TIFA Kids is back at the Toronto International Festival of Authors with family friendly events for everyone! Running from October 21 to 31, there are readings, activities and Q&As for every member of the family. It turns out, it’s not just a family affair at home, but also on screen. Did you know these TIFA Kids authors are actually related?
Basil & Kevin Sylvester
Child-parent duo Basil and Kevin Sylvester will be presenting their latest novel, The Fabulous Zed Watson! Basil, like Zed, is non-binary, a writer and based in Toronto. Dad Kevin is the award-winning author/illustrator of more than thirty books, also based in Toronto. Together they have co-authored The Fabulous Zed Watson!, and with Kevin’s illustrations, brought Zed and his friends’ adventures to life. Basil and Kevin have quite the morning planned out for their audience, from a hilarious reading of Zed’s adventures to chatting about philosophical questions. You won’t want to miss the fun!
The Fabulous Zed Watson! with Basil & Kevin Sylvester
Saturday, October 23 at 10:30am ET
Jeffrey & Shezza Ansloos
Another child-parent duo at this year’s Festival is Jeffrey and Shezza Ansloos, who are presenting their collaborative picture book, Thunder and the Noise Storms. Jeffrey is an educator and psychologist who works with Indigenous children, youth and families. Mom Shezza Ansloos is a speaker and educator who advocates for children through the education system. The Cree writers created their picture book to depict sensory overload and coping strategies that could be managed by integrating neurodiversity with Indigenous worldview. Tune in and learn how to listen with wonder when the world gets too loud and chaotic.
When the World is Too Loud – with Jeffrey & Shezza Ansloos
Monday, October 25 at 1pm ET
Debbie Ridpath Ohi & Ruth Ohi
Author-illustrators and sisters Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Ruth Ohi are both set to take the stage at this year’s Festival with their own exciting and interactive events. Japanese-Canadian and based in Toronto, Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Ruth Ohi are both passionate about creating children’s books. They have both illustrated and written several bestselling children’s books, many of which have been nominated for prestigious awards. Debbie Ridpath Ohi will present her latest picture book, I’m Sorry, the fourth in The New York Times bestselling-series with author Michael Ian Black. Ruth Ohi will introduce her newest picture book, Choose Kindness, featuring Bunny and friends. Be sure to catch both of these events!
Sorry is the Hardest Word of All with Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Friday, October 29 at 1pm ET
Kindness is a Superpower with Ruth Ohi
Thursday, October 21 at 1pm ET
Eric & Terry Fan
Eric and Terry Fan are award-winning children’s book creators, finalists for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) Book Awards, creators of It Fell From the Sky and well—brothers. The creative duo are a part of not one, but two Festival events, with tons of whimsical fun in store for young readers! For the Festival’s opening weekend, The Fan Brothers will give a family-friendly presentation of their new picture book about community, art, the importance of giving back and the wonder that fell from the sky, called It Fell From the Sky. Later in the week, The Fan Brothers, along with other CCBC Book Award finalists, will demonstrate their illustrative styles and discuss the importance of picture books during child development for a grown-up audience.
It Fell From the Sky with Eric & Terry Fan
Saturday, October 23 at 1pm ET
Illustrating for Children – An Artist’s Experience
Tuesday, October 26 at 1pm ET
David Yoon & Nicola Yoon
Did you know that these two young-adult romance authors have a romance of their own? Bestselling authors and husband-and-wife duo Nicola Yoon and David Yoon are set to appear together on the TIFA Kids virtual stage to discuss their new novels: Nicola’s Instructions for Dancing and David’s Frankly In Love. Join the Yoons to hear about their stories of love and belonging and to find out more about the launch of their new publishing imprint, Joy Revolution, dedicated to young-adult romance novels by people of colour, about people of colour.
Love in the Afteryoon: David Yoon & Nicola Yoon
Saturday, October 30 at 4pm ET
TIFA Kids is proud to present 30+ free virtual events from October 21 to 31, bringing new adventures each day. Check out the full TIFA Kids event lineup here, and join in on all the fun!
