The CBC Books Spring Preview 2022 roundup

Looking for your next book? Check out the Canadian fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics and children's books to read in the first half of 2022!

Looking for your next book? Check out all our lists of Canadian fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics and children's books to read in the first half of 2022!

Canadian fiction

Heather O'Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short story writer, screenwriter and journalist. (HarperCollins Canada, J Artacho)

Our top pick: When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill

When We Lost Our Heads is a story that explores gender, power, sex, desire, class and status. When Marie, the spoiled daughter of a sugar baron living in 19th-century Montreal, meets the brilliant Sadie, the two are immediately inseparable. Marie has bubbly charm and sees the pleasure of the world, whereas Sadie's obsession with darkness is all-consuming. Class and circumstance lead them down different paths, while each woman plays an unexpected role in the events that upend their city.

Heather O'Neill is a writer and author from Montreal. O'Neill's debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was a finalist for a Governor General's Literary Award and won Canada Reads 2007. The Montreal-based writer was the first back-to-back finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night was a finalist in 2014 and her short story collection Daydreams of Angels was a finalist in 2015. Her latest books are the novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel and the nonfiction book Wisdom in Nonsense

Heather O'Neill talks to Shelagh Rogers about her new book, When We Lost Our Heads.

Canadian nonfiction

Have You Eaten Yet? is a nonfiction book by Cheuk Kwan. (D&M Publishers, Cedric Sam)

Our top pick: Have You Eaten Yet? by Cheuk Kwan

Have You Eaten Yet? explores the global Chinese migration and how Chinese immigrants grapple with assimilation, cultural identity and economic survival. Family-run Chinese restaurants across the world are symbols of immigration and community, but they also offer insight into the social forces and history at play. Documentarian Cheuk Kwan shares the stories of the chefs, entrepreneurs and labourers who work in Chinese kitchens across the world.

Cheuk Kwan is a writer and filmmaker. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Singapore, Kwan has lived in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Canada. His film series Chinese Restaurants explores stories from the Chinese diaspora by focusing on different family-run Chinese restaurants located all over the world.

Writer and documentary filmmaker Cheuk Kwan has sought out Chinese restaurants in places like Cuba, Turkey and Outlook, Sask. He tells us what he learned about migration, identity and community from the travels documented in his new book, Have You Eaten Yet?: Stories from Chinese Restaurants Around the World.

Canadian poetry

Parasitic Oscillations is a book by Madhur Anand. (Ian Willms, McClelland & Stewart)

Our top pick: Parasitic Oscillations by Madhur Anand

Parasitic Oscillations examines a variety of philosophical and ethical dilemmas to inform and question. Set against the backdrop of ecological collapse, these poems draw on Madhur Anand's work in the arts and sciences and experience living between North American and Indian culture.

Madhur Anand is a poet and professor of ecology at the University of Guelph. She is the author of the A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes and This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart, which won the 2020 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction.

Madhur Anand on her experimental memoir, This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves.

Canadian comics

Shelterbelts is a graphic novel by Jonathan Dyck. (Conundrum Press)

Our top pick: Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck

Shelterbelts tells the story of a Mennonite community breaking open, as traditional beliefs and modern values collide. The schisms in the community reach a turning point when a non-denominational mega-church opens on the edge of the rural village. Shelterbelts weaves together scenes from the community — a pastor and his queer daughter contend with lost parish members, a librarian writes prescriptive notes in books for her patrons and young activists fight with a farmer over pipeline construction on his land.

Shelterbelts will be published on May 1, 2022.

Jonathan Dyck is a cartoonist from Winnipeg. He's received several provincial prizes for his illustrations, including a silver medal at the 2021 Alberta Magazine Awards and the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award at the 2018 Manitoba Book Awards.

Canadian YA

The Red Palace is a YA novel by June Hur. (Feiwel & Friends, Julie Anna Tang)

Our top pick: The Red Palace by June Hur

Set in Korea's royal court of the 18th century, June Hur's The Red Palace is a murder mystery laced with bits of romance. The novel follows Hyeon, the illegitimate daughter of a concubine, who works hard to earn a position as a nurse at the palace. When four women are suddenly killed and her mentor is accused of the crimes, Hyeon teams up with a young police inspector to find the true killer.

June Hur is a Toronto-based writer, originally from South Korea. She's also the author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls.

June Hur on The Red Palace

Canadian middle-grade

Beatrice and Croc Harry is a middle-grade novel by Lawrence Hill. (HarperCollins Canada, Beatrice Freedman)

Our top pick: Beatrice and Croc Harry by Lawrence Hill

In Beatrice and Croc Harrya young girl wakes up all alone in a treehouse in the woods. She doesn't know how she got there — or who she even is. But as she follows a trail of surprising and magical clues, she uncovers the story of the forest, of her family and of herself, thanks in no small part to an unlikely friend and ally, King Crocodile Croc Harry.

Beatrice and Croc Harry is for ages 9 to 13.

Lawrence Hill is the acclaimed author of novels such as The Book of NegroesThe IllegalSome Great Thing and Any Known Blood and the memoir Black Berry, Sweet Juice. He also delivered the 2013 Massey Lectures, Blood: The Stuff of LifeHis novel The Book of Negroes won CBC's Canada Reads in 2009 and was adapted into a six-part miniseries, which can be streamed on CBC GemThe Illegal also won Canada Reads in 2016, making Hill the only author to win CBC's battle of the books twice.

Lawrence Hill talks to Shelagh Rogers about his kids book, Beatrice and Croc Harry.

Canadian picture books

When I Listen to Silence is a picture book by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Carmen Mok. (Groundwood Books)

Our top pick: When I Listen to Silence by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Carmen Mok

When I Listen to Silence is a story of the power of silence when navigating your world. A girl looks out her window and discovers a space with breathing trees, dancing bears and a smoky dragon. It takes a bit of imagination and a dash of silence to save the day. 

When I Listen to Silence is for ages 3 to 6.

When you can read it: April 1, 2022

Jean E. Pendziwol is an author from Ontario. She is the author of the novel The Lightkeeper's Daughters and the children's books Once Upon a Northern NightMe and You and the Red Canoe and The Red Sash.

Carmen Mok is an illustrator. She has illustrated numerous books, including Ride the Big Machines in Winter: Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis and Look at Me Now by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones.

Our panel of experts, Ken Setterington, Michele Landsberg and Bee Quammie, share some of their current favourite children's books.

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