One of our members, Karen Autio, is launching her picture book I Can, Too! and its French translation Moi aussi, je peux! in person along with Loraine Kemp who is launching her middle grade novel Luna, her first book as both author and illustrator!
They will be sharing their stories behind the books in the newly renovated children’s area in Kelowna’s Mission Branch Library. Once Upon a Bookstore will be handling book sales onsite.
Activities for Kids | Prizes | Readings Simultaneously Interpreted in ASL | Autographed Books for Sale
World-famous classical musician Glenn Gould loved playing the piano, and gave concerts all over the world—but he grew to dislike them. The hall was too cold, or he didn’t feel well, or the audience made too much noise (he didn’t even like their applause!). He discovered that when he played and recorded music in an empty concert hall, he could make it sound exactly the way he wanted. He could do what he loved best, while being completely himself. You could say he was As Glenn as Can Be.
GGBooks-winning author Sarah Ellis and illustrator Nancy Vo share more about this child prodigy—and why listening to yourself, accepting your differences, and expressing how you feel is important for every child. Grades 1–3.
Join us for storytime for little ones that centres on appreciating our natural world and making small changes to our life to care for the flora and fauna around us. Celebrated children’s authors and friends, Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Kirsten Pendreigh, share their latest works in this light, nourishing event.
Kyi’s Our Green City has been described as a “must-read primer for change” (Kirkus Reviews), offering a child-friendly tour around an ideal sustainable city. Former NPR and CBC journalist Pendreigh introduces a sweet, leafy companion in Luna’s Green Pet. Here, a young girl, keen for a creature to care for, discovers a wilted plant she nurses back to health. Grades 1–3.
In a world of fake news, social media memes and algorithm-led gossip, how do you tell fact from fiction? Joyce Grant and Tanya Lloyd Kyi help students do just that in this timely, thought-provoking conversation.
Grant’s book, Can You Believe It?, is the go-to resource for navigating what kids read on the internet, including practical advice on how to spot fact from fiction, and to know who`—and what— to trust. Kyi’s Better Connected explores how kids can use social media to create positive change and practice good digital citizenship. Together, these two wise authors offer tips that will stand youth in good stead throughout their digital journeys. Grades 4–7.
Each of the collections shared by the authors in today’s event thrum with imagination, tension, and poignancy. Together, the three writers on stage today have bylines in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Granta, Maclean’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Electric Literature. Together, they probe themes interwoven in their works— themes of survival, belonging, identity, and navigating modern day tribulations of the Anthropocene.
PEN/Hemingway Award finalist Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is one of this year’s hottest titles. Jonathan Escoffery’s If I Survive You was described by Kirkus as “a sharp and inventive debut,” while story veteran and Giller-finalist Alexander MacLeod shares Animal Person: Stories, another exceptional work, described by the New York Times as “exquisite.” Moderated by Caroline Adderson.
Sometimes it feels like it can’t get much worse. But, amidst the rubble and the ashes, redemption, possibility, and even a little humour can be found—at least, that’s certainly what these three novels suggest.
Pulitzer Prize-finalist Elif Batuman follows up The Idiot with Either/ Or. As the New York Times explains, “Batuman has a gift for making the universe seem, somehow, like the benevolent and witty literary seminar you wish it were.” Joining her is Claire Ross Dunn, who has been compared to Mark Haddon, Miriam Toews, and Sally Rooney. She shares a laugh-out-loud tale, At Last Count. Méira Cook’s The Full Catastrophe explores how Charlie Minkoff—a thirteen-year-old with intersex traits—navigates the difficulty of his life with wit and tenderness. In strange times, don’t we all need the wisdom and humour these three writers offer? Moderated by Caroline Adderson.
BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association Fall Conference, New Westminster
Join us for a fun and fast-paced workshop on BC-created books for kids! Expect three segments of approximately 20 minutes each:
We’ll start with a brief overview of the power of (hyper-)local author engagement for young readers and highlight the free tools and resources offered by CWILL BC. This segment will include an introduction to working with local authors/illustrators, including best practices, inspiration, and funding sources.
Next up will be a multi-format presentation of recently released and upcoming BC books for ages pre-K to 18 by our members. We’ll highlight 2021-2022 releases by topic (eco/climate, social justice, emotional/social), genre (spooky middle grade, funny early readers, accessible contemporary!), and age/grade-level collections in a mix of live book-talks, recordings, and static formats.
