Announcing Our Winner!

Congratulations to our winner! Heidi was chosen by random draw and selected the book stack prize for early elementary.

Scroll for more on our fantastic donors and their books:


Full of heart, The House at the End of the Road incorporates graphic novel elements to tell a layered and moving story about an intergenerational friendship.

It shows how appearances can be deceiving: sometimes the best adventure awaits where you least expect it. Learn more.


Kari Rust is an award-winning illustrator, author and animator living in Vancouver. Contact her for speaking availability or give her a follow for more great titles:


Tree Musketeers is a universal fish-out-of-water story.

This successful portrait of kid-sized eco-warriors and finding one’s voice is a homespun tale of triumph with a touch of socially responsible charm. Learn more.


Norma Charles is the award-winning author of over twenty books for children. She lives with her family in Vancouver.

Contact her for speaking availability or give her a follow for more great titles:


This adorable, timely picture book about ways to welcome, friendship, and overcoming language barriers will connect classmates and cultures alike. A KIRKUS 2020 Best Book of the Year List title. Learn more.


Award-winning author-illustrator Aidan Cassie created her first picture books while in the south of France, but now writes and draws on a little island in the Salish Sea.

Contact her for speaking availability or give her a follow for more titles:


Duck Days is third in a collection that began with USBBY Outstanding International Book Slug Days about a third-grade student who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. A Junior Library Guild selection. Learn more.


Sara Leach is the award-winning author of nine books for children and an elementary school teacher-librarian in Whistler, where she enjoys skiing, hiking, and biking in the local mountains.

Contact her for speaking availability, join her newsletter, or give her a follow for more titles:


Rich yet simple illustrations accompany this funny, kid-empowering story that celebrates scientific inquiry and is based on a true discovery. Learn more.


Mark David Smith is the author of three books for young readers and a public school teacher living in Port Coquitlam.

Contact him for speaking availability or give him a follow for more titles:


Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter before you go!

We usually do a big book news round-up a few times a year and we’ll also drop you a line when there’s a cool bookish event or new giveaway coming up (hot tip—we have big plans in store for World Read Aloud Day!)

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The Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia (CWILL BC) is a professional membership society of published authors and illustrators of children’s literature (we create books for ages 0-18) living in British Columbia.

If you’re a local author/illustrator . . .
Join us! We’re excited to get to know you, learn from you, and help you learn, grow, and succeed. Learn more about applying to CWILL BC.

If you’re a teacher/librarian . . .
Did you know we have a searchable database of presenters AND you can often get the cost of booking a speaker covered by BC or Canadian funding programs? Learn more about booking speakers.

If you’re a reader . . .
We’ve created our own Pinterest board bookshop where you can browse BC kids books by age range and check out recent releases! Find your new fave today!

Posted in blogroll, books/writing, contests | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Why you should shop for the holidays early this year . . .

Books supply chain challenges = rising prices and low or delayed stock.


If you like to shop in person, you may have noticed shelves getting increasingly bare and gap-toothed as the shipping, production, and raw materials industries reel from a combination of pandemic and transport-related woes.

On the pandemic side, print production facilities are struggling, paper shortages are ongoing, trucking and overland shipping is an issue, and the Suez Canal shipping crisis sent shockwaves through international shipping that will continue to ripple for some time yet. Many children’s books are printed overseas due to the higher-cost colour images and creative formats used.

Book prices will rise as resource, shipping, and production costs get passed up the chain (and authors and illustrators definitely aren’t the ones getting a pay bump.)


Why is all this relevant to authors—especially children’s authors?

Print books remain popular across age groups and genres, but children’s books are particularly weighted toward print.

While children’s ebooks (and audiobooks) are enjoying growth, not every parent is able or comfortable handing a tablet with a pre-loaded library to their little, and image-heavy board books, picture books, early readers, and illustrated novels can be challenging to format for a strong reading experience on digital. Physical books are also much easier to unwrap under the tree.

