Books

The most exciting Canadian books coming out in fall 2021

Check out all the amazing Canadian books arriving in the first half of 2021!

Check out all the amazing Canadian books arriving in the second half of 2021!

Fiction

The Strangers is a novel by Katherena Vermette. (Vanda Fleury, Hamish Hamilton)

Our top pick: The Strangers by Katherena Vermette

In The Strangers, readers are brought into the dynamic world of the Stranger family, the shared pain of their past and the light that shines from the horizon. After spending time in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Being separated from her mother, Elsie, and her sister, Phoenix, is painful, but she's hoping for a new chapter in life. The three women diverge, reconnect, and fight to survive in a system that expects them to fail.

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

Katherena Vermette is a Red River Métis writer from Winnipeg. Her debut poetry collection, North End Love Songs, won the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry. Her first novel, The Break, won the Amazon First Novel Award, Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Prize and McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Vermette's other works include the poetry book river woman and the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo.

Nonfiction

Disorientation is a book by Ian Williams. (Random House Canada, Justin Morris)

Our top pick: Disorientation by Ian Williams

In Disorientation, Ian Williams captures the impact of racial encounters on racialized people, especially when one's minding their own business. Sometimes, the consequences are only irritating, but sometimes they are deadly. Driven by the police killings and street protests of 2020, Williams realized he could offer a Canadian perspective on race. He explores things such as, the unmistakable moment when a child realizes they're Black, the ten characteristics of institutional whiteness, how friendship helps protect against being a target of racism and blame culture.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Williams is a poet, novelist and professor from Brampton, Ont., who is currently teaching at the University of Toronto. His debut novel Reproduction won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is also the author of the poetry collection Personals, which was a finalist for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Comics

Borders is a graphic novel by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan. (CBC, HarperCollins)

Our top pick: Borders by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan

Borders is based on a short story written by Thomas King in 1993, and was adapted as a graphic novel by illustrator Natasha Donovan. It's about a boy and his mother who try to take a road trip from Alberta to Salt Lake City. When they reach the American Canadian border, they identify as Blackfoot — causing problems and putting the pair in limbo between Canada and America. What unfolds is a powerful story about justice, identity and belonging.

When you can read it: Sept. 7, 2021

King is an influential Canadian American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. His bestselling books include Truth & Bright WaterThe Inconvenient Indian and many more. His latest, the novel Indians on Vacation, won the 2021 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. 

Donovan is a Métis illustrator originally from Vancouver. She has illustrated several graphic novels, including the Surviving the City series by Tasha Spillet and Brett Huson's animal series, which includes The Sockeye MotherThe Grizzly Mother and The Eagle Mother. She also illustrated the cover for The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills and her work appears in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold.

Poetry

Satched is a poetry collection by Megan Gail Coles. (CBC, House of Anansi Press)

Our top pick: Satched by Megan Gail Coles

Named after a local word meaning "soaked through" or "weighed down," Satched is a poetry collection that explores intergenerational trauma, ecological grief and late-stage capitalism from the perspective of a woman of rural-remote, Northern, working class and mixed ancestry. 

When you can read it: Sept. 7, 2021

Megan Gail Coles is an author and playwright originally from Savage Cove, N.L. and currently living in Montreal, where she is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. She is also the author of the short story collection Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome and the novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club which was a finalist for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was defended by YouTuber Alayna Fender on Canada Reads 2020.

Young-adult books

Hunting by Stars is a follow-up to Cherie Dimaline's YA novel The Marrow Thieves. (cheriedimaline.com, Penguin Teen)

Our top pick: Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline

Hunting by Stars takes place in the world of The Marrow Thieves, a post-apocalyptic North America where only Indigenous people have the ability to dream. Residential schools are re-established to capture and hold Indigenous people, and search for the secrets to dreaming in their bones. Hunting by Stars picks up on 17-year-old French, who wakes up in a pitch-black room. In The Marrow ThievesFrench lost his family to the residential schools and found a new family to travel with, while dodging the "Recruiters."

Hunting by Stars is for ages 12 and up.

When you can read it: Oct. 19, 2021

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. Her first book, Red Rooms, was published in 2007, and her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy was released in 2013. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, and became the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library. Her book A Gentle Habit was published in August 2016.

In 2017, The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text and the Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature. It is currently being adapted for television.

The Marrow Thieves was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

Middle-grade books

The Great Bear is a middle-grade book by David A. Robertson.   (Puffin Canada, Amber Green)

Our top pick: The Great Bear by David A. Robertson

The Great Bear is the second book in David A. Robertson's Narnia-inspired Indigenous middle-grade fantasy series. Eli and Morgan journey once more to Misewa, travelling back in time. Each struggling with personal issues, Eli and Morgan turn to the place where they know they can learn the most, and make the journey to Misewa to visit their animal friends. But they are faced with personal, physical and emotional challenges that will force them to find the resolve to save themselves and everything they care for. 

The Great Bear is for ages 10 and up. 

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

Robertson is an author and graphic novelist based in Winnipeg. The multi-talented writer of Swampy Cree heritage has published 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 Strangers and the memoir Black Water. The Barren Grounds is a finalist for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Prize for young people's literature — text.

Picture books

Welcome to the Cypher is a picture book by Khodi Dill (left), illustrated by Awuradwoa Afful. (Annick Press)

Our top pick: Welcome to the Cypher by Khodi Dill, illustrated by Awuradwoa Afful

Welcome to the Cypher is a picture book of music and fun hip-hop wordplay. This read-aloud book features children learning confidence and self-expression as they rap together in a group. 

Welcome to the Cypher is for ages 4 to 7.

When you can read it: Oct. 12, 2021

Khodi Dill is a Bahamian Canadian educator and writer of everything from rap songs to children's literature based in Saskatoon. 

Awuradwoa Afful is a Ghanaian Canadian designer, illustrator and animator based in Toronto.

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