Finally, a CWILL author or illustrator will lead each small group discussion around two questions: what books do your students need (or need more of)? and what would a relevant story look like in your home community? This segment wraps up with open questions and knowledge-sharing for the final 5-10 minutes.
(Also find us in the exhibitors’ hall with free bookmarks, select titles for sale, and epic giveaways you won’t want to miss!)
Age is not all that changes when you’re writing for young readers!
In this session we’ll discuss the varieties of books available for young readers with a focus on fiction. Mahtab will share techniques for writing picture books, chapter books, middle-grade, and young adult novels. We’ll do a deep dive into key elements of plot, character, conflicts, and the language acceptable for each age group so your books can make it past the gatekeepers and into the hands of your eager audiences.
Writing poetry to help express, explore, and honour grief and loss.
Loss is part of life, but in a society that’s often uncomfortable with grief, there are challenges and obstacles to expressing and processing its difficult emotions. How do we move beyond the roadblocks? As writers, it’s natural for us to turn to words as a way to explore, understand, and honour our losses – maybe even to heal our battered hearts. How do we begin? How can poetry help? How can we hope to capture new, foreign, and intense emotions when even words feel inadequate?
Using a simple approach to writing poetry, participants will learn to sift through the chaos of their thoughts and feelings to get to the heart of things. Workshop will include writing time. No experience with poetry needed.
Want to make your words sing? Award-winning author Darren Groth can help turn your one-note prose into beautiful music. In this lively and interactive workshop, Groth will explore examples of elegant writing in both literary and commercial works, provide the three ‘A’s of beautiful prose, and offer practical exercises to shape your words with style.
A trad-pubbed author’s experience with indie-publishing. In this workshop, Mahtab Narsimhan will share how she published her first indie series and all the mistakes she made so that you can avoid them. She’ll share resources she found helpful (and there are a lot out there) as you learn how to be your own publisher and take control of your writing career.
A wise person said: Indie publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Rapid release can lead to rapid chaos. Mahtab will show you how to pace yourself and what not to do when you jump into the deep end!
Caveat: This workshop is not for the faint-hearted. Bring courage, a sense of humour, and a bath towel.
There are some books you just want to hug when you finish reading. These are books with heart, stories that cause all the feels and get shared (and hugged) until the covers are tattered. But what exactly is heart, and how do you create heart in your own manuscript? Workshop will include tips, techniques, examples from middle-grade novels, and brief writing exercises.
Putting your precious manuscript in the hands of beta readers can be a fraught exercise — how do you get the best feedback for yourself and your work? Award-winning author Darren Groth offers the two key considerations in choosing beta readers, outlines the importance of ‘emotional specificity’ in feedback discussions, and provides a practical guide for determining which feedback you should keep and which feedback you should discard.
CWILL BC is excited to be participating in the Word Vancouver festival. Many of our members are appearing in events or as part of panels—in addition, we are leading several kid-focused events on Saturday, September 24 at the Surrey City Centre Library.
10am-12 noon Join award-winning author-illustrator Paola Opal for an adorably spooky craft for ages 3+.
12 noon-2pm Picture book author Jane Wittingham is leading a fun, mixed-media craft celebrating her newest book THE LANGUAGE OF TREES.
2-4pm Join author Rhiannon Wallace for elementary-age drop-in activities.
Stick around for more FREE kids activities & programs at Word Vancouver Festival, Saturday, Sept. 24! Find out more at wordvancouver.ca.
The amazing folks at WORD Vancouver Festival have put together over a week of free literary programming this year and we’re celebrating with a giveaway!
UPDATE: NOW CLOSED
Congrats to our online and day-of prize winners Khatija, Mansoum, and Pamela!
(Missed the giveaway? Be sure to join our newsletter to stay in the loop and make sure you never miss out!)
Word Vancouver 2022 featured midweek online sessions, Saturday children’s programming in Surrey, and Sunday all-audiences programming in downtown Vancouver and livestreaming (recorded events available online and links have been added below where available)
Check out our exhibition tables on Saturday and Sunday for free kids’ activities, bookmarks, and bonus book basket giveaways.
