition focuses on the early years of the Montreal poet's life — covering his youth, his university years and the beginning of his musical and literary careers, set against the backdrop of the social, political and cultural revolutions that would define the 1960s. Journalist Michael Posner interviewed Cohen's friends, families, business partners and more to paint a complete portrait of the Canadian icon.

Posner is a playwright, journalist and author. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Life. His other books include All of Me, a biography about singer Anne Murray, and The Last Honest Man, a biography about writer Mordecai Richler.

Leonard Cohen on the road to singing sensation

Digital Archives

2 years ago
9:27
Leonard Cohen leaves his blissful domestic life on Hydra, Greece, with the intention of cutting a country and western album in Nashville. 9:27

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now