7. Tackling Social Justice Issues in KidLit
Panel: Tackling Social Justice Issues in KidLit
How do you tackle big topics while writing engaging stories for young people? Join three incredible kid lit authors—Keah Brown, Leonarda Carranza and Johnnie Christmas—in an importation conversation moderated by Pawan “Pav” Wander on incorporating social justice in kids books.
This session and all 2022 FOLD Kids Book Fest virtual sessions will be made available on-demand until December 12 with a virtual pass. Educators who register with a board pass code will continue to have access into the New Year.
Virtual passes are $20 and allow attendees to access our Virtual Clubhouse where you can connect with exhibitors, chat with authors and attendees. You can also compete on the leaderboard and participate in our virtual scavenger hunt for the chance to win prizes.
If the cost of the virtual pass is prohibitive, check out our Patron Pass program.
Keah Brown is a journalist, author, studying actress and screenwriter. She is the recipient of Ulta Beauty’s Muse 100 award, which is a celebration of 100 inspirational voices around beauty. She is one of The Root’s 100 most influential African Americans of 2018. Keah is the creator of the viral hashtag, #DisabledAndCute. Her work has appeared in Town & Country Magazine, Teen Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire UK, And The New York Times, among other publications. Her Debut essay collection, The Pretty One, is out now. Her debut picture book, Sam’s Super Seats, is out now via Kokila books.
Leonarda Carranza was born in El Salvador. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto. is the author of the picture book, Abuelita & Me, and one of the editors of the anthology, Tongues: On Longing and Belonging Through Language. She currently lives in Brampton, Ontario, part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.
Johnnie Christmas is a #1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist. He is the author of Swim Team. He’s also penned the sci-fi series Tartarus, the haunted romance Crema, and the fantasy graphic novel Firebug. He’s currently hard at work on two more new middle-grade graphic novels for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins. He’s also worked with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood on the series Angel Catbird and adapted William Gibson’s lost screenplay for Alien 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Johnnie now makes Vancouver, BC his home.
Pawan (Pav) Wander is a Middle Years Student Success Counselor for the Toronto District School and is entering her 16th year of teaching. Pav co-hosts an educational podcast called, “The Chey and Pav Show” and has co-authored a picture book called The Magnificent Microphone. Pav is a huge lover of reading and books, and encourages social Justice conversations through her reading with students in the classroom daily.
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.