Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


2018 Books of the Year: Nonfiction

Our celebration of 2018 books continues with this nonfiction spotlight, which includes stories from home and abroad, books about the past, the present, and the future, and something for every kind of reader going. We're so pleased to have featured these titles on 49th Shelf this year. 


Homes: A Refugee Story, by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone—and found safety in Canada—with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.” 

Read 11 Life Stories to Read This Spring


Midnight Light, by Dave Bidini

“This is an absolute joy to read as his writing just flows, inspired, unencumbered, passionate, his joy at being there, his thrill of living loud, leaps off the page. He consumes it all, the edge of the world and the caravan of characters who populate it.“ …

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2018 Books of the Year: Fiction

While the reading never stops here at 49th Shelf, and our adherence to the calendar year is kind of loose, book-wise (because we do love a good reread, not to mention a good delve into an author's backlist), the final weeks of the annum and the lists that emerge during this time are also an excellent excuse to take stock of some beloved literary moments. It is no exaggeration to state that 2018 was an outstanding year in Canadian books, and we'll be celebrating some of our favourites over the coming weeks, beginning here with fiction and a list of some remarkable books that we featured this year.  


The Boat People, by Sharon Bala

"A book about so many interconnecting themes requires a tremendous amount of research. I learned so much about Canada’s history, about the different waves of people who washed up on our shores, about refugee law, the Sri Lankan civil war, the Japanese internment, war-time propaganda, Alzheimer's, and PTSD…even menopause. But after the textbook research was through, once I had watched the documentaries, listened to interviews, and read research papers, then I turned with relief to literature. ”

Read Sharon Bala’s list of titles that her book seemed to be in conversation with.


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More Winning Books

tagged: 2018, winners, awards

We love literary prizes here at 49th Shelf, because of the way they cast light on some of the many incredible books published every year in Canada. The best kinds of literary awards seasons are the ones where all the shortlists are different, where the literary juries approach their tasks with different tastes and standards, and the result is lists of books you may not have read already, and which you'll love when you do. And just to broaden the selection, we'd like to remind you of some of the winners of literary prizes awarded earlier this year. There is so much literary goodness to go around.  


Indianland, by Lesley Belleau

Winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award

About the book: Written from a female and Indigenous perspective, the poems in Indianland incorporate Anishinaabemowin throughout. Lesley Belleau explores rich themes of sexuality, birth, memory, and longing, as well as touchstone issues in Indigenous politics including Elijah Harper, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, forced sterilizations, and Kanesatake with immediacy and intimacy. This multiform collection moves from present day to first contact and back to the present, immersing us in images of blood, plants (milkweed, yarrow, cattails), and petroglyphs, and grounding the book in the belo …

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