Since Canada Day is this weekend, I thought I would share a few stories by some of Canada’s best authors, including a few of my own favourite stories. So, keep reading to find some Canadian reads for Canada Day.
Good Families Don’t, Robert Munsch
No list of Canadian literature would ever be complete without a mention of Munsch. While he has some amazing, fun, and moving stories, this was one of my daughter’s all-time favourite picture books when she was just little. My daughter would have us read the story over and over and over – to the point where we all had it memorized.
However, it was a funny story, so we didn’t complain too much. In typical Munsch style, chaos ensues when a little girl discovers a fart in her bedroom. No one believes her – good families don’t fart, after all, what would the neighbours think? However, each time someone checks her room, the fart eats them. How on earth do you stop a fart? While not one of Munsch’s best-known stories, it is excellent.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Much like Munsch, you can’t have a list like this and not mention Margaret Atwood. While I prefer her story, The Penelopiad, The Handmaid’s Tale is excellent. It has also been receiving a lot of attention recently with the new TV series based on it. The Handmaid’s Tale revolves around Offred, a Handmaid who works in the house of the commander.
Once an independent woman, she is now only valued for her fertility. Set in a dystopian society with low fertility rates, women have lost all freedom. They are banned from working, reading, or even friendships. This book has been so popular that Atwood has written a sequel, which will be released on September 10, 2019. It is entitled The Testament, and with any luck, readers will finally find out what happened to Offred at the end of the first book.
Jane of Lantern Hill, L.M. Montgomery
Nothing makes me think of summer more than any of Montgomery’s books. Though she is best known for the Anne of Green Gables series, Jane of Lantern Hill is actually my favourite book by Montgomery. Jane is an awkward child with a beautiful mother and a controlling grandmother. She lives in Toronto, in a large and empty mansion.
Her mother is caring and loves Jane, but her other family members aren’t so kind – especially her grandmother, with whom they live. Everything changes when the father she thought was dead demands that she be sent to spend the summer with him in Prince Edward Island. It is a heartwarming tale of a girl coming to age, learning more not only about her, but her mother, grandmother, and the father she never knew.
The Lotterys More or Less, Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue might be better known for her bestselling book, Room, which was the winner of the 2010 Rodgers Trust Prize. It was also made into a film of the same name. However, she also writes for children. This book is the sequel to The Lotterys Plus One, and like that story revolves around Sumac Lottery, one member of a family of seven children, four parents, one grandfather, and many pets.
Sumac is attempting to see that the family’s traditions are all met over the holidays, but unfortunately, everything seems to go wrong. An ice storm hits, causing the power to go out, delaying her fathers’ and her brother’s flight home from India. Then their houseguest has an accident, and they need to look after him. What will happen to Sumac’s perfect holiday?
The Vinyl Cafe Series, Stuart McLean
I’ve certainly mentioned The Vinyl Cafe series before, but I will mention them again here. This lovely, warm and hilarious series of short stories, all revolving around Dave, Morley, and their children, is absolutely wonderful — McLean was truly a gifted storyteller.
I first came across the Vinyl Cafe years ago as a radio show on CBC. I still have fond memories of listening to it while cooking in my grandmother’s kitchen, as well as memories of being doubled over laughing while listening to the show in my own kitchen. I have read McLean’s stories and found myself laughing out loud.
Then, amazingly, listened to the same story on his radio show, and somehow laughing even harder – as I said, he was a gifted storyteller in both mediums. The stories are about everyday life, family, and friendship.
If you have never read or listened to them, make the time this summer. You won’t regret it.