Brilliant BC books about science, nature and health

If you’re eager to read more books about British Columbia or by BC authors, you might enjoy one of the titles below. For more ideas, check out the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, a joint effort between UBC Library and BC BookWorld.

Book cover: Converging Waters

Converging Waters: The Beauty and Challenges of the Broughton Archipelago by Daniel Hillert and Gwen Curry

Converging Waters is filled with stunning photos of this marine paradise. The area has been in the news recently due to removal of fish farms – to learn more about the controversy over fish farms in BC, check out The Salmon People podcast.

Book cover: Fire Weather

Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant

John Vaillant writes about the terrifying new phenomenon of wildfires so intense they create their own weather, such as pyrocumulus clouds, which in turn worsen the fires – as seen in 2016 in Fort McMurray. Watch Vaillant speak about his book as part of the Vancouver Writers Fest / VPL Incite series.

Book cover: Held by the Land

Held by the Land: A Guide to Indigenous Plants for Wellness by Leigh Joseph

Leigh Joseph, ethnobotanist and member of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nation, describes how we can build relationships and learn from plants in our environment, and the benefits of specific plants for our well-being. Joseph is the founder of skincare company Sḵwálwen Botanicals.

Book cover: Mr. Mindbomb

Mr. Mindbomb: Eco-Hero and Greenpeace Co-founder Bob Hunter by Bobbi Hunter

This book gathers stories about the life of Bob Hunter, who co-founded Greenpeace in Vancouver in 1971. Learn more about the history of Greenpeace in the film How to Change the World, or dive even deeper in the archival collection at UBC.

Book cover: The Sacred Headwaters

The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena and Nass by Wade Davis

The Sacred Headwaters is full of gorgeous photographs, with text by Wade Davis and quotes from Tahltan elders about the significance of this region of BC. It was published in 2011 when the valley was opened to potential industrial development. Thankfully, the area has been protected by Indigenous land defenders, who you can learn more about in the 2022 documentary The Klabona Keepers.

Book cover: Spirits of the Coast

Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History edited by Martha Black, Lorne Hammond and Gavin Hanke, with Nikki Sanchez

Orcas have been in the news this summer. This essay collection brings together varied perspectives from scientists, Indigenous knowledge keepers, artists and others who are enthralled by orcas.

Book cover: Tracking Giants

Tracking Giants by Amanda Lewis

In Tracking Giants, Amanda Lewis chronicles her quest to visit BC’s Champion trees. She learns to embrace the journey rather than working joylessly through a checklist. If you like this book, you might also enjoy Big Lonely Doug.

Book cover: A Woman in Between

A Woman in Between: Searching for Dr. Victoria Chung by John Price with Ningping Yu

A Woman in Between tells the amazing story of Dr. Victoria Chung, the first Chinese Canadian person to earn a medical degree in Canada. Dr. Chung served as a medical missionary in China from 1923 until her death in 1966. She became a hospital director and was hailed as a National Cultural Hero, but little was known about her life until authors Price and Yu spent a decade piecing together her story for this book.

Book cover: A Year on the Wild Side

A Year on the Wild Side: A West Coast Naturalist’s Almanac by Briony Penn

This funny, beautifully illustrated collection of brief essays takes you month by month through a year of the natural history of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands – from otters to octopus, marmots to moon snails. Penn has also written biographies of Elder Cecil Paul (Wa’xaid) and Ian McTaggart Cowan.

Book cover: Your Body is a Revolution

Your Body is a Revolution: Healing our Relationships with our Bodies, Each Other and the Earth by Tara Teng

In Your Body is a Revolution, embodiment coach Tara Teng gives guidance on how to release trauma and shame originating from social and religious bodily oppression. She explains how body acceptance translates into improved health and better alignment with other people and our environment.