100 books like Canada and immigration

By Freda Hawkins,

Here are 100 books that Canada and immigration fans have personally recommended if you like Canada and immigration. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Canadian immigration policy has always been a subject of fierce political and public debate and in this authoritative work Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock examine the interests, ideas, institutions, and rhetoric that have shaped it. The authors begin their study in the pre-Confederation period and interpret major developments in the evolution of Canadian immigration policy. Among the shameful episodes they describe are the deportations of the First World War and Great Depression and the uprooting and internment of Japanese Canadians after Pearl Harbour.

By Ninette Kelley, Michael Trebilcock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the Mosaic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Immigration policy is a subject of intense political and public debate. In this second edition of the widely recognized and authoritative work The Making of the Mosaic, Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock have thoroughly revised and updated their examination of the ideas, interests, institutions, and rhetoric that have shaped Canada's immigration history. Beginning their study in the pre-Confederation period, the authors interpret major episodes in the evolution of Canadian immigration policy, including the massive deportations of the First World War and Depression eras as well as the Japanese-Canadian internment camps during World War Two. New chapters provide perspective on immigration…


Book cover of The Little Immigrants: The Orphans Who Came to Canada

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Journalist, author, and retired United Church minister, Kenneth Bagnell has written a vivid account of the thousands of slum children (not all of them were orphans) who were dispatched to Canada from 1869 to the late 1930s by well-meaning philanthropists, philanthropic rescue homes, and parish workhouse schools. At the time, this seemed to be the ideal solution to a two-pronged problem: what to do with the tens of thousands of children from the slums of Britain who faced a bleak future there and how to meet the soaring demand for cheap labour on Canadian farms.

By Kenneth Bagnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Little Immigrants is a tale of compassion and courage and a vivid account of a deep and moving part of Canadian heritage. In the early years after Confederation, the rising nation needed workers that could take advantage of the abundant resources. Until the time of the Depression, 100,000 impoverished children from the British Isles were sent overseas by well-meaning philanthropists to solve the colony's farm-labour shortage.

They were known as the "home children," and they were lonely and frightened youngsters to whom a new life in Canada meant only hardship and abuse. This is an extraordinary but almost forgotten…


Book cover of Invisible Immigrants: The English in Canada since 1945

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

Although the English are among the largest immigrant groups contributing to the development of modern Canada, their story remained, for the most part, untold until the publication of this book in 2015. In this carefully researched work of popular history, Marilyn Barber and Murray Watson recount the personal experiences of English immigrants who elected to come to Canada between the 1940s and 1970s, England’s last major wave of emigration. Most of these postwar English immigrants thought they were going to a country whose language and culture would be familiar. Instead, like other immigrants, they contended with separation from loved ones back home while adapting to a new landscape and culture. Moreover, although they did not appear visibly different from their neighbours, these newcomers were immediately labelled “foreigners” as soon as they started to speak.

By Marilyn Barber, Murray Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Invisible Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite being one of the largest immigrant groups contributing to the development of modern Canada, the story of the English has been all but untold. In Invisible Immigrants, Barber and Watson document the experiences of English-born immigrants who chose to come to Canada during England's last major wave of emigration between the 1940s and the 1970s. Engaging life story oral histories reveal the aspirations, adventures, occasional naivete, and challenges of these hidden immigrants. Postwar English immigrants believed they were moving to a familiar British country. Instead, like other immigrants, they found they had to deal with separation from home and…


Book cover of Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980

Valerie Knowles Author Of Strangers at Our Gates: Canadian Immigration and Immigration Policy, 1540-2015

From my list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history.

Who am I?

I am a Canadian freelance writer, who has a BA in honours history from Smith College, an MA in history from McGill University, and a Bachelor in Journalism from Carleton University. As I have a special interest in Canadian history and Canadian biography, I have authored books in these subject areas. These include an award-winning biography of Sir William Van Horne, a polymath and railway general who pushed through the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and Cairine Wilson. Canada’s first woman senator, who was celebrated for her work with refugees in the 1930s and 1940s, and a best-selling survey of Canadian immigration and immigration policy, Strangers At Our Gates.

Valerie's book list on capturing Canada’s colourful immigration history

Valerie Knowles Why did Valerie love this book?

The fall of Saigon in 1975, inspired the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement program in Canada’s history. In this compelling book, former Canadian immigration officers recount the experiences of a few dozen men and women who visited 70 remote refugee camps to arrange for the selection and resettlement of thousands of individuals displaced by oppression and war in eight different countries. The long days and humid and trying conditions under which these officers worked — sometimes sleeping on their work tables and subsisting on green tea and dried noodles – make for a gripping narrative. But the history also describes the 1976 Immigration Act, which established new refugee procedures and introduced private sponsorship. Ultimately, Canada accepted and resettled 60,000 refugees, half of whom were privately sponsored.