And read on for a complete list of the many FREE panels, readings, and workshops featuring CWILLers:
Susan McClelland, Boy from Buchenwald: The True Story of a Holocaust Survivor ( Bloomsbury · Raincoast Books, co-written by Robbie Wisean)
The lessons of the Holocaust will forever be harrowing, but these three authors take on three unique and novel approaches to present tales of adversity and resilience from the WWII era to a generation decades removed from the stories they only learn about in history books.
Darren Lebeuf, My City Speaks (Kids Can Press, illustrated by Ashley Barron)
Two authors share stories of kids discovering how to connect to their city and see places in a whole new light. In one case, a group of children befriend an older man and learn about the many fascinating older objects he holds onto in his house. In the other, a visually impaired young girl experiences the places around her through all her other senses, appreciating them in all their richness.
Friday, September 23, 2022
7:00 to 8:45 PM
Location: Christianne’s Lyceum, Vancouver
Type: In-person, auditorium-style (delivery and questions)
Join us in your pajamas or loungewear and let our authors/illustrators take care of bedtime stories, so you can drop into bed the minute you get home. There will be ample time to ask these storytellers your questions and, of course, to enjoy some tasty treats. This event is aimed at children ages 4 to 12 and parents/adults are invited to join as per their availability.
Bree Galbraith, Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems (Kids Can Press, illustrated by Morgan Goble)
Life can be full of twists and turns especially when you’re trying to fit in, help family and friends, and ultimately find out who you are. Join these two authors as they share their characters’ unique ways of being true to themselves in a world full of questions and observations.
Sunday, September 25, 2022
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Location: SFU Harbour Centre— Segal Centre Room B, Vancouver & Online
Type: Panel Discussion, Q&A
Audience: All Ages, Aspiring & Emerging Professionals
Join a broad selection of professional BC authors and illustrators to chart paths to (children’s) publishing, the state of the industry, and core storytelling skills for picture books, middle grade, and YA.
This panel is perfect for supporters of local lit, fans of children’s fiction, and aspiring kidlit authors alike. Bring your questions and don’t forget to enter our giveaway!
Sunday, September 25, 2022
11:30 to 12:45 PM
Location: SFU Harbour Centre—Classroom 3, Vancouver
Calling all crafters and makers! Kidlit creator and fibre artist Holman Wang will introduce you to the basics of needle felting — the process of repeatedly stabbing loose wool with a specialized notched needle until the wool entangles and mats enough to form sculptable felt.
Come and make a very basic wool creation, learning the skills that will help you continue with the handicraft at home. No experience necessary!
Sunday, September 25, 2022
4:30 to 5:30 PM
Location: SFU Harbour Centre—Classroom 3, Vancouver & Online
Given the shifting landscape of YA books — market, genre classifications, reader expectations, etc. — this is an ideal time for YA authors (both published and prospective) to consider why they want to write YA.
Is your story suited to the current market and readership? Is it adaptable to an adult or middle-grade readership? What makes it nest firmly within YA? What do you bring to the market that’s unique? How does your book tie in with popular comp titles? What’s happening with New Adult? What makes you passionate about writing for this particular age group?
Over the hour, we’ll discuss what drives us as authors to write for YA readers, what’s going on in the marketplace, and what, at heart, makes a book YA besides the age of its protagonists.
Here’s the next in our series of profiles on CWILL members.
Hi, Kari! Please give us your quick bio. I live in an old house in Vancouver with my two kids, husband and dog. I studied animation at Emily Carr and worked in the animation industry for many years before having a family and finding my way to making books. I have also taught art to kids of all ages and I have taught animation and drawing at post secondary institutions in BC and Washington state. These days, in addition to drawing and cobbling up stories, I mentor students at Vancouver Film School.
How long have you been a member of CWILL? I’ve been with CWILL since my first picture book, Tricky, was published in 2017. I am currently co-vice-president on the CWILL executive.
Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to writing and/or illustrating for children? Was it a lifelong passion? Something you discovered later on in life? Writing and illustrating for kids was both a lifelong interest and something that I discovered later in life. I worked as an animation artist after graduating from Emily Carr in 1993 and did so until I had my son in 2006. Once I had a family, the animation industry didn’t fit well into my life, and at the same time I was reading piles of children’s books (picture books are a form I literature I have always loved). The similarities between picture books and animation made creating books for kids seem like a perfect fit for me, so I took some classes at Emily Carr and that helped launch me into this new chapter of work.
Tell us about your latest publication. The latest book that I illustrated just came out (April 15, 2022). It’s called The Weird Sisters: A Note, a Goat, and a Casserole, written by Mark David Smith and published by Owlkids Books. This was the first time I had worked on a children’s chapter book. It is a fun story with fun characters and lots of humour. I got to exercise my cartoon muscles with the witch cast because of their distinctive personalities and descriptions.
What are you currently working on? Anything you can share with us? I have some of my own stories in development right now, and I am just wrapping up final artwork for the second Weird Sisters book.
Do you do school or library visits? Tell us a little bit about what teachers, librarians, and kids can expect during one of your visits. Feel free to link to your website, or photos/videos of past presentations. I enjoy doing school or library visits (or school library visits!). Usually, I will read a book, talk about how I came up with the story and how I make the illustrations. If there is technology available to do so, I can show some process images that demonstrate how the drawings develop.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself. I never met him, but one of my grandfathers was a ventriloquist.
Recommendations: What do you Love? I love the picture books of Ezra Jack Keats for the day-in-the-life quality that they have as well as their playful, inventive, well-observed art. Over the past few years, my family and I have been listening to books by Christopher Paul Curtis—they are exquisitely written and delightfully well read in audio format. Our favourite of these was Bud, Not Buddy. Most days, a good graphic novel is my first choice for reading. I love movies but I’m always at a loss to think of any to highlight. I love both coffee and tea.
If you could be one character from a children’s book, who would you choose and why? It would be interesting to be Mathilde (from Mathilde, by Roald Dahl) because of her brilliant mind and her mind powers that she used for good. She was also a fast and prolific reader unlike me—I am a slow reader, so I can’t get through as many books as I would like to.
If you could go live in one children’s book, where would you choose and why? I would like to go live in The Secret Garden. I always felt drawn to that hidden, forgotten place and its tangled beauty.
What’s one piece of advice you want to share with young writers and aspiring authors or illustrators? Artists and writers are all kinds of people, each one with a different perspective and voice. Follow your curiosity—subjects for stories are all around you and the work is in paying attention, thinking, revising, waiting, connecting dots and keeping at it.
Here’s the next in our series of profiles on CWILL members.
Hi, Karen! Please give us your quick bio. I am a freelance illustrator who draws on a long career as a visual artist. I studied fine arts at Guelph University (BFA) and later at Concordia University (MFA). I’ve illustrated picture books for Planète Rebelle (Montréal), Annick Press (Toronto), Portage & Main Press (Winnipeg) and Les Éditions du Soleil de Minuit (Saint-Damien-de-Brandon). I also do editorial illustration for magazines.
I have been teaching art courses for ten years at the University of Victoria.
How long have you been a member of CWILL? Ten years. I’m currently serving on the Executive Board as the Membership Coordinator.
Tell us a little about yourself. What led you to writing and/or illustrating for children? Was it a lifelong passion? Something you discovered later on in life? As a child I loved being read to from a picture book by my parents. It really felt special as we navigated a “new world” together. And I do have three siblings, so finally I got some “alone time.” I naturally was attracted to drawing and painting and any type of arts and crafts activity. Making things, learning techniques and exploring materials continues to be a passion of mine to this day. My activities were encouraged early on by my family. I also read a lot and continue to do so to this day.
As a young adult, I majored at university in visual arts. As an adult, I began to exhibit and participate in any art scene I was ensconced in. Around the age of forty, illustration appeared on my radar, and I began approaching publishers and editors about work. I am self-taught in illustration (with a few courses under my belt) and had to learn the industry along the way! It is different than visual art, which stands on its own. Illustration serves the text often and illustrating a story requires a different set of skills. I do write children’s verse but so far have only succeeded in being published as an illustrator. Maybe one day I will publish one of my stories!
Tell us about your latest publication. My latest publication was a 2021 picture book Dessine-moi un Traineau, written by Louise-Michelle Sauriol. It is a bilingual book, in French and Inuktitut (translated by Nutaraaluk Jaaka). The story follows Émile, who strikes up a unlikely friendship with an Inuit Grandmother on a chance encounter. She teaches him about her life in the Great North. She speaks Inuktitut which Émile doesn’t understand. Luckily, she is able to draw and her tales come alive on the page. Inuktitut is striking looking! Very beautiful. Even if you don’t understand it, you will love the design of the language’s characters.
