Virtual Book Fest 2021
An overview of the festival schedule for FOLD Kids Book Fest.
An overview of the festival schedule for FOLD Kids Book Fest.
The 2021 FOLD Kids Book Fest includes more than twenty fantastic events held online November 4-7 on our brand new festival platform.
Passes are available for $14 and will allow guests to login to our festival space to view events. In the unique festival space, guests can chat with authors and exhibitors and participate in activities like our inaugural virtual scavenger hunt. Passholders can view events live or on-demand. All sessions will be available until December 7 on the virtual platform to watch and rewatch. Patron passes are also available.
We categorize FOLD Kids Book Fest events to help educators, parents, and guardians identify content that’s suitable for the child(ren) in their care. The categories we use — as well as the age recommendations listed in the session descriptions — take into consideration the content of the event and, where applicable, the content of the books featured at the event.
The schedule and graphics are colour-coded to assist attendees: Elementary (Pink), Middle Grade (Purple), Teen (Red), All Ages/Family Events (Green), Educators (Light Blue), and Writers (Dark Blue).
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez
Khodi Dill is a Bahamian-Canadian writer of everything from rap songs to children’s literature. Author of the picture book Welcome to the Cypher, which introduces young people to the transformative power of hip-hop, Khodi hopes that his writing will engage youth in both social justice and the arts. He is a proud father and partner who lives and writes in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Tash McAdam is a Welsh-Canadian author and educator. Their publications include ‘The Psionics’ series (Nine Star Press), and the JLG Gold Standard Selections ‘Sink or Swim’ and Blood Sport (Orca Books) as well as multiple anthology contributions. They are a recipient of the Shoot for the Moon fund for trans writers, and a founding mentor with the Trans Tipping Point Program.
David A. Robertson is the author of numerous books for young people, including When We Were Alone, On the Trapline, The Barren Grounds, and its sequel, The Great Bear. When We Were Alone won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and was nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The Barren Grounds, book 1 of his middle grade fantasy The Misewa Saga, was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award. David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and lives in Winnipeg.
Rabia Khokhar is a Teacher with the Toronto District School Board and an equity consultant. She is also a PhD student at OISE. Rabia is passionate about ensuring schools are inclusive spaces where all students are reflected, represented and seen through an asset based lens. Rabia is the recipient of the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario’s 2021 Anti-Racist and Equity Activism Award. She enjoys sharing her teaching and learning on her social media platforms.
Kelly Fritsch is a disabled writer, educator, and parent living in Ottawa. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University and director of the Disability Justice & Crip Culture Collaboratory. As a disability studies scholar, her work mobilizes social and cultural theory, arts-based research, and everyday hacking and tinkering to explore the generative frictions of disability. She is co-author of We Move Together, a children’s book engaging community-based practices of desiring disability, and co-editor of Disability Injustice: Confronting Criminalization in Canada and Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle.
Anne McGuire is an associate professor and director of the program for Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity at the University of Toronto, where she teaches in the areas of critical disability studies and disabled childhoods. She is the co-author of the children’s book We Move Together (AK Press, 2021). Her monograph, War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence (University of Michigan Press, 2016), was awarded the 2016 Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities.
Eduardo Trejos is a Costa Rican multi-disciplinary artist. A lover of color, insatiable reader, and parent of two boys,he lives in Toronto where he works as a graphic designer. He is the illustrator of We Move Together.
Ken Daley was born in Cambridge, Ontario to parents who emigrated from Dominica, West Indies. He has exhibited his artwork within Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, and his work can be found in numerous private and public collections. Ken has illustrated five children’s books, and currently working on three more titles. Ken’s passion lies with creating art that reflect his heritage as the child of immigrants, his connection to the Caribbean, and the richness and expanse of the African Diaspora.
Rosena Fung is a Toronto-based cartoonist and illustrator. Her first graphic novel Living With Viola is published by Annick Press. Her editorial clients include The Globe and Mail, The Boston Globe, Chronicle Review of Higher Education, CBC Arts, PLANSPONSOR, Maisonneuve, Bust Magazine, Avenue Magazine, Swerve Magazine, and Tridel Corporation. Her works have been featured on CBC Docs and CBC Arts. When she is not drawing, Rosena can be found teaching illustration, vending at zine fairs, and going to the library. Her favourite activities are reading, eating snacks, cats, and learning to play the guitar. Her name is pronounced “Rosanna”.