By Michael Molloy, Peter Duschinsky, Kurt Jensen , Robert Shalka

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Running on Empty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fall of Saigon in April 1975 resulted in the largest and most ambitious refugee resettlement effort in Canada's history. Running on Empty presents the challenges and successes of this bold refugee resettlement program. It traces the actions of a few dozen men and women who travelled to seventy remote refugee camps, worked long days in humid conditions, subsisted on dried noodles and green tea, and sometimes slept on their worktables while rats scurried around them - all in order to resettle thousands of people displaced by war and oppression. After initially accepting 7,000 refugees from camps in Guam, Hong…


Book cover of Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada, 1880 1940

C. Elizabeth Koester Author Of In the Public Good: Eugenics and Law in Ontario

From my list on how eugenics came to Canada.

Who am I?

I'm a lapsed lawyer who decided as an empty-nest project to take a few history of medicine courses just for fun. One thing led to another and I found myself with a PhD and a book about eugenics and law to my name. I love the history of medicine. It connects us right back to the cavemen who worried about the same things we worry about today – illness, injury, our bodies, reproduction, death, dying. The history of eugenics is really a part of that history and it is filled with laws – coerced reproductive sterilization, marriage restrictions based on so-called “fitness,” etc. So it's a perfect union of my background and my newfound love. 

C.'s book list on how eugenics came to Canada

C. Elizabeth Koester Why did C. love this book?

It is important when trying to understand eugenics in Canada to compare how it played out in this country to its trajectory elsewhere. This helps us understand what the commonalities were in the ideas and also to see how and where specific environments resulted in local incarnations of these ideas. Dowbiggin does this for us with great insight by writing comparatively about psychiatry and eugenics in Canada and the U.S. I knew that psychiatrists had enthusiastically taken up the eugenic cause but this book explains really well how and why this happened on both sides of the border, showing us that the profession’s general support for eugenics was not necessarily (or only) because of the ideas themselves, but for professional and status-building reasons.

By Ian Robert Dowbiggin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Keeping America Sane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would bring a physician to conclude that sterilization is appropriate treatment for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped? Using archival sources, Ian Robert Dowbiggin documents the involvement of both American and Canadian psychiatrists in the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century. He explains why professional men and women committed to helping those less fortunate than themselves arrived at such morally and intellectually dubious conclusions.

Psychiatrists at the end of the nineteenth century felt professionally vulnerable, Dowbiggin explains, because they were under intense pressure from state and provincial governments and from other physicians to reform their specialty. Eugenic ideas,…


Book cover of With No Remorse

Tina Wainscott Author Of Wild Lies

From my list on action/suspense romance with hot heroes and heart.

Who am I?

I love the combination of action and romance and suspense. It’s a real juggle as an author to balance the two main elements (suspense and romance mostly), give each depth and page time, and make us care about the people both in love and in peril. I’ve always been drawn to suspense, even as a kid. But I gotta have the relationships, too. I used to direct plays with my childhood friends, and there were always bad guys and the romance—and this was long before I was thinking of having a real romance!

Tina's book list on action/suspense romance with hot heroes and heart

Tina Wainscott Why did Tina love this book?

This book jumps off the page from moment one and doesn't let up. But along the way, I got to know and love the two leads, completely different people thrown together, overcoming their baggage to stay alive, and find love. Valentina is a supermodel and he’s a Back Ops Inc bad dude who had a teenage crush on Val and now gets to save her from bad guys who are trying to abduct her. Luke, however bad and yet cavalier he may come off, his hiding some serious baggage that he gets to unpack in this high-rolling story. 

By Cindy Gerard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked With No Remorse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Black Ops, Inc. operative Luke - Doc Holliday - Colter is taking some much needed down-time, making his way across the Peruvian Andes via rail, when banditos attack the moving train in the midnight hours. It soon becomes apparent that robbery is not their intent but the abduction of super model Valentina, who is traveling incognito while recovering from a public scandal involving her ex-husband, high profile US Senator, Marcus Chamberlin. Luke whisks Valentina off the train in a daring escape but the two of them become the targets of a relentless manhunt. Enlisting the aid of Luke's BOI teammates,…


Book cover of Bones to the Wind

C.M. Lockhart Author Of We Are the Origin

From my list on Black girls who aren’t all that nice.

Who am I?

I’m a Black woman who writes stories about Black girls who aren’t all that nice. And, to me, that means writing stories where Black girls are at the forefront of their stories and given the space to be whoever they are, wholly and without minimizing their character to make them fit into neat boxes next to others. I do this because being able to take up space as you are is, oftentimes, a privilege. And I want to make sure the stories I write offer that space to every reader who picks up one of my books.

C.M.'s book list on Black girls who aren’t all that nice

C.M. Lockhart Why did C.M. love this book?

This book is a masterclass on how to write fantasy. The worldbuilding is immaculate, the characters are complex with big personalities, and I was laughing out loud (not an exaggeration) from the first page.