Describe a favorite or fun moment from your career. Was it from a book signing or a school visit? Was it at a conference or panel? Or finding out about a particular contract or award? I’ve done workshops in libraries for both children and adults. The workshops for children involve making Artist Books, like flip or accordion-style formats. I love the imagination and creativity of children especially. I did a workshop in Winnipeg, which was unique. The organization was set up by the visual artist Wanda Koop and is called “Art City.” It’s an after-school program and in a rough neighbourhood. Most of the participants choose to be there and dinner is served after the workshop in which all commune, gathering in a circle on little stools and eating spaghetti from colourful plastic bowls. It was amazing to see children choose art over TV and games. These kids are quite exhausted by life experiences, and can still concentrate on their own ideas and make something out of nothing. We made Artist Books that day which were inspired by sounds and onomatopoeia using the accordion-style book format. And we had fun! They have a great staff of young up-and-coming artists, art students from the University of Manitoba that facilitate the activity.
What are you currently working on? Anything you can share with us? I am currently painting in my studio. I have a UVIC faculty show exhibition coming up that I am part of at Legacy Gallery, 630 Yates Street, Victoria, BC. It opened on April 20th, and is from 6-8. Everyone is welcome! I plan to get back to writing my children’s stories in the summer!
What is your favorite book that you’ve created?
Do you do school or library visits? Tell us a little bit about what teachers, librarians, and kids can expect during one of your visits. Feel free to link to your website, or photos/videos of past presentations. In the not so distant past, I have done library and museum or gallery workshops for children. Often these are studio workshops and encompass image and text as well as various formats. Inspiration may be self-directed or if the organizer desires, based on a desired educational theme. There are lots of ways to make Artist Books and I can adapt a workshop to a particular group or facility. For example, without a sink or access to water, the materials used are “dry”. Also Artist Books are ideal for adaption to content and can be made from and with any material and by any technique.
Normally, I teach young adults in a university setting-printmaking, drawing, painting, photography—I am used to Powerpoint lectures and cooperative studio spaces. I also can bring in samples as a one-hour workshop requires fast turnaround on the part of participants. I have lots of approaches to teaching and art-production in my bag of tricks.
And I have done workshops for adults that are lecture-style about illustration/publishing industry.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself. One day, returning from Concordia in Montréal, I noticed my duvet, wrapped around my computer, sitting on the sidewalk by my neighbourhood café. The thief came out of the café, finishing up his croissant and began to haul my stuff away. I told him in broken French that it was my stuff and to return it to my apartment. People gathered around while we argued. After, a bit of convincing, he gave in and returned my stuff across the street to my waiting apartment. I gave him a five-minute start before calling the police. This story goes on . . . as it was considered to be a lovers’ quarrel by the witnesses and I couldn’t make myself understood by the police and he was the second thief, my neighbour scaring off the thief that actually broke the door down and then frightened off, had left the stuff behind. The second thief found it (is he a thief?) and needed a coffee first before planning to haul my computer away!
Recommendations: What do you Love? I really love great literature because it’s got it all! There’s humour, drama, romance, social interaction and dialogue, beautiful use of language, violence (Victor Hugo, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens . . .). It requires all my attention, but it’s worth it.
Otherwise, I recommend going to galleries and museums either locally as well as when you travel. Private galleries are free everywhere.
If you could be one character from a children’s book, who would you choose and why? I always loved the chutzpah of the character Pippi Longstocking, created by Astrid Lindgren. I read her as a kid but to this day, I wish I was as gutsy and independent as Pippi. A very inspiring character who must rely on creative problem-solving to survive this world as she finds it.
If you could go live in one children’s book, where would you choose and why? Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows (with illustrations by E.H. Shepard) depicts a world where characters have their eccentricities, are accepted nonetheless, and help one another out of all sorts of mishaps. I find it wondrous that there is an imagined complex world mirroring our own with concessions made to allow it. How can a tunnel-dwelling character host visits from other characters of various sizes and species? I think I would like to visit as myself, knowing that, E.H. Shepard could manage to illustrate that! Beautiful line drawings of anthropomorphism mixed with some human folk.
What’s one piece of advice you want to share with young writers and aspiring authors or illustrators? Go ahead and explore illustration any way you wish! It doesn’t have to be the usual suspects- drawing/painting or digital. Some illustrators use plasticine or fabric or mixed media or photomontage. The idea is to try different approaches and see how you can manifest a story visually, especially for yourself and thereby the reader.