5 Books We're Reading this Summer

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves Canada office staff on June 13, 2022

As the summer approaches, each of our Canada office staff are eager to find a comfortable spot on a couch or in the sun, with a cup of cold water, tea or coffee and pick up a book.  Here's what we're reading this summer!


Jeannette Slater, Erez Zobary, Lindsay Fawcett, Leora Schaefer and Jasmine Wong


Jeannette's Pick

They Call me George - The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada by Cecil Foster


  • Why did you choose this book? I became interested after watching CBC Gem drama series ‘The Porter’.

  • Why are you looking forward to reading this book? I'm interested in learning more about Canadian Black History.

  • Where/how do you hope to read this book? Cozy on the couch with a cup of tea.





Lindsay’s Pick

Firekeepers Daughter by Angeline Boulley


  • Why did you choose this book?
This book has been on my list for a while but I recently found out that it’s being made into a tv show so I bumped it up. 

  • Why are you looking forward to reading this book? I love a great thriller with twists and turns and I’ve heard this book is full of them. 

  • Would this book appeal to teachers/students? This book is for young adults so I think it might be okay for older high school students. 

  • Where/how do you hope to read this book? I’ll be reading this ebook in my sunny backyard. I was able to get a copy from the library through the Libby app, I highly recommend downloading it! 


Jasmine's Pick

Letter to a Stranger:  Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us, Edited by Colleen Kinder

"Sixty-five extraordinary writers grapple with this mystery: How can an ephemeral encounter with a stranger leave such an eternal mark?"


  • Why did you choose this book? During the summer, I look forward to sitting in the shade of a tree and picking up reading that will transport me to another place, another time, into another’s experiences or into a deeper reflection of my own. This collection of short essays by award winning creative writers and journalists will do just that.  

    Through this collection, readers are invited into moments of deep reflection on the strangers who have haunted us. In the foreword of Letter to a Stranger Leslie Jamison writes about it in this way: 

    “We spend so much of our lives in the company of people whose names we’ll never know, people we’ll never meet again. How rarely we honor them. How rarely we admit to ourselves the strange, unannounced ways they can lodge inside of us.  These essays invite our stowaways to climb up from beneath the deck. These essays don’t say, I knew you. They say, I never really knew you. They confess their own partial gazes. They open up territories we didn’t know we had inside of us.”

  • Would this book appeal to teachers/students? Absolutely; I think the question, “Who are the strangers who haunt us?” is a question that resonates with us as human beings in an ephemeral world.  Sometimes these strangers are the young people we teach, sometimes these strangers are the ones we meet during summers when we are deep in our own learning, traveling, the ones who have shaped us as adults, or the ones whose stories we read and can’t shake.  The essays are short, complex, riveting and brilliantly written, representing diverse authors’ experiences and encounters; these could serve as mentor texts for a grade 11 or 12 student creative writing assignment, but they should definitely be previewed first. 


Leora's Pick

The Barren Grounds By David A. Robertson

  • Why did you choose this book? Through a partnership that we have with Indigo Love of Reading we have been supporting a  group of exceptional educators from across the county who received funding to diversify their classroom library collections. This project has connected me with YA literature and so I picked up this David A. Robertson book.

  • Why are you looking forward to reading this book? It has been a while since I read a YA novel, and I do not often read fantasy.  I hope that I can convince my 12 year old son to read it with me.  

  • Would this book appeal to teachers? If so, which subjects, grade level? Yes, this is a great book for upper elementary/middle school students. 

  • Where/how do you hope to read this book? I always love reading outside in the summer, but reading inside on a rainy summer day is also wonderful.  




Erez's Pick

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard 



  • Why did you choose this book? I have so much more learning to do and know the important role understanding history can play in making meaningful, effective and important changes that make society more just and equitable.

  • Would this book appeal to teachers? This book is helpful for educators and administrators to understand the history and continuing legacy of state violence and how this may show up in the school system. We'll be talking about this (& more) during our Teaching for Equity and Justice seminar this summer.

  • Where/how do you hope to read this book?  I'm looking forward to reading this book in a comfortable chair outside with some cold water!



What are you reading this summer? We'd love to hear from you!


Topics: Books, Reading, Summer, Reading List


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