Canada Reads: The Sudbury Edition

As the national debates for CBC’s Canada Reads get ready to start, CBC Sudbury is having a look at the five books in the running.

This year the theme of Canada Reads is One Book to Open Your Eyes.

To prepare, staff from the Greater Sudbury Public Library have read the five books.

Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson

Read by Tammy DeAmicis, library events programer

When you’re a writer, you’re expected to sit down and write each day. But Craig Davidson was going through a period of time where creativity was not helping his writing skills. Plus, he needed a job to bring in some much needed income. He received a flyer in 2008 that was looking for bus drivers. For the next year, Davidson drove a school bus full of special-needs kids.

“It was eye-opening,” DeAmicis said of Davidson’s book.

“The school bus is a safe place for kids in general. And these kids, because they’re often socially isolated [or] bullied down have a whole lot of strong relationships. That community on the bus was magical.”

Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto

Read by Steven Townend – Greater Sudbury Public Library Board member

Ralph MacLean traded in his quiet yet troubled life in eastern Canada for a life of war when the Second World War broke out. Across the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their lives starting to fade away in Vancouver after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Ralph was captured by the Japanese in 1941 and sent to a prison camp. The Sakamoto’s eventually lost everything when their home was burned to the ground. The book intertwines the stories of both MacLean and the Sakamoto’s and shares a story of forgiveness.

“For me personally as a Christian, I know about God’s forgiveness in my life,” Townend said.

Steve Townend

Steve Townend is a board member of the Greater Sudbury Public Library. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

“When I think about how God’s forgiven me for my sins, then this forgiveness was very real to me and I could understand it and where it was coming from.”

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Read by Mette Krüger, coordinator of public services

A young father is relieved when a cargo ship carrying Mahindan and 500 refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia in 2010. However, the group is thrown into prison after speculation the refugees are members of a terrorist militia group infamous for suicide attacks. The novel is inspired by real events and is Bala’s first book.

“It did open my eyes in the way that it dealt with immigration,” Krüger said.

“While I expected it to be very sympathetic to refugees only, it also looked at different perspectives including the adjudicator who was put in the position of having to decide the fate of these people.”

American War by Omar El Akkad

Read by Chelsie Abraham, manager of library and heritage resources

A look into the future, the book features a six year old girl named Sarat Chestnut from Louisiana, when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. After her father is killed, her family is forced into a camp for displaced persons where she is turned into an instrument of war.

“It’s written as fiction but the author really draws in the realities of war,” she said.

“It really makes you feel like ‘could this possibly happen in the future?’ as most really well-written apocalyptic books do.”

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Read by Jodie Gladman, information librarian

As humanity has almost destroyed its world through global warming, the Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow. It contains the key to recovering the ability to dream, something the rest of the population has lost.

“It was just such a great read despite all these heavy topics,” Gladman said.

Jodie Gladman

Jodie Gladman is an information librarian at the Greater Sudbury Public Library. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

“I think it really points to Dimaline’s ability to take all of these very heavy topics that are associated with our Canadian legacy, cultural appropriation, to take all of those topics and transform them into a dystopian fiction. It really allowed me to look at these topics with a difference lens.”

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