Which brings us to the current news cycle. I just spent the last week doing interviews with the CBC on the subject. Many kids’ books are scheduled to release in the fall and early winter to capture that all-important holiday shopping season. And, as we’re hearing from our members this year, print orders may not arrive in time, bestsellers may not be possible to restock, and scheduled books are already being rushed out early or delayed for months, well into next year. All this can materially hurt authors’ and illustrators’ compensation and careers, and it’s clearly not awesome for readers, either.

What you can do to help:

  • Definitely keep supporting new releases. Preorder early to signal interest and demand to the publisher; they may be able to increase that first print run to meet demand where they wouldn’t be able to order a reprint. Especially for your holiday shopping, this year shop and/or preorder now.
  • If a new release isn’t available, consider browsing and shopping from backlist titles and store stock, putting in an order on books that you can afford to wait for, or switching to another format like ebook or audio. Browse CWILL BC Kids’ Books!
  • Not in a place to buy books this year? We hear you; it’s been tough all over. Put in requests for books to be purchased by your local library and reach out to your favourite creators with some encouragement; they need to know that their words or art matters and people care!
  • On the speaking side, we do have a number of people who are great over Zoom and/or vaccinated and able to present live where public health and safety orders allow and would love to hear from teachers, librarians, even business groups. Search our speakers’ database.
  • Are you a published (or professionally indie publishing) author or illustrator of books for ages 0–18 living in British Columbia? Join us!
  • And longer term, we’d love to see more domestic production capacity so we’re not continuously outsourcing overseas or even from the US. BC-created books would be rad!
  • Finally: BC residents can enter our giveaway to win your choice of a kids’ book stack in time for the holidays or a free one-hour author or illustrator visit over Zoom. Not a local? Subscribe to our newsletter; we run national and international giveaways too!

More reading/sources:


Condensed edition of article reprinted with permission from the author. Original edition on Medium.com.


About the Author

K.A. Wiggins is an award-winning Canadian speculative fiction author, creative writing coach, speaker, and President of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia society. Learn more at kawiggins.com.

Posted in books/writing, contests, CWILL BC news & events, latest news, publishers, readBC, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Celebrate local lit by entering our give-away!

Artwork by Lee Edward Födi

Love reading local? Check out CWILL BC’s CELEBRATE LOCAL LIT Giveaway for your chance to win!

Just click HERE.

Open to residents of British Columbia. Choose between a stack of books by the authors and illustrators of CWILL BC or a free one-hour author/illustrator visit via Zoom for your classroom, library, or book club! Open until 12 am PST, November 16, 2021.

* * * * * *

The Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia (CWILL BC) is a professional membership society of published authors and illustrators of children’s literature (we create books for ages 0-18) living in British Columbia.

If you’re a local author/illustrator . . .
Join us! We’re excited to get to know you, learn from you, and help you learn, grow, and succeed. Learn more about applying to CWILL BC.

If you’re a teacher/librarian . . .
Did you know we have a searchable database of presenters AND you can often get the cost of booking a speaker covered by BC or Canadian funding programs? Learn more about booking speakers.

If you’re a reader . . .
We’ve created our own Pinterest board bookshop where you can browse BC kids books by age range and check out recent releases! Find your new fave today!

Posted in blogroll, books/writing, contests | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

With the right type of story, boys—yes, boys—will get into reading, challenging the stereotype: YA author Pam Withers tells how

By Melanie Jackson

The boy sits, a book in his lap. His gaze is turned away. He’s daydreaming.

He’s a sculpture by Giulio Monteverde (1837–1917), in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Monteverde named him Young Columbus, the implication being that the dry text of books couldn’t begin to capture the imagination of a future explorer.

For some good reasons Columbus is out of popular favour right now. But I think the sculpture—one of my favourites—transcends its name. The boy is any boy. You feel his impatience. He’s stuck with that darn book. He’d rather be outside, climbing trees, wandering through fields and woods, getting into all kinds of fun trouble.

But suppose the book weren’t dull? Suppose it contained a lively, un-put-downable adventure story? Even better, suppose the story had information cleverly tucked in, so that while he read, the boy would be learning without realizing it.

Contrary to the stereotype, these days such books are drawing boys in. Enter Vancouver author and CWILL member Pam Withers, who makes it her mission to bring that traditional oil-and-water duo, books and boys, together.

