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The Who and the Why...


Photo Credit: Debbie Ohi

The Kidlit community loves a good celebration! So, in 2018, when the opportunity to host a massive party for Canadian Kidlit authors and illustrators presented itself, four highly motivated (and slightly fanatical) authors took it on. The venue was booked, canapes were ordered, drink tickets were bought, a band was set, a charity was chosen, volunteers and donations and prizes and auctions were organized. Within the span of six short weeks, the Canadian Kidlit Gala was born! Energized by this wonderful accomplishment, and fuelled by the positive feedback we received, we decided to do it again. So we’ve created this official website for our official unofficial Gala Fundraiser in support of the Canadian children's literature community.

We welcome you, thank you for your support, and are so glad you have decided to join us in celebrating the goodness that is Canadian Kidlit!



With much appreciation and respect,


Ishta, Kari, Star, and Claudia

your highly motivated and slightly fanatical Gala Committee

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Profile picture Kari.png

Ishta Mercurio is a sometime actor and a writer of fiction and non-fiction for children. She is the co-author with Kari-Lynn Winters of the Red Maple nominated non-fiction title Bite Into Bloodsuckers (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2015), and the author of Small World (ABRAMS Books for Young Readers, 2019), which is illustrated by Jen Corace. She administers the SCBWI Canada East Rising Kite Diversity Award, and sits on several inclusion committees in the children's publishing industry. She has also read for the CCBC's Best Books magazine. She can be found at

Kari Maaren is a writer, cartoonist, musician, and academic who has no spare time. Her first novel, the Copper Cylinder-winning and Andre Norton-nominated Weave a Circle Round, was published by Tor Books in 2017. She has a completed webcomic, West of Bathurst, and an active one, the Aurora-winning It Never Rains, and she has produced two CDs, Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and Everybody Hates Elves. Her day job involves teaching undergraduate university students that the five-paragraph method of essay writing is the devil. She is fond of time travel and titles that begin with “W.”

Copyright: Kari Maaren

Copyright: Kari Maaren

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Claudia Osmond is the author of Smudge’s Mark, founder of Torkidlit MG/YA Writers’ and Illustrators’ Group, curator of the REAL TALK blog, co-leader of an Artist Collective in Toronto, and serves as Director of Education and Advocacy at a continuum of care residence. To replenish her emotional and creative wellbeing, she reads (and reads and reads) and paints and sews and knits. She’s a fan of the Raptors, in love with Toronto, and obsessed with vanilla cupcakes.

Star Spider is a writer of fiction, non-fiction, memoir and poetry and has recently published her debut YA novel, Past Tense with HarperCollins Canada. She is also a producer for her awesome husband Ben Badger and their post-production company Happy Creations.  In her writing Star deals with mental health and LGBTQ themes and she is a student of psychology at Ryerson University. Star’s stories have been widely published and can be found both online and in print.

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Copyright: Kari Maaren

Copyright: Kari Maaren

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