Top books for giving and reading this season

Ottawa – It’s Sean Wilson’s reading assignment.

The Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Book Festival, dubbed “The Man of Our Book,” has plenty of books on the go.

He was never happy when I asked him to share a handful of his top picks with us. It hurts to narrow down the list.

“It’s an impossible task to pick just five books to recommend, but here are some recommendations for the holiday season!” Wilson says.


What a wonder of heaven – Omar Al-Akkad

Omar Akkad won the Scotiabank Giller Award for “What Strange Paradise”. It’s a wonderful story about a refugee child escaping to freedom. One of the most exciting books of the year, it acts as a page mover while also asking us to examine how we think about basic human boundaries, laws, and morals. Do we really think that a child who runs for his life can be “illegal”?

Tina: The Invisible – Dr. Norma Dunning

Dunning won the Governor General’s Prize for Literature for her stunning collection of stories, “Tainna: The Unseen Ones.” We rarely hear the Inuit voices, and this contemporary group looking at life today for northerners living in the South is a gift. We tend to forget the land area, history, and unique culture found in the North. It’s funny, fierce, heartwarming, and utterly captivating.


A Good War: Canada’s Mobilization for the Climate Emergency – Seth Klein

Given what’s happening in British Columbia at the moment, and the way that country is dealing with land defenders like Witsuten, it seems we need to take a long hard look at the climate crisis and what we can do to help tackle the problem. A Good War: Canada’s Mobilization for the Climate Emergency by Seth Klein provides a timely overview of where we are and where we’re headed. Given all the gloom and pessimism about this issue, it’s important to look for voices that not only diminish problems but also point to a way forward. This book delivers an urgent and remarkably optimistic message.

picture book

David Alexander Robertson – When We Were Alone

Robertson has written two beautiful picture books with illustrations by Julie Fleet.

Both won the Governor General’s Literary Award: When We Were Alone is about a grandmother, and “On the Trapline” is about a grandfather. Beautiful stories about love, affection and education between generations.

For teenagers and young adults

Hunting with the Stars – Sherry Demalin

Demaline’s follow-up to her internationally bestselling book, The Marrow Thieves. For a post-apocalyptic tale of survival and freedom struggle, this has additional resonance as a tale of Canada’s oppression of indigenous peoples.

It’s not on the list, but the book that really gets Wilson excited is Rick Mercer’s latest book, Talking to Canadians.

If Newfoundland is known for its wonderful ‘outer ports’, it is also known for its comedic ‘exports’ and Mercer is one of the best known and most well known.

Mercer will have a chat with writer and journalist Lyndon MacIntyre on December 5th at 7 p.m.

It’s the book festival’s first in-person event since March 2020.

All proceeds from this event will be supported Childhood Republic “Intensive hands-on workshops on youth literacy and self-expression in 2022,” explains Wilson.

‘All tickets include a hardcover book and a signed book board.’

Jan Arden will probably tell you that the signed book’s board feeds the cake full of laughter.

“I laughed so much reading this, and kept waking up my dog ​​in bed. Rick is a determined writer — he never stops dragging you into his stories and never stops looking for outlines in everyday life,” Arden says on the book cover.

Mercer also happens to be somewhat similar to Wilson, which made him mock double events and occasions.

You can get tickets at for tickets.

Proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination (dual vaccination plus 14 days) will be required for all guests 12 years of age and older to enter the venue.

Once inside, masks are required and capacity will be reduced to ensure social distancing is maintained.


Leave a Comment