All the Canadian books we’re excited about this spring

Looking for your next read? Check out all our lists of Canadian fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics and children’s books to read in the first half of 2024!

Death By A Thousand Cuts is a short story collection by Shashi Bhat. (McClelland & Stewart, Olivia Li)

Our top pick: Death by a Thousand Cuts by Shashi Bhat

Death by a Thousand Cuts traces the funny, honest and difficult parts of womanhood. From a writer whose ex published a book about their breakup to the confession wrought by a Reddit post, these stories probe rage, loneliness, bodily autonomy and these women’s relationships with themselves just as much as those around them. 

When you can read it: April 23, 2024

Shashi Bhat’s previous novels include The Family Took Shape, a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and The Most Precious Substance on Earthwhich was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2022. Her short stories won the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize and been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Bhat lives in New Westminster, B.C. 

LISTEN | Shashi Bhat on The Next Chapter:

14:54Shashi Bhat on The Most Precious Substance on Earth

Shashi Bhat talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest novel, The Most Precious Substance on Earth.

Black Boys Like Me by Matthew R. Morris. Illustrated book cover of a vinyl record. A man with a black t-shit looks into the camera.
Black Boys Like Me is a book by Matthew R. Morris. (Viking, Anthony Gebrehiwot)

Our top pick: Black Boys Like Me by Matthew R. Morris

Black Boys Like Me is Matthew R. Morris’ debut collection of eight essays that examines his experiences with race and identity throughout his childhood into his current work as an educator. The child of a Black immigrant father and a white mother, Morris was influenced by the prominent Black male figures he saw in sports, TV shows and music as he was growing up in Scarborough, Ont. While striving for academic success, he confronted Black stereotypes and explored hip hop culture in the 1990s.

Black Boys Like Me is out now.

Morris is a writer, advocate and educator based in Toronto. As a public speaker, he has travelled across North America to educate on anti-racism in the education system. Morris was recently announced as one of the readers for the 2024 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

LISTEN | Matthew R. Morris on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter14:30Matthew R. Morris reflects on growing up in Scarborough in the 90s, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and exploring Black identity

The writer and educator discusses his new nonfiction book, Black Boy Like Me, which explores public education, pop culture and his identity as a young Black man with an immigrant father and a white mother.

A black book cover with an image of teeth made out of beads. A man wearing a black t-shirt and glasses crosses his tattooed arms.
Teeth is a poetry collcetion by Dallas Hunt. (Nightwood Editions, Conor McNally)

Our top pick: Teeth by Dallas Hunt

Teeth is a poetry collection that explores the consequences of colonization and why it continues to repeat itself in today’s society. The book also celebrates the successes of Indigenous peoples and looks into the realities they face.

Teeth is out now. 

Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty Eight territory in northern Alberta. His children’s book, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannockillustrated by Amanda Strong, was nominated for several awards and was one of the 2024 CBC Kids Reads contenders. Hunt lives in Vancouver.

LISTEN | Dallas Hunt on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter10:08Dallas Hunt on Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock

Dallas Hunt on why he wrote the picture book, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock.

A composite image of an illustrated book cover beside a black and white portrait of a white woman with brown hair looking into the camera.
Portrait of a Body is a graphic novel by Julie Delporte and translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle. (Drawn & Quarterly, Plum Paycha)

Our top pick: Portrait of a Body by Julie Delporte, translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle

In Portrait of a Body, Julie Delporte examines her life experiences and trauma in an attempt to answer the haunting questions she has about her gender and sexuality. The book focuses on the journey inward to heal oneself and live more authentically.

Portrait of a Body is out now.

Julie Delporte is a comic creator and poet based in Montreal. Her other books include This Woman’s Work, Everywhere Antennas and Journal.

Helge Dascher is a frequent translator of comic books. She’s also translated many of Guy Delisle’s titles, Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet and Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati.

Karen Houle used to be a Professor of Philosophy but now she is a full-time Earth worker-activist and a sometimes translator.

A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur. Illustrated cover shows two close-up profiles of faces staring at one another while arrows fly past them. Portrait of a Korean female author in a grey blazer.
A Crane Among Wolves is a YA novel by June Hur. (Feiwel & Friends, Julie Anna Tang)

Our top pick: A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

A Crane Among Wolves takes place in Joseon in 1506, under the tyrannical reign of Yeonsan, a king hellbent on torturing the land, the women and burning books within the kingdom. After her older sister, Suyeon is captured by the king, Iseul leaves the comforts of her village to defy the capital and save her sister. Meanwhile, Prince Daehyun, the king’s half-brother is staging a risky coup to dethrone him and save the people. When Iseul and Daehyun meet, they begrudgingly join forces to take down their common enemy.

When you can read it: May 14, 2024

June Hur is a South Korea-born writer based in Toronto. Her other novels include The Forest of Stolen GirlsThe Silence of Bones and The Red Palace

LISTEN | June Hur talks about The Red Palace

2:27June Hur on The Red Palace

June Hur on The Red Palace

Call Me Al by Wali Shah and Eric Walters. Book cover shows half of a young Pakistani man's face as he lays his head on his hands. Photo of the co-authors by a lakeside.
Call Me Al is a middle grade novel by Wali Shah and Eric Walters. (Orca Book Publishers, Zain Rao)

Our top pick: Call Me Al by Wali Shah and Eric Walters

Call Me Al follows the adolescence of Ali, a Muslim Pakistani immigrant and teenager who just wants to please his parents and maybe get noticed by his crush Melissa. Ali struggles to feel comfortable in his community as his classmates make fun of food or his skin colour. When his mom and young brother are assaulted, Ali is altered forever and must learn to find his voice through trusted loved ones and his love for poetry. 

Call Me Al is for ages 9 to 12 and is out now.

Wali Shah is a Pakistani Canadian poet and public speaker. He was previously the poet laureate for the city of Mississauga. Call Me Al is his first book.

Eric Walters is one of Canada’s most prolific writers for young people. He’s penned over 100 books, including Bear in the FamilyThe Power of Three and Run. His 2006 novel We All Fall Down came in at #88 on the list of the bestselling 150 Canadian books of the past 10 years. Walters won the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Prize for young people’s literature — text for The King of Jam Sandwiches.

On the left, a picture book with a cover showing two children, one wearing a crown and sunglasses and the other wearing headphones attached to their phone. On the right a photo of a man and of a woman smiling at the camera.
Still My Tessa is a picture book by Sylv Chiang, pictured bottom right, illustrated by Mathias Ball, pictured top right. (Scholastic Canada)

Our top pick: Still My Tessa by Sylv Chiang, illustrated by Mathias Ball

Still My Tessa is a book about practicing with pronouns and accepting people for who they are. Evelyn is worried about Tessa — they don’t want to play the same games they used to play together anymore. Determined to find new ways to connect with her older sibling, she learns to see Tessa as a non-binary person by practicing using new pronouns for them.

Still My Tessa won the 2024 edition of CBC Kids Reads. It was championed by Gary the Unicorn during the second edition of ‘Canada Reads for kids.’

Still My Tessa is for ages 3 to 8 and is out now.

Sylv Chiang is a teacher and a children’s book author. She also wrote the middle-grade series, Cross Ups, which includes the books Rising StarAnyone’s Game and Tournament TroubleStill My Tessa is Chiang’s first picture book. She grew up in Toronto and now lives in Pickering, Ont. 

Mathias Ball is a trans-identified illustrator from Goderich, Ont. Other picture books they’ve illustrated include Every Body Is a Rainbow by Caroline Carter and What If Bedtime Didn’t Exist? by Francine Cunningham.

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