Canada Reads, organized and broadcast by the CBC, is an annual ‘battle of the books’ competition that’s been running since 2002. During the multi day event, five personalities champion five different books based on a theme chosen for the year and the debate is broadcast over a series of five programs. At the end of each episode, the panellists vote one title out of the competition until only the winning book remains.
This year’s theme was ‘one book to shift your perspective.’ And the winning book, announced this year on March 30th, set a precedent. For the first time ever, a graphic novel was declared the winner. ‘Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands’ by Kate Beaton was declared the book that all of Canada should read.
In putting forth her pick, Jeopardy! champion Mattea Roach said everyone is implicated in the story Ducks tells. “Ducks is one woman’s story, but it’s the story of an industry we all rely on in some way,” Roach said during the Canada Reads finale. “Whether we’re people living in Alberta who go to work in the sands . . . whether we’re people that live in central Canada who benefit from the wealth this industry creates, we are all implicated.”
Along with taking the 2023 win for Canada Reads, Ducks was also named a top Canadian comic by CBC Books in 2022, and it was one of two Canadian books on Barack Obama’s list of favourite books for that year too.
Congratulations to Kate Beaton!