Rasia and Nico are Black girls who know what they want. They constantly clash with each other, never giving an inch when they can take a mile, and I want every lover of fantasy to read this book.

Book cover of The Pillar of Light

Colton Mckay Author Of A Stone's Throw

From my list on fantasy authors that reveal Christ in their work.

Who am I?

I have been writing for more than a decade specifically in fantasy. My mind was filled with tales of magic, heroes, and mythical creatures for decades. When Christ called me it was like learning how to fit my creativity and imagination into this box. Except, He is the box from which all creativity comes. As for my expertise concerning the Word of God, I have studied the Bible from beginning to end and I have prepared and preached a number of sermons. I will one day be a full-fledged pastor, and writing is a part of the job. I have a unique blend of fantasy and Christ. 

Colton's book list on fantasy authors that reveal Christ in their work

Colton Mckay Why did Colton love this book?

I enjoyed Anna's writing because of her courage to include missionaries in her work.

Often times those who love Christ refuse to speak of Him or include Him.

Anna does not have this problem and her work is better for it. I found here a rich world that parallels our own in creative ways.

I didn't want to put it down and I am excited to read the rest of the series. 

By Anna Travis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pillar of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lost in a magical world, an ordinary group of teenagers find themselves under threat from the Hunters of Avoria.

When a teen mission trip goes wrong, Nani and her friends find themselves stranded on the world of Milana. The key to their survival is buried somewhere in Nani's broken memory.

Nani's friends are counting on her, but if she wants her memories back, Nani will have to align with one of the very men trying to capture her friends. Can she trust the Hunter? Can Nani forgive him for his past, in order to regain her own? The Pillar of…


Book cover of How to Train Your Dad

Jody J. Little Author Of Worse Than Weird

From my list on kids who feel like outsiders in their family.

Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about outsiders and misfits. Who hasn’t, at some point, wondered if they fit in with their family, friends, or school? I love the moments in stories when characters find their voice and recognize that being different can be empowering. As an elementary teacher, it’s my hope that each student in my classroom can share their uniqueness and let their voice shine. I want them to know that it’s okay to feel different or to be weird. The lead characters in the middle grade books I’m recommending all have that sense of being an outsider in some way. I hope you enjoy them.

Jody's book list on kids who feel like outsiders in their family

Jody J. Little Why did Jody love this book?

"My father was always practical in the weirdest possible way.This is one of the masterful Gary Paulsen’s final books for young readers, and I loved it. The life of Carl and his father is eccentric, to say the least. Dumpster diving for food scraps? Reweaving old cloth to make clothes? Carl and his best friend, Pooder, have a plan to make his life better! Using a puppy training manual for inspiration, Carl sets out to train his own father to change for the better. What follows is a tangent-filled, laugh-out-loud, heartwarming training session.

By Gary Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Train Your Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

From Gary Paulsen, the award-winning author of Hatchet, comes a laugh-out-loud eco-adventure about a boy, his free-thinking dad and the puppy-training pamphlet that turns their summer upside down.

Twelve-year-old Carl is fed up with his dad; he may be brilliant, but bin-diving for food, scouring through rubbish for 'salvageable' junk and wearing clothes fully sourced from garage sales is getting old. Increasingly worried by what his schoolmates will think - and encouraged by his riotous best friend - Carl decides to use a puppy-training pamphlet to 'retrain' his dad's mindset . . . a crackpot experiment that produces some hilarious…


Book cover of Black Bear Red Fox (Colours in Cree)

Kari Rust Author Of Tricky

From my list on animal friends and creative illustrations.

Who am I?

I am an illustrator, author, and animator. When I write and draw, I hope to vividly bring characters and settings to life in the imaginations of readers. Mischievous dogs, mysterious old houses, and brilliant mathematicians are some of the subjects I’ve had the pleasure of putting on the pages of books. I love animals and art, so artistic picture books with animals at their heart, give me a lot of joy. Because the illustrations in a picture book tell stories, I look for artwork that expresses character, mood, and movement. The best picture books leave a mark in visual memory that connects to the feeling of a story.

Kari's book list on animal friends and creative illustrations

Kari Rust Why did Kari love this book?

Black Bear, Red Fox is a board book introducing colours in both English and Cree using animals and plants. Julie Flett’s lush, vibrant illustrations highlight the colours so vividly they seem to pop off the page. Board books are associated with very young children, however, this one can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in learning some words in Cree while enjoying some beautiful artwork. Arden Ogg of the Cree Literacy Network provides an interesting and informative introduction about the use of colour words in the Cree language. There is also a helpful pronunciation chart. If you are looking for colour, this book delivers! Each page is a gorgeous work of art and design.

By Julie Flett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Bear Red Fox (Colours in Cree) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Provides the English and Cree words for colors, along with the pronunciation.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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