Bridget George is an Anishinaabe Author-Illustrator from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Her very first book It’s a Mitig! is a special rhyming book to help introduce families like hers to the Ojibwe language. She is currently illustrating a new book by Carole Lindstrom about Autumn Peltier and her fight as a Water Warrior protecting Mother Earth.
Ardo Omer has written for online platforms as a reviewer and critic for almost a decade. She’s been a judge for a few kids comics awards and is an advisor at the Canadian Comics Open Library.
Omer lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she serves as the Kids Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).
Kerry C. Byrne is an autistic, queer, and nonbinary writer and award-nominated publisher and editor living in Toronto. They are the Co-Founder and CEO of the Augur Magazine Literary Society, the Co-Director of Augurcon, and the Publisher of Augur Magazine. As a writer, their work is published in Fantasy Magazine, THIS Magazine, The Temz Review, and others. The rest of the time, they’re diving deep into the endless void that is their homebrew D&D world.
Kerry C. Byrne
Xiran Jay Zhao
Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian author who grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. Her debut novel is Blood Like Magic.
Kerry C. Byrne
Xiran Jay Zhao
Xiran Jay Zhao is a first-gen immigrant from small-town China who was raised by the Internet. A recent graduate of Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, they wrote science fiction and fantasy while they probably should have been studying more about biochemical pathways. You can find them on Twitter for memes, Instagram for cosplays and fancy outfits, TikTok for fun short videos, and YouTube for long videos about Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow is their first novel.
Njacko Backo is a storyteller, songwriter, singer, musician and composer who has been performing for children and adults since his childhood in Cameroon. He has a lifetime of practice in capturing the subtlety of storytelling and dance with his music – an essential part of the African performing arts. His programs for children and youth draw on parallels and differences between Canadian and African family life while introducing a passion for the French language.
Cherie Dimaline‘s The Marrow Thieves was named one of the Best YA Books of All Time by TIME magazine after winning the Governor General’s Award and the Kirkus Prize. Her novel Empire of Wild, an instant bestseller and Indigo’s Best Book of 2019, was featured in The New York Times and the New Yorker. A registered member of the Georgian Bay Métis Community, Cherie lives in her home territory and is writing for television, finishing a new novel, and adapting Empire of Wild for stage and screen. Hunting By Stars, the hotly anticipated sequel to The Marrow Thieves, was released October 2021.
Angela Ahn was born in Seoul, but her family immigrated to Canada before she could walk. Before writing books for kids, she worked for several years as a teacher and a librarian, but lately has been working from home, taking care of her two children, and grudgingly making dinner every night. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
Karleen Pendleton Jiménez
Karleen Pendleton Jimenez is the author of the middle grade book The Street Belongs to Us. She also wrote Tomboys and Other Gender and Heroes and Lambda Literary Awards finalist Are You a Boy or a Girl? She was the screenwriter for the award-winning animated film Tomboy, and has been recognized by the American Library Association and the Vice Versa Awards for Excellence in the Gay and Lesbian Press. She teaches education, gender, and social justice at Trent University. Raised in Los Angeles, she lives in Toronto with her partner and daughter.
Chad Lucas has been in love with words since he attempted his first novel on a typewriter in the sixth grade. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, communications advisor, freelance writer, part-time journalism instructor, and parenting columnist. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, he lives with his family in Nova Scotia. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching basketball, and he’s rarely far from a cup of tea. His debut middle-grade novel THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE (Amulet Books/Abrams Kids) released in May 2021.
Gaitrie Persaud-Dhumoon is an actress and one of Canada’s most accomplished ASL music Deaf performers. Gaitrie’s original ASL musical interpretations and acting performances are featured on social media, live-performances and music videos heard all over the world. Gaitrie was involved in Toronto Creative Music Lab in Toronto. She was one of the two Deaf participants involved in the Music lab along with 14 hearing musicians/ composers. In 2014, Gaitrie received an email from Deaf Spectrum to join the LAL music group as ASL music performer. It began a decades long association including Gaitrie consulting their music for LAL and remains her ASL Musical consultant to this day.
