2017: The Year in Review

What a year it’s been! I feel so fortunate to have had such amazing experiences. In March, I had the pleasure of being part of the Rainforest of Reading, an annual children’s book festival in Grenada, Saint Lucia, Montserrat and Nevis run by OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation. The festival is the largest literacy initiative undertaken in a region still reeling from infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Ivan (2006) and Hurricane Tomas (2010) and the economic impact of a global recession. It was an honour to work side by side with this charity. It was especially moving to be in St Lucia on the day that poet laureate Derek Walcott died and hear from teachers and writers who have been influenced by his work. Also, I got to spend all my time with Jael Richardson, a true Force For Good in the world


As a Blue Spruce nominee I visited many schools across Ontario presenting If I Had a Gryphon and was invited to take part in both the Toronto and Sault Sainte-Marie Festival of Trees celebrations. I met so many engaged readers in addition to teachers, librarians, and parents who work tirelessly to bring Canadian books to Canadian children. If you are worried about books or the state of literacy in this country, this program is a good reminder that The Kids Are Alright!


Also in the spring, this Anglophile visited England for the first time. I had such fun traipsing through historical sites by day and seeing incredible theatre by night. Highlights include the Roman baths, late night cocktails at Evans & Peel Detective Agency, catching my friends Harrow Fair on their first UK tour, high tea at The Savoy, and every Potterhead’s pilgrimage to King’s Cross Station.


September brought the publication of my sixth book, The Winnowing. This is my first foray into science-fiction and an unabashed love letter to the X-Files. It was also an excuse to get the skirt of my dreams made. Thanks to Kingi at Peach Berserk for making my sartorial dreams come true!


And I couldn’t have been more grateful to see The Winnowing on the 2018 Red Maple Fiction Award list. The Forest of Reading program grows by leaps and bounds every year and I was thrilled to be included among this year’s stellar nominees. I can’t wait to visit schools to talk about conspiracy theories, The X-Files and The Winnowing in early winter 2018!

red maple 2018

As for 2018? I am looking forward to my trip to Manitoba for Canadian Children’s Book Week, one of many wonderful programs facilitated by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (are you a member? You should be! More info here). I also have some book news to share, but you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

Much love and best to you & yours in 2018!


October 2017 Events


I’m hitting the road in October to talk about The Winnowing (with a few If I Had a Gryphon story times in there for good measure). I’d love to see your smiling faces! Check the Events Page for the most recent updates.


Oct 14, 2-3pm

Make it an Indigo Weekend Teen Takeover: Indigo Burlington

1250 Brant St, Burlington, ON


Oct 15, 3-4pm 

Celebration of Stories Festival : If I Had a Gryphon Storytime 


 Milton Centre for the Arts, 1010 Main St. E, Milton, ON


Oct 22, 11am

Books & Brunch Event Sponsored by Blue Heron Books

Wooden Sticks Golf Club, 40 Elgin Park Dr, Uxbridge, ON


Oct 28, 2-3pm

Chapters Vega Signing

3050 Vega Blvd, Mississauga, ON


Nov 4, 10-2pm

 Festival of Readers

festival of readers

St Catherine’s Public Library, Central Branch, 54 Church Street, St Catherine’s, L2R 7K2


The Winnowing Blog Tour


I get it. The Winnowing seems like a hard left turn for me. My previous novels are coming-of-age stories about ordinary kids dealing with family and relationship-based drama. What is this slightly dystopian, conspiracy-driven thriller?! Where did it come from? In a series of Winspiration Guest posts I will attempt to answer this question.

Thank you to the bloggers who make the time to read the book and let me take over their space for a day, I truly appreciate it and all you do for books. Here’s the schedule:

Sept 5: Gushing about The Giver over at Padfoot’s Library

Sept 6: How a garage sale find changed my life at Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup

Sept 7: All things X-Files at  Mostly YA Lit 

Sept 8: Q&A with the great Helen Kubiw at CanLit for Little Canadians 

Sept 12: The trouble with genre at Me on Books 

Sept 14: On Gene Roddenberry’s legacy at Confessions of a Book Addict 

Sept 18: How Into The Dream & William Sleator inspired me over at Lost in a Great Book 

Sept 20: Art imitates life, or how a new running habit ended up in The Winnowing at Lost at Midnight 

Sept 22: Q&A about earth-based science fiction & my fave X-Files episodes at Women Right About Comics 


The Winnowing Book Launch


Fall is just around the corner which means sweater weather, pumpkin pie, and The Winnowing! I’ve been busy working on some guest posts for The Winnowing blog tour and booking events for the fall. Full details coming soon, but for now here is everything you need to know about the Toronto book launch!

When: Tuesday, August 29th 6:30pm

Where: Supermarket Bar & Restaurant, 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON. Kensington Market

This is a public event, kids and friends welcome!

Books will be sold by beloved Toronto institution and indie bookseller Bakka-Phoenix.

Trivia master and kid lit author Evan Munday will be hosting a round of trivia around 8pm. He will be focusing on related topics (children’s books, 1980s pop culture, science fiction, etc). There will be prizes, so bring your brainiest pals!


The Best Moments in Children’s Books, 2014


There were some shining moments in the children’s book world in 2014. This year we encouraged children to practice their reading with cats, celebrated graphic novels, established a new YA award in Canada, and took a stand on diversity.

Mac Barnett’s TED talk

Barnett’s books are funny, clever, and sophisticated, but never at the expense of child appeal. It comes as no surprise that the author himself is an engaging ambassador for children’s literature. In his TED talk “Why a good book is a secret door,” he discusses the human aptitude for imagination and gives plenty of real-life examples from his days as a camp counselor to his work at the inventive writing & tutoring organization 826LA, and his own writing.


Berks ARL Book Buddies Program 


I mean come on. Look at this picture! So cute I had to post it twice. This story of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County Book Buddies program went viral in February, due largely to this image of a little boy reading to a shelter cat posted on Reddit. Encouraging children to read AND comforting cats? I am in.




This grassroots organization of diversity crusaders has come a long way. After BookCon announced an all-white, largely male line-up this spring, authors and readers took to the internet to make it known that #WeNeedDiverseBooks. To their credit, the organizers responded, and a panel entitled “The World Agrees: We Need Diverse Books” was added to the programming. Months later, after significant media coverage and successful crowd-funding campaigns,  WNDB is a full-fledged organization. Featuring grants, book lists, tips for bringing diversity into the classroom and an upcoming festival, it is safe to say that #WeNeedDiverseBooks is transitioning from a moment to a movement.


THIS ONE SUMMER wins the Governor General’s Award for Illustration


In an insightful piece in The National Post this fall, Anna Fitzpatrick discusses the potential impact of Jillian Tamaki‘s GG win on the perception of comic arts. With the ever-growing popularity of graphic novels and memoirs for children (El Deafo, Sisters, Through the Woods and the upcoming Roller Girl), the ever-growing attendance at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and a TCAF pop-up shop at the Toronto Public Library this month, it is hard to deny that graphic art in all it’s permutations is commanding more respect. This is fantastic news. Just think of the amazing crossover and genre-bending books there are to come!


The Amy Mathers Teen Book Award is Established

amy mathers

Book-lover and CanLit advocate Amy Mathers began her marathon of books, reading her way across Canada one YA book at a time, in January 2014 hoping to raise enough money to fund a much-needed award for Canadian YA. At the TD Children’s Literature Award Gala in November it was announced that her dream would become a reality. The first Amy Mathers Teen Book Award will be awarded in 2015. This is great news for the vibrant and diverse range of YA books published by Canadians.  Follow Amy’s journey and peruse her book reviews on her website or connect with her on twitter.

Now doesn’t that make you feel good? Here’s to a great 2015! Happy holidays, friends!


Summer Days, Starry Nights Shortlisted for the 2015 Red Maple Award


I could not be more thrilled to be among the fantastic writers on the 2015 Red Maple Award list. The OLA Forest of Reading is one of the largest children’s choice award programs in Canada and attending the Forest of Trees ceremony in Toronto is one of my favourite days of the year. If you have any doubt about the state of reading in this country, this is a program to check out. But don’t take my word for it:


If you get the chance to go to Harbourfront and witness the 8000+ school children screaming for their favourite book, I highly recommend it. You will leave grinning and feeling like the world is in excellent hands. Mark Medley did a fantastic article about the event in The National Post. Read it here.

I have created some resources to compliment the Summer Days, Starry Nights reading experience. Please check out my resources page to find:

-Discussion questions and a list of related activities

Pinterest Inspiration board– Here you will find a collection of images that inspire the setting, the clothes, and some of the characters in the book

Playlist– I have pulled together some videos of artists and musical groups that are mentioned in the book or inspired the characters of Bo, Gwen, and Johnny

I am also available for school visits and have a quantity of Summer Days, Starry Nights bookmarks available for your schools and libraries. Leave me a message in the comments and I’m happy to put together a package for you (while supplies last).



Read, Write, Blog: 2013 in Review


Instagram DAYS Jenn Hubbs

Not one, but TWO new novels! Bringing my series about Benji and Clarissa to a close in DAYS THAT END IN Y was bittersweet. I love this review in CM Magazine because above all else I aim to be authentic, and if the mother of a teenage daughter who happens to be a middle school librarian says I succeeded, than I am a happy girl. I  still think about those crazy kids and what they might get up to in high school. I feel like Benji would be a big Lorde fan and that Clarissa would have many opinions on Miley Cyrus.


SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS came out a few months later and I was thrilled with the fantastic response it received, including pieces in The National Post, The Toronto Star, and on such great blogs as CanLit for Little Canadians and Fabbity Fab Book Reviews. This is my love letter to summer and the 1960s and on my snowy walk home from the bus stop I often imagine sitting lakeside with Reenie at Sandy Shores. Plus the launch party held at 3030 was my favourite night of the year!



Some of my blogging highlights include the fantastic discussion generated by my spring post, YA Is Too Late: Gay Characters in Middle Grade Fiction. I got some great recommendations from this post, and I will continue to seek out titles for an update in 2014. Rounding up the idiosyncrasies shared by kidlit lovers everywhere in You Probably Work in Children’s Books If…  was a labor of love and celebration of our quirky community. I also ruminated on the oft-discussed niche genre of New Adult, listed my Top Ten Under-Sung Series, and started the CAIRN writing retreat, which will be returning in 2014.


book pile

The thought of recapping everything I read is daunting, but here are some highlights: I wept over the  Montmaray journals, gushed over the latest Kiki Strike, had my faith in whimsy restored by Rooftoppers, found my spirit animal in the form of a book in Jane, The Fox, and Me, and fell in love with middle grade all over again with The Apothecary. If (like me) you enjoy a visual list, feel free to browse my Read Shelf over at the Fifty Book Pledge. I stand by all of these books. This list is missing a few unpublished titles (the hazards of working in publishing include reading books that are sometimes YEARS away from publication), but it’s fairly accurate. I’m aiming to get to 115 by December 31st!

What am I looking forward to in 2014? I want to read more books set in remote areas (real or imagined). I want more chapter books with spot illustrations. I want to read fantastic YA that doesn’t revolve around a love story. I’d like my magic to be subtle,and my characters strong. More than anything I want to read WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Thank you for joining me in a year of reading and writing- I hope you’ll join me in 2014!