Simcoe Reads

7 Libraries. 7 Books. 1 Winner.

Simcoe Reads logoSeven Simcoe County libraries are squaring off again for a cover-to-cover competition: Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, and Ramara. Based on Canada Reads, each library will select a Canadian book and a local celebrity champion. Read all seven books over the summer, pick your favourite and then enjoy a live debate in September to see which book is crowned the winner. All seven book titles will be announced July 1, 2021 so check back soon!

Watch the 2020 Cover-to-Cover Competition on Rogers TV

Discover Simcoe Reads

Registration will open July 1, 2021

It's easy to join Simcoe Reads:

  • Visit the App Store or Google Play and download the FREE Beanstack Tracker app to get started earning virtual prizes
  • Join our Celebrity Champion (to be announced!) in the challenge and read all five Canadian titles (or as many as you want)
  • Play along at home on the Beanstack Tracker app and complete badges - every badge you collect earns a ballot for our grand prizes
  • Watch to see who wins when our champions defend their book in a live debate in September


Simcoe Reads 2020

Simcoe Reads 2020 Winners

Watch the Simcoe Reads Finale on Rogers TV online:

Judges' Choice:

BPL is proud to say our Champion, Lisa Morgan, won the Judges' Choice! 

Champion Lisa Morgan and Host Andrea Murray with trophies

The Simcoe Reads plaque is officially on display at BPL! 

CEO Lauren Jessop holding the Simcoe Reads plaque

Simcoe Reads 2020 Champions

Barrie Public Library: 

Champion: Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan has been the Midday Host at 107.5 KOOLFM in Barrie for 13 years. She holds a BA from The University of Ottawa but got into radio at age 17 and it sort of stuck! 

Some of her earliest memories are of being read to, at home and at school.  She spent her summers as a child biking to the little blue library in Beeton and checking out stacks of mystery novels like the Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Her tastes have expanded since then and she has a long list of favourites that she will gladly share if you want a book recommendation.

Lisa lives with her husband and two children.  Her 7 year-old daughter is a bookworm. She says "Books are precious! To me, books are like jewels!" 

Book: An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and a Best Book of the Year according to Real Simplethe Globe and Mail, and the CBC, this follows the love story of two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

In this novel America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him—even if it means risking everything. When she finds out there’s a company that has invented time travel, she agrees to a radical contract: if she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a transformed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to determine if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story that paints an intimate portrait of endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past—and the price of letting it go.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library: 

Champion: Noora Akhavan

Born in Iran and living in India and England before moving to Canada, Noora fell in love with reading at boarding school – reading Enid Blyton, National Geographic magazines and comic book retellings of Indian and Hindu mythology. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario, Noora is a lawyer currently practicing criminal and family law. She is a longtime activist for women's and human rights and has volunteered/served on numerous advocacy committees and organizations. She is currently on the executive of the BWG Diversity Action Group, a member of the BWG Library Board and vice-chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bradford Baha’I Community. Books have always been a comfort to Noora, who reads every day and enjoys British murder mysteries or spiritual books, often with a cup of tea. A resident for 25 years, Noora loves Bradford West Gwillimbury and is thrilled to represent the BWG community in Simcoe Reads.

Book: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Encompassing themes of colonialism, love and family, resource development and community, this novel, inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou – a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities – is an inventive, engrossing and thrilling read.

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year--ever since he went missing on the night they had their first serious argument. One hung-over morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher. By the time she staggers into the tent the service is over, but as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice.

She turns, and there is Victor. Only he insists he is not Victor, but the Reverend Eugene Wolff, on a mission to bring his people to Jesus. And he doesn't seem to be faking: there isn't even a flicker of recognition in his eyes.

With only two allies--her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, and Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark with deep knowledge of the old ways--Joan sets out to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. If he really is Victor, his life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon her success.

Essa Public Library: 

Champion: Emily Wood

For Emily Wood, words are inherently an inextricably a part of her life. An avid reader from a young age, her love of books quickly developed into a love of writing stories, a passion she continues to pursue in hopes of becoming an author herself. She studied Communications at the University of Ottawa and later earned a diploma in Print & Broadcast Journalism at Durham College, and currently works as a Marketing & Communications professional for a charitable foundation. Though she’ll read just about anything you put in front of her, her favourite books include edge-of-your-seat thrillers, dystopian novels, a good whodunnit and, of course, anything set in a creepy old house.

Book: The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls--a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place--Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the "Saturday Night Ghost Club." But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly lighthearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become.

Innisfil ideaLab and Library: 

Champion: Lynn Dollin

Lynn was elected Mayor for the Town of Innisfil in 2018 and has represented the Town since 1994. First as Councillor for twenty years, and as Deputy Mayor from 2014 to 2018. She has been the Town of Innisfil’s representative on many boards including the Lake Simcoe and Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authorities, the Royal Victoria Hospital Board and the South Simcoe Economic Alliance.

Lynn was elected to the Board of the Association of Municipalities on Ontario in 2011, spent two years as Chair of Ontario’s Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM) and in 2016 was elected President of AMO.  She also spent two years as a board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and representing Ontario at the Provincial and Territorial Associations.

Lynn has a diverse background in representing municipal interests, including being one of only 19 people throughout Ontario to receive an appointment by the Ontario Minister of the Environment to serve as chairperson of the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Committee. In that role she chairs a 22-member, multi stakeholder committee that is working on a plan to protect municipal drinking water from overuse and contamination.

Book: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.

Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.

Midland Public Library: 

Champion: Kristi Presse

A University of Toronto and Trent University grad, Kristi has been teaching English at the local high school for the past 13 years. She fell in love with reading at a young age through Archie Comics and hasn’t stopped expanding her preferred novel styles and choices since. Kristi loves finding new books to read, especially ones she can incorporate into her classes, striving to promote and expose her students to Canadian and minority voices as much as possible. Kristi fills her free time with friends and family, playing music, creating, being active and getting outdoors with her dog Zoé, and spending as much time as possible on Georgian Bay. Born and raised in Midland Kristi is so excited to be representing her hometown in this county book showdown.

Book: From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle’s heartwrenching memoir of homelessness and coming to a more full understanding of his Metis identity is a disquieting but essential read. Following his footsteps through loving and traumatic childhood homes, and then a spiral of addiction, incarceration, and homelessness, we finally see that Jesse’s story is one of utter truthfulness, courage, and resilience.v

Simcoe Reads 2020 Authors

Meet Our Authors:

Author Talk with Craig Davidson 

View the author talk with Craig Davidson and the Essa Public Library

Author Talk with Thea Lim and Lisa Morgan 

September 3 at 6:30 pm 

Tune in to learn Thea Lim's thoughts on An Ocean Of Minutes, Simcoe Reads, and more. Find out what Lisa Morgan's thoughts were as she read the book. Most importantly, tune in to ask Thea all of your own questions for An Ocean of Minutes. 

Author Talk with Waubgeshig Rice 

September 10, 2020 at 7:00 pm 

Tune in with Innisfil Public Library to learn more about Moon of the Crusted Snow and about Rice's experiences as an author. Originally from Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario, Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist who has written short story collections and novels. 

Author Talk with Cherie Dimaline

September 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm 

Tune in with Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library to learn more about Empire of Wild. Cherie Dimaline is a Metis writer and activist from the Georgian Bay Metis community.