The best moments from Canada Reads 2022
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, championed by Christian Allaire, won the great Canadian book debate
The great Canadian book debate has come to another amazing finish! The 21st season of Canada Reads was won by Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, championed by Ojibway fashion journalist and author Christian Allaire.
Allaire faced off against four other debaters — Olympian Mark Tewksbury, actor Malia Baker, ecologist Suzanne Simard and business leader Tareq Hadhad — and sealed his victory in the finale with a 4-1 vote.
All of the champions felt a personal connection to the books they were defending and made powerful arguments throughout the week of intense debates.
Allaire, a writer from Nipissing First Nation, advocated for Five Little Indians, a novel about residential school survivors, trying to build a future while weighted down by trauma. Allaire talked about how Indigenous people experienced this trauma as a collective, and that it's time for Canada to face the ugly legacy of those schools.
Baker was passionate in championing runner-up Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez. A 15-year-old from Vancouver, Baker said she was surprised how much a novel about an Ontario neighbourhood resonated with her. Describing it as "medicine," Baker argued that it was a balm for underrepresented communities across Canada and the systemic challenges they face.
Tewksbury brought his all for Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, whom he described as "the Michael Phelps of writing." The globe-trotting story about a boy who escapes slavery and grows into a brilliant artist and conservationist, Washington Black made Tewksbury reflect on the complexity of freedom and the power of self-discovery.
Hadhad, the founder CEO of Peace by Chocolate and a former refugee from Syria, saw his own story in Omar El Akkad's novel What Strange Paradise. He argued that in a closely connected world, it is critical for Canadians to pay attention and have compassion for people — like the novel's nine-year-old Syrian protagonist Amir — who are affected by war and dispossessed from their homelands.
Simard, a forest ecologist from B.C., saw a pathway forward in Clayton Thomas-Müller's memoir Life in the City of Dirty Water. She argued that Thomas-Müller — a Cree man, a survivor of colonial trauma and a committed environmental activist — offers a crucial perspective that will help preserve the planet in the face of climate change.
We've gathered some of the most powerful moments from the show above. Find the full episodes below: