About Me

Long Bio:

Everything I need to know in life I learned from children’s literature. In addition to writing children’s books, I am also a publishing professional, CBA award-winning bookseller, and reviewer. I have a degree in drama from Queen’s University and a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia. Given the opportunity, I will talk your ear off about kids books.

My first middle grade novel, Words That Start With B, came out September 2010 from Scholastic Canada, followed by the sequels, Love is a Four-Letter Word  and Days That End in Y.  These books follow the misadventures of Clarissa Louise Delaney as she navigates those tricky tween years. I was inspired by my own childhood growing up in Woodstock, ON and by the books of Judy Blume.  Summer Days, Starry Nights (nominated for the 2015 Red Maple Award) is a coming of age story set on a summer resort in Northern Ontario in 1962. Think Dirty Dancing without the Dirty.

In 2016 my first picture book If I Had a Gryphon was published, illustrated by the amazing Cale Atkinson. It grew out of an idea I had observing storytime at The Flying Dragon Bookshop and includes my favourite things: rhyme, humour, and magical pets.

photo-30I grew up in Woodstock, Ontario. I spent my summers searching for treasures at flea markets and for my next great read at the library. In the winter I could be found at the arena, figure skating, or acting in local theatre. I once added an “e” to my middle name (Lynn) to be more like Anne Shirley and in grade seven I wanted to be Dana Scully (from The X-Files) when I grew up.

I am currently living in Toronto with too many books and my cat, Barb.When not writing, I can be found at Penguin Random House Canada as the marketing and publicity manager for the young readers’ program. On this blog you will find book recommendations, thoughts on children’s literature, and updates on my own books and events.

Short Bio:

Vikki VanSickle is a devoted and well-respected member of the Canadian children’s book industry. She is the author of the acclaimed Clarissa books, including WORDS THAT START WITH B (CBA Libris Awards Children’s Book of the Year Finalist), LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD (Indigo Kids Best Book of 2011), and DAYS THAT END IN Y (Best Books for Kids and Teens selection). Frequently referred to as “Canada’s Judy Blume,” Vikki’s novel SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS, has been called “Summer reading at its best” and was a finalist for the 2015 Red Maple award. IF I HAD A GRYPHON (Finalist for the Rainforest of Reading award) is her first pitcurebook.  After obtaining an MA in Children’s Literature from UBC, Vikki’s career began in bookselling at The Flying Dragon Bookshop, which earned her the 2011 CBA Young Bookseller of the Year award. She is a popular children’s lit blogger and is frequently called upon to speak about kids’ books for radio panels, conferences, and as Lainey Gossip’s YA mentor! Currently she balances writing with her duties as the Marketing and Publicity Manager for Young Readers at Penguin Random House Canada.

FYI That cartoon version of me featured on each page is by the magnificent Cale Atkinson.

43 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Sue Meggs-Becker says:

    Hey Vicki,
    really enjoy reading your blog, must be your practise space for when you’re a really, really famous author. I can’t believe you have a red door on your house. Why oh why is it not pink?

  2. Nancy Smith says:

    Vikki,

    Hats off to you for following your dreams and for publishing “Words that start with B”! I can’t wait to crack the cover!
    You may not remember me but years ago at Northdale Public School I taught you French (for one year) and was convinced then that your imagination and creativity would take you places – – – so I must say I’m not surprised to read about your recent successes and your house with a red door!!!
    Keep inspiring people to read and to follow their dreams!

    Nancy Smith (Mademoiselle)

  3. Danya says:

    Vikki~~~
    HOW WONDERFUL!!! Congratulations!!!
    I am so excited for you and so look forward to ‘Words that Start with B’!
    I am not surprised at all, you are one talented lady.
    Lots of love and hugs!
    WOW!!!

  4. Laura Fabiani says:

    Vikki, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. My daughter is always thrilled when an author thanks us for the review of her book, and we now look forward to reading your next middle grade book. Congratulations once again on the success of Words That start With B!

  5. Jessi Linn says:

    Hi Vikki,

    I just finished reading your book (which I tried my best to flash about while reading in public, leaving search pages open to its pinkness at Chapters, etc) and wanted to let you know how wonderful I thought it was.

    I especially loved the voice of Clarissa, who reminds me of one student I know in particular and of so many, generally, who are going through the huge-emotions-but-must….(seem to) hate……everything stage of growing up. I can certainly see this ending up in classrooms, especially those like the rural Ontario school where I attended elementary.

    Thanks so much for sharing Clarissa and Benji and friends with the world. You’re a bit of a superhero yourself!

    Jessi Linn

  6. Randy Anderson says:

    Vikki,

    I am proud to say that I just bought your first book. My daughters are too young to read this yet but I will tell them all about the author that I taught. Good luck with everything.

    Randy

  7. Shannon says:

    Vikki, Your book is wonderful. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. I’m in Toronto as well, so let’s get a cup of coffee sometime and catch up, okay? Email me and we’ll find some time. Hugs. Shannon.

  8. Berry Selis says:

    I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it friend 🙂

  9. Idas says:

    Vickie,
    it was a priviledge to hear you speak today at North Toronto Moms.
    It is rare to see someone with such a gift as you have, putting it to such good use and all the while enjoying it with a presence that is inspiring.

    I plan to bring my 8 year old Emily (the mystery reader) in to the bookstore soon, wondering which days we might find you in, she is excited to meet an author in person and you are definately my author of choice. She is hoping she is old enough to read Words That Start With B soon…

    Best regards and wishings for continued writing success,
    Idas

  10. Jen de Wit (nee Boyce) says:

    Hey Vikki,

    I saw an article in the good ol’ Oxford Review, stating that your book was on the best seller list. Congratulations!! I was excited to see your success!
    All the best,
    Jen de Wit (nee Boyce)

  11. Briana says:

    Oh Vikki, i’m so happy that your coming out with a new book. In September maybe i’ll ask my mom if she’ll by it for me for my birthday in september.

  12. Ur loyal fans :P says:

    Hi!
    We can’t wait for your book 🙂
    I loved the flying dragon… so sad its gone… 😦
    🙂 😦 🙂 😦 🙂 😦
    a flow of emotions… :S

  13. vikkivansickle says:

    Hi Mia! Thanks for stopping by! Dozer is a great name for a bulldog. My cat’s name is Barb, which just so happens to be both a word that starts with B AND a four letter word! How is that for coincidence?! I’m so glad you enjoyed my books! It is very rewarding to hear from a reader, so thank you for making my day!

  14. Shaun MacDonald says:

    Hey Vikki,

    If you’re still interested in coming in to speak at my school, send me an email. I can hook you up with the librarian’s email address to organize a date. Your books are on sale here for the Book Fair!

  15. Taryn says:

    Hi Vikki,
    I’m doing a biography about you and I would to learn more!
    Where can I get the information that I need?

    A book-lover and dream-follower,
    Taryn

  16. Kim kozun says:

    I must say my students were thrilled to have you come into our class at AP in Prince Albert. The girls that wrote the mini chapter book are filled with writing power. They can’t stop talking about you:)

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Hi Kim! That’s excellent news! Thank you so much for letting me know. I have their book here with me and will send you some comments for them by the end of the week.

  17. Tony says:

    It was a pleasure to meet you Thursday, June 7 in Mississauga. Your journey on becoming a writer was inspiring. Your success is well-deserved and earned.

  18. Barbara Fanson (Kristen's Mommy) says:

    Thank you for inspiring my daughter Kristen today at Telling Tales. She likes to write and draw. We immediately went and bought one of your books. We have been to all 4 Telling Tales Festivals. You were lucky to be on the Summer Stage surrounded by old buildings and trees that are starting to change colour. I took some photos of you today. I can email them to you, if you wish.

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Hi Barbara, thanks for picking up a book for Kristen and then seeking me out online! I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of such a beautiful festival. Not only was the setting gorgeous, but every single presenter and person I met was kind, engaged, and truly excited to be there. What a gift of a festival Telling Tales is! I would love to see the photos you took!

  19. Laura says:

    Hello Vikki,

    I hope you remember me as a passionate Flying Dragon customer! I loved the store…..and never read a book recommended by you that I didn’t love. My 3 kids still look for the store everytime we pass that stretch of Bayview.