Pam’s the founder of www.YAdudebooks.ca, a website that she keeps updating with the latest news and reviews about, well, young-adult books for dudes. Pam is also the award-winning author of Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Reader Find Success in School and Life, as well as more than 20 YA outdoor-adventure novels popular with teen boys.

Recently on behalf of CWILL, I interviewed Pam about boys and reading, the YA Dude Books site, and her own writing.

What inspired you to create YA Dude Books? 

The majority of young-adult and middle-grade books are girl-oriented, and we just want to make it easier for parents, librarians and teens to find books with appeal to boys. We’d simply like to see more boys connect with reading as a result of discovering books they like. 

What qualities does a YA book for boys have that makes it successful, i.e., appealing to boys?

In fiction, we look for male lead characters (or where there is more than one lead character, one is male). With nonfiction, it’s more subjective, but we have teen males selecting from lists of forthcoming books and let’s just say they’re more likely to choose a history book on World War II than they are a book on applying makeup. I’ve also noticed they like sci-fi, fantasy, graphic novels, sports, thrillers and high-tech stuff more than I might. We also feature non-binary authors and main characters too, of course.

What is the challenge for authors in creating stories for boys?

Eighty-five percent of authors for teens and children are female, and they’re more likely to write on topics and in a style that appeal to females. In other words, they’re more likely to produce The Babysitters’ Club than a series on extreme sports. Guys tend to like snappy dialogue, humour, less relationship-dominated and less touchy-feely emotional stuff than girls.

We’re certainly open to girls finding books through our website, and boys finding books through other websites. We’re just adding one more resource into the mix, and teachers, parents and teens are responding positively. Note, too, that the vast majority of teachers and librarians are female, so they appreciate what we’re doing.

As an example of this, with your most recent YA novel, Drone Chase, how did you create it with boys in mind?

The main character is a boy, as with almost all my books, and it’s an outdoor sport, as with all my books. Hopefully, readers will like the dialogue-heavy, emo-light, humor-effused style. Of course, girls like my books too, and there is always a strong-girl secondary character in my novels. 

Given that girls read more, I’m guessing they too enjoy YA Dude-type books. Is there some misconception around girls not reading them that you’d like to talk about?

I certainly hope girls will find our site useful too. It’s all about getting teens reading, and connecting authors and publishers with readers.

Thanks so much, Pam! And anything else you’d like to add?

We’re delighted to interview two authors per month on our site, mostly but not all male, many of them Canadian.

***

From our website: “Pam is well aware that some people will say there’s no such thing as a ‘boy book’ or ‘girl book,’ and she half agrees, but still feels this site may fill a gap, and be useful to some. Due to current societal norms we still live in a time where those who identify as boys tend to read less, and perhaps differently, than their peers.”

A 2018 CCBC-TD Book Week author, Melanie Jackson has written several books for YA readers, including Tick Tock TerrorMedusa’s Scream and Death Drop (Orca) and The Fifth Beethoven (Crwth Press).

Posted in books/writing, literacy, young adult literature | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing the passing of James Heneghan

It’s with a sad and heavy heart that CWILL shares the news that writer James Heneghan died peacefully last Friday, April 23.

James was a long-time member of CWILL BC, and one of Canada’s foremost authors of historical and realistic fiction for young readers, winning many prizes including the Sheila Egoff Award for children’s literature three times, and was honoured to be the recipient of the Phoenix Award in 2017 for his novel, Wish Me Luck.

Norma Charles, who co-authored 2009’s Bank Job with James, describe him as a wise, witty, and humble man who was a joy and privilege to work with. To quote him, “I enjoy writing for children…but one thing I have discovered is that children are tough critics. They know what they like, and only your best will do.”

You can find out more information about James Heneghan in this article in Quill & Quire.

Our condolences to his family and friends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing Kids’ Books: The Inside Story

Did you miss CWILL BC’s big event about breaking into the kidlit industry? Well, fret no further! The event, hosted with the Vancouver Public Library, is now available for viewing!

Just click HERE.

Posted in CWILL BC news & events, Get Started/Kid's Books panel, getting published, latest news, literary events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment