The most exciting Canadian books coming out in spring 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 first half of 2021!

Canadian fiction

Return of the Trickster is a novel by Eden Robinson. (Knopf Canada, Red Works Photography)

Our top pick: Return of the Trickster by Eden Robinson

Return of the Trickster is the third book in celebrated writer Eden Robinson's Trickster trilogy, after Son of a Trickster and Trickster DriftIn Return of the TricksterJared is coming to terms with his trickster powers — and with the havoc they create for him and everyone he loves. His mom, Maggie, is coming to terms with them as well. But when his power-hungry Aunt Georgina comes to town, it's the beginning of a magical war — with Jared in the middle of it all.

Robinson is an award-winning writer from Kitamaat, B.C. She is also the author of the novels Monkey Beach, Son of a Trickster and Trickster DriftReturn of the Trickster completes the Trickster trilogy. Son of a Trickster was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was championed on Canada Reads 2020 by actor Kaniehtiio Horn.

Eden Robinson, the award-winning Haisla and Heiltsuk author, spoke with Unreserved host Falen Johnson about her anticipated novel Return of the Trickster, the third and final book in her bestselling Trickster trilogy.

Canadian nonfiction

In Perdita Felicien's new memoir, My Mother's Daughter,' she traces her mother's journey from Saint Lucia to Canada — and describes the struggle and abuse she faced here, as she tried to make a new life for her family. (Penguin Random House)

Our top pick: My Mother's Daughter by Perdita Felicien

Perdita Felicien's mom Catherine was a poor young woman in St. Lucia when she was given a seemingly random, but ultimately life-changing, opportunity: to come to Canada with a wealthy white family and become their nanny. But when she gets to Canada, life is tougher than she expected, as she endures poverty, domestic violence and even homelessness. However, she still encouraged and supported her youngest daughter's athletic dreams. Felicien would go on to be a world-class hurdler and one of Canada's greatest track athletes. My Mother's Daughter is the story of these two women, and how their love for each other got them through difficult times and changed their lives.

Felicien was a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a world championships. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of CBC's team covering the Olympics. My Mother's Daughter is her first book.

Perdita Felicien draws strength from the hurdles her mother faced

3 years ago
Duration 9:13
Perdita Felicien is one of Canada’s most decorated female track athletes, but her memoir focuses on the hurdles her mother faced and how that became her inspiration.

Canadian comics

Heaven No Hell is a comic by Michael DeForge. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Our top pick: Heaven No Hell by Michael DeForge

Heaven No Hell is a collection of comics from Michael DeForge that explores the nature of relationships, life and society in general. The included stories range from an angel touring heaven to a couple following their pregnancy with an app to a couple who make terrible choices after an experiment goes wrong.

DeForge is a Toronto-based creator who has won awards for comics like Leaving Richard's Valley, Dressing and Lose #1. Other acclaimed books include StuntBig Kids, Ant Colony, Sticks Angelica Folk Hero and more.

Canadian poetry

awâsis — kinky and dishevelled is a poetry collection by Louise B. Halfe. The cover art was created by artist Sherry Farrell Racette. (Sherry Farrell Racette, Brick Books)

Our top pick: awâsis — kinky and dishevelled by Louise Bernice Halfe

In 2021, Louise Bernice Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer, became Canada's ninth parliamentary poet laureate. Halfe is the first Indigenous person to be appointed with the title. Her latest poetry collection, awâsis – kinky and dishevelledexplores stories of resistance, rebellion and laughter by way of awâsis, a gender-fluid trickster character who takes readers on a humorous journey of mystery and spirituality.

Halfe served as the first Indigenous poet laureate of Saskatchewan. Her other poetry collections include Bear Bones & FeathersBlue MarrowThe Crooked Good and Burning in this Midnight Dream.

The Cree poet Louise Bernice Halfe Skydancer, who was recently appointed Canada's ninth parliamentary poet laureate, talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest collection, awâsis — kinky and dishevelled.

Canadian YA

The Power of Style is a YA nonfiction book by Christian Allaire. (, Annick Press)

Our top pick: The Power of Style by Christian Allaire

The Power of Style is a YA nonfiction book about the power of fashion. Christian Allaire is a Ojibwe fashion and style writer who has always had a passion for looking good. In The Power of StyleAllaire highlights the need for diversity and representation in fashion — and examines topics such as cosplay, make up, hijabs, and hair to show the intersection of style, culture and social justice over the years.

The Power of Style is for ages 12 and up.

Allaire is an Ojibwe author who grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario. Allaire is the fashion and style writer at Vogue.

When Christian Allaire was growing up on the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario, he didn’t see himself or his Indigenous culture represented in the fashion magazines and television shows that inspired him. Now, Allaire is Vogue’s fashion and style writer, and he’s on a mission to change the conversation about BIPOC representation through his work. He spoke with Tom Power about his new book, The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures.

Canadian middle-grade

Illustrated book cover of young person with blond hair, blue eyes and round glasses in front of rainbow background. Two white people with glasses.
The Fabulous Zed Watson! is a middle-grade novel by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester. (HarperCollins, Laura Carlin)

Our top pick: The Fabulous Zed Watson! by Basil Sylvester & Kevin Sylvester

The Fabulous Zed Watson! features a non-binary lead character who embarks on "the literary scavenger hunt and road trip of a lifetime."

When lead character Zed discovers a mystery surrounding an unpublished novel called The Monster's Castle, they become a member of a small but dedicated legion devoted to finding the long-buried text. When a breakthrough discovery leads Zed to the route that they are sure will take them to the treasure, they embark on a road trip with their shy, flora-loving neighbour, Gabe, and his sister, Sam, a geologist who is driving back to college in Arizona.

The Fabulous Zed Watson! is for ages 9 to 12.

Basil Sylvester is a non-binary writer based in Toronto. Their father, Kevin Sylvester, is a broadcaster and the award-winning illustrator and writer of middle-grade books such as the Neil Flambé Capers series and the MiNRS space adventure series.

Father and child duo, Basil and Kevin Sylvester, talk to Shelagh Rogers about their book The Fabulous Zed Watson!

Canadian picture books

I Sang You Down from the Stars is a picture book by Tasha Spillett-Sumner (pictured) and illustrated by Michaela Goade. (Leonard Sumner, Submitted by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, Owlkids)

Our top pick: I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Michaela Goade

I Sang You Down from the Stars is a story of birth and creation for younger readers. Using poetic language and watercolours, the picture book uses Indigenous creation stories and traditional teachings to celebrate nature and the bond behind mother and child.

I Sang You Down from the Stars is for ages 2 to 5.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner is an educator, poet and scholar of Nehiyaw and Trinidadian descent. She is also the author of graphic novel Surviving the Citywhich won the $2,000 Indigenous Voices Award for works in an alternative format in 2019.

Michaela Goade is an American-born illustrator from the Tlingit and Haida tribes. Goade won the 2021 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in the book We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom.

Manitoba author's picture book about motherhood, Indigenous tradition makes New York Times bestsellers list

3 years ago
Duration 3:13
Tasha Spillett-Sumner's picture book, I Sang You Down From the Stars, debuted at No. 3 on a New York Times list of bestselling children's picture books.

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