So, its almost time for the big one-five-o. Leading up to this momentous occasion, Canada is also recognizing and celebrating some important groups of people that highlight the evolution of our county. This is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the inclusiveness and diversity that makes us unique, but also to learn more about the different groups that make up Canada. (And what better place to learn than at your local library!!!)
National Aboriginal Day – June 21st
National Aboriginal Day is a celebration of Indigenous heritage and cultures. This includes the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. It happens to fall on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, which is considered an important day in Indigenous cultures.
There are many very prominent and talented Indigenous writers and in recent years their works have been getting some much deserved recognition. For instance, Tracey Lindberg‘s dark humor debut “Birdie” about a Cree woman’s journey to recover from her past, was a 2016 Canada Reads selection. Another good read is by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a globally recognized Inuit activist and environmentalist, who wrote “The Right to Be Cold” which highlights the effects of climate change on the Inuit people. Other respected authors that you can look at include the late Richard Wagamese (“Embers”, “Medicine Walk”), Thomas King (“Medicine River”, “The Back of the Turtle”, ” The Inconvenient Indian”) and Lee Maracle (“Celia’s song” , ” I Am Woman”).
Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is a day to celebrate the cultural pride and heritage of Canada’s Francophones. There are many French Canadian authors that have had success in translations. Kim Thuy is a Vietnamese-born Canadian writer whose debut novel “Ru” about a young Vietnamese girls journey to Canada, has won multiple awards including Canada Reads 2015. Others French Canadian authors to check out include Dominique Fortier (“The Island of Books”), Nicolas Dickner (“Nikolski : a novel”) , and Larry Tremblay (“The Orange Grove”).
Canadian Multiculturalism Day – June 27
In recent years immigration has led to a more diverse cultural society. Canadian Multiculturalism Day is a celebration of that diversity that acknowledges the commitment of Canada’s inclusive culture. There are many prominent Canadian authors from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Lynne Kutsukake‘s debut “The Translation of Love“, tells the story of a Japanese Canadian girl who is sent back to Japan after the war. Anita Rau Badami‘s “A Hero’s Walk” is a heartwarming story about how an aging Bengali man’s life is transformed when his seven year old granddaughter comes to live with him after the death of his estranged daughter in Canada. Other authors you can check out include Madeleine Thien (“Do not say we have nothing” ), Vincent Lam (“The Headmaster’s Wager”), and Lawrence Hill (“The Illegal”, “The Book of Negroes”).
The above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many different cultures and identities that make up Canada. Go exploring and celebrate the diversity by trying some new authors that you might not have looked at before. Happy Reading!!! And…