From a story of hardship in America’s poor Rust Belt to foolproof recipes for plant-based cooking to J.K. Rowling’s famed guidebook for magical creatures, Heather Reisman’s list of top books for the holidays has a little something for everyone. The founder and CEO of Indigo Books outlined her picks for readers of every age and taste, on CTV News Channel on Thursday.


1. "Wenjack" by Joseph Boyden

Heather’s Pick. Written by Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author Joseph Boyden and beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Ken Monkman, Wenjack is a powerful and poignant look into the world of a residential school runaway trying to find his way home.

2. "Best Kind of People" by Zoe Whittall

Heather’s Pick and Indigo’s 2016 Book of the Year. What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable? George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.


3. "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance

Heather’s Pick. From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

4. "Waiting for First Light" by Romeo Dallaire

Heather’s Pick. Roméo Dallaire, traumatized by witnessing genocide on an imponderable scale in Rwanda, reflects in these pages on the nature of PTSD and the impact of that deep wound on his life since 1994, and on how he motivates himself and others to humanitarian work despite his constant struggle.

5. "In the Company of Women" by Grace Bonney

Across the globe, women are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and starting creative businesses. In the Company of Women profiles over 100 of these influential and creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries. Chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, these interviews detail the keys to success (for example, going with your gut; maintaining meaningful and lasting relationships), highlight the importance of everyday rituals (meditating; creating a daily to-do list), and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers (stay true to what you believe in; have patience).


6. "Oh She Glows Everyday" by Angela Liddon

Angela Liddon’s irresistible and foolproof recipes have become the gold standard for plant-based cooking. Her phenomenally popular blog and international bestseller, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, have amassed millions of fans eager for her latest collection of creative and accessible recipes. Now, in this highly anticipated new cookbook, Angela shares wildly delicious recipes that are perfect for busy lifestyles, promising to make plant-based eating convenient every day of the week—including holidays and special occasions!

Young Adult:

7. "The Sun is Also A Star" by Nicola Yoon

Following up an impressive debut, Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star is perfect for fans of Fault in Our Stars, All the Bright Places, and Holding Up the Universe. Natasha and Daniel are two young teens growing up in New York City under a host of pressures – Natasha is trying desperately to stay in the US, while Daniel is attempting to hold on to his ‘Final Day of Childhood’. Their blossoming relationship deals with everything from race to family loyalty to passion and heartbreak. A wonderful book for people who believe in love at first sight – and people who don’t.

8. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay" by J.K. Rowling

The screenplay for the new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, presented in a beautiful hardcover edition, is a must-have for all Harry Potter fans. This is J.K. Rowling’s first screenplay, and provides a wealth of additional insight into the characters, magical creatures, and the New York wizarding world. Find out how Magizoologist Newt Scamander came to write his famous guidebook to Fantastic Beasts!

Kids Picks:

9. "Canada ABC" by Paul Covello

For ages: 0-2

Heather’s Pick. Paul Covello’s gloriously bright and detailed art makes this a perfect board book to introduce the youngest Canadians to our country’s most iconic symbols, souvenirs and events, including the Dogsled, Inuksuk, Loonie, Totem Pole and the Zamboni machine.

10. "The Storybook Knight" by Helen Docherty

For ages: 2-4

Heather’s Pick. Even dragons love a good story. Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read. When Leo's mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword-and a pile of his favorite books. But can a story be as mighty as a sword?

11. "Darkest Dark" by Chris Hadfield

For ages: 3-5

Heather’s Pick. Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

12. "Canada Year by Year" by Elizabeth MacLeod

For ages: 8-10

Heather’s Pick. With Canada’s 150th anniversary coming up this July, there’s no better time to share Canada’s story. This new book by Canadian author Elizabeth Macleod introduces kids to Canada’s history with gorgeous illustrations by Sydney Smith.