Cylita Guy, PhD is a Toronto based ecologist, data scientist, and science communicator who studies bats. Her first children’s book – Chasing Bats & Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our Cities – published by Annick Press, is now available for pre-order. In her downtime, you can find your friendly neighbourhood batgirl chasing her next big outdoor adventure.
Maisie Bodrug (She/Her/Hers) Maisie is a high school student in her last year who has been a part of Gender Generations since its debut back when it was known as Trans Tipping Point. She was the winner of the 2018 Outwrite Ezine poetry competition and was published in it and has read her poetry numerous times at the Outcast portion of the Fringe Festival. She also enjoys creating visual art and music. Her favourite thing to do in her spare time is to read and play video games. Maisie is part of the LGBTQ+ community and the Jewish community.
Dr. Lindsay Herriot is a special education teacher in the Greater Victoria School District and an adjunct professor in the School of Child and Youth Care and the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Along with Kate Fry, she is the co-founder of the Gender Generations Project.
Daniel Aleman is the author of INDIVISIBLE, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. He was born and raised in Mexico City and is a graduate of McGill University. After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.
Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, The Shadow List, and Finding Home. Jen acquires and edits for ECW Press and co-hosts the literary podcast, Can’t Lit.
Nhung N. Tran-Davies is an author, physician, mother of three, and an advocate for social justice in education. Her family came to Canada as refugees from Vietnam in 1979, and in 2013 Nhung founded the Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation. She spoke at the UN’s International Organization on Migration in Geneva as part of their “I am a Migrant” campaign to help reduce hate speech and promote tolerance. She also founded the Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Mothers Who Write, as well as the Zyp Art Gallery. Her books have been shortlisted for the Alberta Literary Award and the Red Maple Award.
Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author and LGBTQ+ refugees advocate. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won multiple awards. His children’s book Salma the Syrian Chef, continues to receive accolades.
Yolanda T. Marshall is a Guyanese-born Canadian author of 6 children’s books. A world traveller, a jazz lover and a devoted mother, she embodies art and takes her readers on adventurous, cultured journeys. Yolanda lives in Toronto, Canada with her family.
S. K. Ali is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including novels named as top ten YA titles of the year by various media including Entertainment Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Her newest novel, Misfit in Love, is a People magazine best book of summer 2021. Her other books include the critically-acclaimed middle grade anthology Once Upon an Eid and the New York Times bestselling picture book, The Proudest Blue.
Khary Mathurin is an Editor at Annick Press as well as a bookseller and Education Support Manager at Another Story Bookshop, where he promotes the store’s values of equity and social justice by helping educators update their bookshelves with more diverse titles.
The FOLD is a remarkable and wonderful event for authors and attendees alike. What an amazing community, dedicated to the vital need for inclusive stories and the critical role they play in building a better world.
Field Guide to the North American Teenager is my first novel and FOLD was my first Canadian literary festival. While American and Canadian culture overlap quite a bit, especially when it comes to bookshelves, Canadian literature is unique and I was very heartened by to be embraced by that community I consider home despite residing in the US. It was a homecoming I didn’t know I needed!
The Festival of Literary Diversity was an absolute joy–the organizers thought of *everything* and by anticipating authors’ needs, they freed us to focus on connecting with the audience and each other. There was no pretension, no posturing–just very genuine conversations with invested writers and engaged readers.
I have been to a lot of writers festivals and the FOLD is definitely near the top of the list of those I want to be invited back to.
Being part of such a clearly diverse, inclusive and mutually respectful group was thrilling and inspiring: a glimpse of a better world.
Wherever I go in Canada and find another writer of colour, we eventually end up gushing about how great the FOLD is, how by normalizing diversity it liberates us to talk to audiences about craft. It’s hard to imagine the literary landscape returning to a prehistoric pre-FOLD era.
FOLD is a festival experience unlike any other I’ve had. The FOLD team strive to create a space that’s welcoming and engaging, while allowing for curiosity, ingenuity and the fostering of real community – and they succeed, every year.
The FOLD is one of the most important literary events on this continent. By focusing on diverse voices and giving authors space to share their stories and speak their truths, it is revolutionizing the writing and storytelling realm as we know it.
Being part of the FOLD community has provided me with a strong sense of belonging. Sharing diverse stories and listening to different voices that broaden my understanding of the world has impacted me as a person and motivated me as a writer.