TIFA Kids is back at the Toronto International Festival of Authors! This year’s programme is bigger, better and includes adventures for the whole family to enjoy. From October 21 to 31, join us for a daily dose of new adventure, including riveting readings, colourful draw-alongs, quizzical Q&As and more!
With so many events to choose from, this handy guide will help you navigate the programme by age group, to make the most of your TIFA Kids experience and find adventure suited to each family member’s reading levels. From sorry potatoes to frightening monsters, delve into 11 days of adventure, with these ten can’t-miss kids events:
Ages 3 and up:
Friday, October 29 at 1pm ET
Flamingo is upset. Very upset. Potato is sorry. Very sorry. In fact, he is the sorriest. But how does he tell Flamingo? Join Debbie Ridpath Ohi to learn how Flamingo and Potato mend their friendship in a fun draw-along, and then share your artwork with us online, using the hashtag #TIFAKids!
Ages 4 and up:
Thursday, October 28 at 1:30pm ET
Will Malaika have a costume in time for Carnival? Join author Nadia L. Hohn and illustrator Irene Luxbacher to learn more about Malaika’s adventures and the celebration of Carnival. Follow along and design your own Carnival costumes, then get ready to join grade one students from across Canada for a colourful dance party that celebrates family, community and the Caribbean diaspora!
Sunday, October 31 at 2pm ET
Celebrate Halloween with Scaredy Squirrel’s safety guide for scaredys, from everyone’s favourite worrywart. Mélanie Watt, creator of Scaredy Squirrel, will help you survive the spooks by giving you the scoop on Scaredy’s ideas, strategies and plans for Halloween. Don’t forget to grab your pencils to do some planning of your own!
Ages 5 and up:
Saturday, October 23 at 11:30am ET
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a superhero? Join award-winning picture book author and illustrator Sophy Henn to hear all about superkid Pizazz, her rivalry with the new superkid in town, and their mission to save the world…together. Then get your paper and pencil ready for a very super draw-along! Mask and cape optional.
Ages 6 and up:
Monday, October 25 at 1pm ET
When the world gets too loud and chaotic, a young boy’s Mosom (grandfather) helps him listen with wonder, in Thunder and the Noise Storms by Jeffrey Ansloos and Shezza Ansloos, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. Join all three to hear how this picture book blends neurodiversity with Indigenous worldview to offer strategies to manage sensory overload, then see how Joshua created the book’s stunning illustrations.
Ages 8 and up:
Saturday, October 30 at 3pm ET
Calling all Marvel readers and enthusiasts: Spider-Man is making an appearance at this year’s Festival! Get ready to swing into the action with Miles Morales, an average Brooklyn school kid by day and a web-shooting superhero by night. Join bestselling author Justin A. Reynolds and award-nominated artist Pablo Leon as they reveal their latest comic book creation, Miles Morales: Shockwaves, and explore how stories are being created for a new generation of Marvel readers.
Ages 10 and up:
Saturday, October 30 at 1pm ET
TIFA Kids is super hyped to welcome genre-defying storyteller Brian Selznick to present his latest novel, Kaleidoscope. Joined by award-winning young-adult author David Levithan, together they’ll discuss how Kaleidoscope plays with words, pictures, concepts of storytelling, time and identity. Plus there is a live audience Q&A!
Ages 11 and up:
Sunday, October 24 at 1:30pm ET
Real life best friends Shannon and LeUyen are here to give you insights on their creative process, make you laugh and remind you that you are enough! Presenting their latest graphic novel, Friends Forever (based on Shannon’s own experiences of school) sees young Shannon become an eighth grader while struggling with her emotions, insecurities and undiagnosed anxieties, like so many children and teens.
Ages 12 and up:
Sunday, October 31 at 4pm ET
Dragons, dystopian worlds and a live Q&A? Cherie Dimaline and Patrick Ness have quite the afternoon planned for you, and will make you question everything you think you know about frightening monsters. Tune in as the authors challenge your self-awareness and present their highly anticipated new, young-adult novels, Cherie Dimaline’s Hunting by Stars and Patrick Ness’s Burn.
