Canada Reads

Homes first Canadian book to be chosen for global digital book club 'Big Library Read'

The Canada Reads contender will be accessible to patrons of more than 19,000 libraries around the world from April 1-15, 2019.
Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is the storyteller and Winnie Yeung is the writer of Homes. (CBC, Freehand Books)

The Canada Reads 2019 contender Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung has been selected as OverDrive's Big Library Read ebook for April 2019.

The book selection means that patrons of more than 19,000 libraries around the world will be able to access electronic copies of the memoir without waitlists or holds from April 1-15, 2019. 

Big Library Read began in 2014, with a few titles being selected every year. Homes is the first Canadian book to be selected. 

Other titles to have been chosen for the program include the memoir American Sniper by Chris Kyle, the YA novel This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp and the novel The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti.

Homes is an account of Abu Bakr al Rabeeah's childhood in Iraq and, later, in Syria, where his family was displaced by civil war and conflict. Ultimately, the al Rabeeahs made their way to Edmonton as refugees. That's where Abu Bakr met Winnie Yeung, an English teacher who helped him tell his story — first over the course of many interviews and eventually by writing Homes

"It brings such joy to Abu Bakr and me that his wish of wanting to tell the world of Syria's plight is being fulfilled in such a far-reaching way," said Yeung, of being selected for Big Library Read.

Homes will be championed by Simple Plan drummer Chuck Comeau in the Canada Reads 2019 debates. 

The debates take place March 25-28, 2019. They will air on CBC Radio One at 11 a.m. (1 p.m. AT/1:30 p.m. NT), on CBC at 4 p.m. (4:30 NT), be live streamed online at CBC Books at 11 a.m. ET and will be available on the free CBC Gem streaming service. 

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