One of the best ways to learn about Canadian culture is by reading these classic Canadian books. In this article, we have compiled brief lists of books for adults, teens, and children that can help you learn about the diverse culture and history of Canada.
The benefit of reading these novels is two-fold: first, you can become familiar with aspects of Canadian culture and second, you can practice your English or French comprehension. Canada does have two official languages, English and French, so we have included Canadian content in both of these languages.
Canadian books for adults
The Canadian landscape and culture inspires many great novels and nonfiction books. Here are a few books for adults set in Canada to help you get started:
|Mr. Hockey||Gordie Howe||An autobiography of one of Canada’s most famous hockey stars, Gordie Howe.|
|The Inconvenient Indian||Thomas King||This account of Indigenous people’s history in North America is full of humour, despite its heavy topic.|
|Souvenir of Canada||Douglas Coupland||This book examines some of the lesser-known parts of Canadian culture in a series of tongue-in-cheek essays.|
|The Last Spike||Pierre Berton||A nonfiction account of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, uniting Western with Eastern Canada.|
|The Stone Diaries||Carol Shields||Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. A fictional journal of an ordinary woman’s life and her struggle to fit in, set in a rural town in Canada at the turn of the twentieth century.|
(The Tin Flute)
|Gabrielle Roy||A celebrated French-Canadian novel about the effects of World War II on a poor neighbourhood in Montreal.|
Canadian books for teens
There are plenty of novels and picture books for readers of all ages and levels that can help kids and teens learn about Canada.
|Anne of Green Gables||L.M. Montgomery||This series is great for all ages. It follows the adventures of young Anne, a curious and bright orphan who moves into a new home on beautiful Prince Edward Island.|
|Dear Canada Series||Multiple authors||The Dear Canada series is a series of fictional journals from young Canadian girls at different points of Canadian history. The books take on some deeper themes and are recommended for a pre-teen or older readers.|
|Hatchet||Gary Paulsen||A young-adult wilderness survival novel following a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.|
|Haunted Canada||Pat Hancock||A series of ghost stories for young adult readers taking place at real historic buildings across Canada.|
Canadian books for young children
|Canadian Flyer Series||Frieda Wishinsky||This series is aimed at readers who are just starting to read short novels. Each installment follows a pair of neighbours as they time travel to a different point in Canadian history.|
|Le Chandail de Hockey
(The Hockey Sweater)
|Roch Carrier||This children’s picture book is available in both English and French and is a great introduction to Canada’s favourite sport, hockey.|
|The Day I Became a Canadian: A Citizenship Scrapbook||Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet||A children’s picture book about the day young Xiao Ling Li and her family become Canadian citizens.|
|Carson Crosses Canada||Linda Bailey||A children’s picture book about Carson’s road trip with his mother from British Columbia to Newfoundland.|
|A is for Aboriginal||Joseph Maclean||A children’s alphabet and picture book that introduces the cultures of Canada’s aboriginal peoples.|
|Tales from the Tundra||Ibi Kaslik||A beautifully illustrated book of Inuit fables.|
These books are just a few of Canada’s favourite stories. If you loved these titles, reach out to your local public library for more recommendations. Many e-books can be accessed online for free. If you prefer to listen to your stories, audiobooks are another popular option and can be found on subscription-based sites like Audible, or free public domain sites like Librivox or Open Culture.