Books for Canada: Truth, Solidarity, Hope

June was a month full of reminders.

On June 1st, my colleagues at work raised the Pride Flag, then lowered it to commemorate the lives of the 215 Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves at a former residential school near Kamloops, BC.

Days later, researching autistic creators online, I discovered a vibrant community I didn’t know I had, including Canadians Paige Layle and Sarah Kurchak. This joy was tempered by the discovery that much of their work seeks to debunk myths and stereotypes that still persist decades after science and our experiences proved them wrong.

Week by week, reports of other Indigenous people buried in unmarked graves near former residential schools accumulated. As of June 24, the number of bodies found stands at around 1000.

In the June 28  issue of Globe and Mail, I read of Puja Bagri’s shock at being the target of racist harassment in a grocery store. “Not a single person,” she writes, “spoke up in our defence.”

Reminders, in the lead-up to Canada Day, of choices Canadians made and continue to make.

I don’t have answers to the whys or the hows. I’m not an expert in politics or social justice – I know books better than people. Writing is what I have to offer. In light of this, I’ve put together a list of books (which I didn’t write, but did read and love). Some focus on specific events and issues; others describe a lifetime’s accumulation of toxic messages and marginalisation. Each suggests, in some way, how solidarity and understanding help to align our values with what we’ve always claimed them to be.

Essays and Memoirs:

Desmond Cole, The Skin We’re In.

Sarah Kurchak, I Overcame My Autism and All I Got was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder.

Amanda Leduc, Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space.

Lee Maracle, My Conversations With Canadians.

Eternity Martis, They Said This Would Be Fun.

Novels:

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Dear Canada: Prisoners in the Promised Land.

Thomas King, Sufferance.

Joy Kogawa, Obasan.

Books. Tweets. Documentaries. How do we build on these conversations? What do we celebrate?

Published by Emma Lammers

Writer with a novel in progress. Book reviewer. Occasionally crafty.

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