You don’t have to be a kid to find something you love on the inaugural FOLD Kids schedule (but if you are, lucky you!) The Festival of Literary Diversity’s first fest for young people, to be held in Brampton, Ont., Sept. 27–29, hopes to raise a new generation of readers while encouraging new voices to contribute to the kidlit canon.
“For me, reading a writer who was Black was instrumental,” festival organizer Jael Richardson told Q&Q in April. “I don’t think that means that every kid needs to meet someone who looks like them but they need to see the full range in the authors that are represented.”
These five events are just a few of the highlights on the agenda for the festival’s first year.
For the junior night owl
Think you can stay up all the way until … 8:30 p.m.? Little kids (not to mention their sleep-deprived parents) can press the limits of their bedtime by preregistering for this pyjama party filled with bedtime stories, songs, and other activities designed to trigger the ZZZs. Stuffed animal guests welcome.
Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Peel Art Gallery, Museum + Archives (9 Wellington St. E.)
For the kids comic connoisseur
Top cartoonists and real-life pals Kevin Sylvester (Gargantua [Jr.!]) and Debbie Ohi (I’m Worried with Michael Ian Black) go head-to-head in a comic arts battle. Let’s hope that the only thing drawn in this duel is pictures.
Sept. 28, 11:15 a.m., Garden Square
For the aspiring children’s writer
Calling all closet children’s book writers! Make a weekend of developing your craft by preregistering for two events: Debbie Ohi will coach a picture-book writing seminar and answer questions about the path to publication on Saturday; then writers can pitch ideas and receive feedback one-on-one from agents and editors on Sunday.
Kid Lit Writing Workshop: Sept. 28, 2 – 4 p.m., Peel Art Gallery, Museum + Archives (9 Wellington St. E.)
Pitch Perfect: Kidlit Edition: Sept. 29, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., City Hall (2 Wellington St. W.)
For the literary kidlit lover
A literary giant since the ’80s, the Commonwealth Prize–winning Jamaican-Canadian writer Olive Senior will read from her children’s books, including her recently published Boonoonoonous Hair.
Sept. 29, 1 p.m., City Hall (2 Wellington St. W.)
For the whole family
Celebrated novelist, essayist, poet, and children’s book author Kai Cheng Thom will read from her picture book From the Stars in The Sky to the Fish in the Sea, an allegory about gender variance featuring a shape-shifting child and a parent whose love is unshakeable.
Sept. 29, 3:15 p.m., City Hall (2 Wellington St. W.)