Canada Reads 2018

Precious Cargo

Craig Davidson's memoir is about the year he spent driving a school bus for children with special needs.

Craig Davidson

Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson was defended by Greg Johnson on Canada Reads 2018. Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, defended by Jeanne Beker, was the winner of Canada Reads 2018.

One morning in 2008, desperate and impoverished while trying unsuccessfully to write, Craig Davidson plucked a flyer out of his mailbox that read, "Bus Drivers Wanted." That was the first step towards an unlikely new career: driving a school bus full of special-needs kids for a year. Davidson shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, each of them struggling physically as well as emotionally and socially, slowly but surely changed his life along with the lives of the "precious cargo" in his care. This is the extraordinary story of that year and those relationships. It is also a moving, important and universal story about how we see and treat people with special needs in our society. (From Knopf Canada)

Watch the book trailer

Canada Reads trailer for Craig Davidson's Precious Cargo. 0:43

From the book

"So what's this amazing news?" I asked.

The boy cast a glance over his shoulder at his father. His voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper.

"Tell you later."

Ah. So it was to be a bus story. The bus was the confessional, the cone of silence, the chamber of shared confidences. After I got Jake on board, his wheelchair strapped down and his chest buckled in safely, he would tell me. He always did.


From Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson ©2016. Published by Knopf 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
The Tornado Hunters star shares why he chose to defend Craig Davidson's memoir Precious Cargo. 9:14
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

Author interviews

Novelist Craig Davidson reflects on the experience that inspired his Canada Reads shortlisted memoir, Precious Cargo. 7:50
Craig Davidson on his Canada Reads contender, a memoir of his year spent driving a school bus for special needs kids. 10:19
Craig Davidson on his memoir about being a bus driver for special needs kids. 13:15

The Canada Reads 2018 contenders