Sunday, October 31 at 11am ET
Tune in for some family fun with fabulous frocks and tremendous tales with fan favourites Fay & Fluffy! Join Fay and Fluffy as they blow the cobwebs off the best spooky stories and songs and provide a feast of ghouls and giggles. It’s their favourite time of year, and you won’t want to miss this party.
TIFA Kids is proud to present 30+ free virtual events that explore stories of love, quests, friendship and family. Browse the full TIFA Kids event lineup here, and join in on all the fun!
Most of us grew up without ever encountering a queer children’s book. Perhaps you were presented with a queer character that no one ever acknowledged as such, or the idea that certain stories were only for boys, and others only for girls. For some readers, these unwritten rules were to the detriment of their self-confidence and well-being.
Today, Pride is our annual reminder to celebrate who we are and those we love—and it wouldn’t be a Toronto Pride without a guest appearance by the fabulous Fay Slift. This month, we asked Fay to cast her spotlight to a glittering parade of books that embody the magic of Pride for young readers.
A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary and Illustrated by Qin Leng
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. For ages 4–7.
Be You! written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Be You! is an inspirational celebration of individuality and a joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special. Here, Reynolds reminds readers to “be your own work of art.” To be patient, persistent and true. Because there is one, and only one, you. For ages 4–8.
Princess by Daniel Hack and Isabel Galupo, illustrated by Becca Human
In this modern fairy tale, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but at the dance, she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place.
This book was published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ+ inclusivity and acceptance. For ages 4–8.
M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC by Catherine Hernandez and illustrated by Marsia Firebaugh
It’s Pride Day, and this big loving chosen family is ready to celebrate! See what they do to make their Pride Day special and so much fun — one letter at a time.
Inspired by the author’s daughter’s journey down Yonge Street as the wee tyke on a bike at the Dyke March in Toronto, readers learn about the Pride Marches in celebration of LGBTQ+ families. For ages 4–8.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures and loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress. But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls.
With warm, dreamy illustrations, Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris’s vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different. For ages 4–7.
Neither by Airlie Anderson
In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that’s not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It’s neither!
This colorful, simple and touching story promotes diversity and offers a valuable lesson to the youngest of audiences: it is our differences that unite us. For ages 4–8.
Not Quite Narwhal written and illustrated by Jessie Sima
Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns.
Not Quire Narwhal is book about fitting in, standing out and the all-encompassing love of family. For ages 4 and up.
Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books
Told in simple, engaging text and paired with bright illustrations, this book (printed on thick paperboard) teaches the youngest of readers all about the colours of this rainbow and the simple acts of kindness that can brighten up our world. For ages 2–5.
Red: A Crayon’s Story written and illustrated by Michael Hall
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries. Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along.
This funny, heartwarming, colourful picture book is about finding the courage to be true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. For ages 4–8.
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York City. Though the Inn had been raided before, that night would be different. It would be the night when empowered members of the LGBTQ+ community–in and around the Stonewall Inn–began to protest and demand their equal rights as citizens of the United States.
This true story allows young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–a movement that continues to this very day. For ages 5–8.
About Fay Slift (JP Kane)
JP Kane is a Toronto-based performer, educator and storyteller. Spending his days teaching kindergarten and weekends cultivating community by creating safe and inclusive spaces for queer and gender variant kids and their families. His alter ego, Fay Slift, has been entertaining the masses for 13 years, captivating audiences at a vast array of festivals and cultural institutions. Her goal is to entertain and empower all kids, no matter their age, by celebrating the things that make each one of them unique and amazing. Fay is one half of the dynamic storytelling duo of Fay & Fluffy’s Storytime, who have been sharing their love of stories since 2016. In 2020, Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé were awarded the Ontario Library Association’s Presidential Award for Exceptional Achievement.