    I’m working on a project now that I thought you might be interested in hearing about — it’s all about kids, books, passion, and dreaming.

    Would love to connect to tell you about it.

    Best,

    Laura Dunne

  20. Barb Cunningham says:

    Vikki, we just bought your book Days That End in Y, and wondered if the “Victoria Park” you mention on the first page is the Victoria Park in Cobourg, Ontario. We’re giving the book to our granddaughter and it would be exciting if it was Cobourg, as she lives there.

    Thanks,
    Barb

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Hi Barb! I’m sorry to say it isn’t Cobourg, but it could be! I specifically called the park Victoria Park because it seems like every small town in Ontario has a park with that name. This way kids from all over (like your granddaughter in Cobourg) could relate to it. I hope she enjoys the book and thank you for the support!

  21. NS says:

    Dear Mrs.Vikki VanSickle,
    Hello! And thank you so much for putting in the time and effort to read my message! It means a lot! I am currently reading your second Clarissa Delaney book, “Love is a Four-Letter Word “, and it’s amazing! I enjoy Benji the most out of all the characters, however they’re all my favorite in some ways.
    I will be turning 14 in about a month and I aspire to become a writer and wonderful person just like you! I wanted to ask if you had any advice for me. For example, do you recommend for me to take on any specific programs or classes or to help me in my future? Do I need to start early to become a successful writer? Do you have any advice for me at this point?
    Regardless, I would like to thank you again for reading this letter, and I would be very grateful if you could respond to it! 🙂
    Sincerely,
    NS

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Hi NS! If you want to be a writer the most important thing is to read lots- read everything you can, even if it’s outside the genre you’re interested in. Take special note of books that feel like the kind of books YOU want to write and re-read them. Also get into the habit of writing. Make time for it and write even when it’s hard- so much of being a writer is the discipline of actually writing. Finding a buddy or online writing group can help keep you on track and provide you support when you get stuck. Classes are great, especially in terms of learning writing strategies and giving you deadlines, but they aren’t necessary to becoming a writer. All you need is the drive, the time, and the discipline- which it sounds like you have! Good luck and thanks again for letting Benji & Clarissa into your heart 🙂

  22. Alan Mould says:

    Hi, just saw you on Global. As a retired elementary school teacher, your zeal and love of writing was quite clear. I taught for 31 years in Toronto, most of it grade two. I will be buying your books for my granddaughter. On a sidebar, are you related to Laura VanSickle. I went through elementary and secondary school with her.

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Thank you so much, Alan! I’ve been visiting many grade 2 classes for the book and they’re always a delight. I don’t believe I’m related to a Laura VanSickle- I’ll have to check the old family tree!

  23. Gabriele Marinoff Southby says:

    Hi Vikki,
    Just saw you being interviewed on Global Morning News and was impressed with your thoughts about reading to children. You have reaffirmed my beliefs from a teacher’s standpoint. I will be looking for your newest book “If I had a Gryphon”. I am now enjoying retirement in my first year and chapter of my life. My grandchildren play a huge part in my life, and I, as their moms and dads, will read to them at every opportunity. Angela, your old high school friend, now has two children, Ben and Anna. You may already know this from facebook. I wish you continued success in your writing career. Gabriele Southby

    • vikkivansickle says:

      Hi Gabriele! Good to hear you’re enjoying your retirement. It must be great to have more time to spend with your grandkids- facebook has kept me updated on their achievements, such cuties! Thanks again for the continued support xo

  24. Sandy Smith says:

    Hey Vikki,

    Very impressed by your talent! You are living my ‘dream job’.
    Well, at least I get to be surrounded by books working at Chapters in Kelowna 🙂 .
    I only recently became aware of your books when I was doing some shelving and the name Vansickle jumped out at me as it is not a common name. Small world; I know your Mom and Dad! Please say hi to them for me.
    I see from your bio that you already had Indigo Kids Best book of 2011; that’s an incredible achievement when you look at the sheer numbers of books that come through Indigo in a year; congratulations!. I am going to put one of your books as my staff recommendation at
    the front of the store. If you ever get back to BC and are in the Okanagan, I would love to meet you and maybe have you sign some books as well.
    Keep writing so we can keep reading Vikki! Take care.

    Sandy Smith

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