Debaters in place, strategies mapped out, challenges gearing up for Canada Reads 2013 turf wars

Canada Reads

After a bracing foray into non-fiction in 2012, Canada Reads 2013 returns to fiction. The framework for choosing the final books to be debated this time involved dividing the country (somewhat awkwardly) into five regions. Canadians were asked to recommend the novel they wanted to represent the place they call home. From a voted top 10 books per region to a second vote to narrow it down to top 5 books per region, the chosen debaters have brought it down to …

Canada Reads

  • Carol Huynh (@HuynhCarol) will defend Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (Douglas & McIntyre), representing the BC & Yukon region
  • Ron Maclean will defend The Age of Hope by David Bergen (Harper Collins Canada), representing the Prairies & The North region
  • Charlotte Gray will defend Away by Jane Urquhart (McClelland and Stewart), representing the Ontario region
  • Jay Baruchel (@BaruchelNDG) will defend Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan, representing the Quebec region
  • Trent McClellan (@Trent_McClellan) will defend February by Lisa Moore (House of Anansi Press), representing the Atlantic Provinces region
    Read my review of February, by Lisa Moore

I hope to post reviews of or commentaries on the other finalist books in the weeks to come. I’m also hoping to speak to some of this year’s debaters/book advocates and will post about that shortly.

The Canada Reads web site gives you everything you need to know about the books, the debaters, what everyone else thinks about the books and the debaters and what their strategies should be … all ramping up to the actual debates, which will take place from February 11th to 14th, 2013.

Our Canada Reads challenge to you

Leading up to the debates, here’s a way to get some more sparks flying between you and your book friends and tweeps.

  1. Pair up with a book friend or tweep and challenge each other to two things: identify a favourite library, book or literacy cause, and predict the outcome of the Canada Reads 2013 debates. Speak aloud your favourite cause, but keep your predictions under wraps (for now).
  2. Write down your Canada Reads predictions – the order in which the 5 books will finish – and seal them in an envelope.
  3. Exchange your envelope with your book friend, who will also have sealed his/her predictions.
  4. Shake hands with your book friend, and commit to two things: to not open those envelopes until the Canada Reads debates finish in February, 2013, and to donate to your friend’s library, book or literacy cause if your predictions are the least accurate of the two.
  5. Tweet who you are pairing up with for the challenge and promote the library, book or literacy cause that will benefit when you win and your opponent must make a donation. Tweet to @ayoungvoice and/or @bookgaga, and we’ll keep track of everyone who is taking the challenge.
  6. When all is revealed in February, you and your book friend/challenge partner open your envelopes and determine whose predictions were closest. Whoever predicted closest to the final Canada Reads results asks their challenge partner to make a donation as the “loser” (no one’s really a loser, though) of the bet.
  7. Tweet your results and mention again the cause that benefits from your challenge.

Allegra Young (@ayoungvoice) and I have already challenged each other to make our Canada Reads predictions. We have exchanged our sealed envelopes and revealed the causes we’re representing as part of this challenge.

Allegra has selected The Children’s Book Bank as her challenge charitable cause.

The mission of the Children’s Book Bank is to provide free books and literacy support to children who need them. Many Canadian families and organizations own quality children’s books that they have outgrown or cannot use. The Children’s Book Bank saves these books from the landfill or recycling system and distributes them to children who otherwise would not own their own books. Their organization:

  • Provides children with a safe and welcoming environment where they can experience the joy of reading
  • Offers literacy support in high needs communities
  • Supports the responsible recycling of gently-used books
  • Promotes community sharing through facilitating book drives by schools and organization

You can learn more about Children’s Book Bank via their web site (

As I did last year, I’ve selected Neighbourhood Link as my challenge charitable cause.

Neighbourhood Link Support Services is a non-profit social service agency working to help people primarily in the east Toronto community to live independently and with dignity. Since 1975, with the assistance of staff and volunteers, they have helped more than 20,000 people annually across a range of ages and groups, including seniors, new Canadians, children and youth, employment seekers and the homeless. Reading and literacy are vital components of many of Neighbourhood Link’s programs and services.

You can learn more about Neighbourhood Link via their web site ( and you can follow them on Twitter.

Joining us on the challenge are:

Carrie has selected STELLAA (Stella’s Training, Education, Literacy, Learning and Academic Assistance) as her challenge charitable cause.

STELLAA aims to promote literacy to the children and adults of Africa through providing donated books and needed educational resources. The organization’s goal is to help the people of Africa to realise their potential and create the new futures for themselves, their families and their communities that will eradicate poverty. In turn, they promote environmental responsibility through the re-use of books and educational supplies, saving thousands of pounds of books from polluting landfills.

You can learn more about STELLAA via their web site (

Jeanne has selected First Book Canada as her challenge charitable cause.

First Book Canada is a registered Canadian charity that helps provide new books to children who have none. Founded in the U.S. in 1992, it came to Canada in 2006 as First Book/Le Premier Livre. With the help of publishing partners, and working with community and school programs, First Book Canada supplies books to children who have no books of their own at home. Their primary goal is to help eradicate illiteracy by providing access to books and kindling an early interest in reading that will last a lifetime.

You can learn more about First Book Canada via their web site (

Care to join us?

Happy reading or re-reading of the Canada Reads contenders. Looking forward to all of the debates … the ones in February and the ones we’ll all be having before, during and after.

One thought on “Debaters in place, strategies mapped out, challenges gearing up for Canada Reads 2013 turf wars

  1. Pingback: February, by Lisa Moore | bookgaga

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