Little Readers: We Have Always Been Here, part of CBC Reads

Samra Habib’s memoir, We Have Always Been Here, was the 5th and final book that I read from the Canada Reads shortlist and I simply couldn’t put it down. Habib chronicles her journey to finding herself and her identity as a queer Muslim. Born in Pakistan, Habib immigrated to Canada at a young age as her family fled from political religious persecution. Throughout the book the reader is made to understand the internal conflicts that Habib endured as she tried to balance her strong conservative upbringing, along with its social expectations, and the life that she longed to live. There is so much to unpack in this book, but to me the take away from it is the value of love and family- both the family your born into, and the one you build from your community. There is saying that “it takes a village” and even though this often refers to child rearing, this book is a perfect example of the importance of finding your village for yourself. On her journey to discover her identity, Habib found a way to build her village and their acceptance of her allowed her to embrace who she is. It is simply a beautiful and raw memoir that I would highly recommend to friends and family to read.

The Canada Reads debates take place next week, March 16-19 on CBC, CBC Gem, CBC Radio and CBC Books. In my opinion, I still feel that Jesse Thistle’s From the Ashes is the one book that all of Canada should read, however I’d be just as happy if Samra Habib’s We Have Always Been Here takes home the champion title.

I give We Have Always Been Here 4 out of 5 stars. 

Meredith is a Disney obsessed stay-at-home mom. When she’s not planning a trip, you’ll find her with her nose in a book.

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