2024 Festival:
October 21–27
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Top Picks for Teachers: New Classics for School Reading


Update: David A. Robertson was originally scheduled to attend in-person, and will now be attending virtually.

There are perennial books beloved to teachers and students alike. How do we begin to amalgamate new classics; books that have caught millions of imaginations and continue to be go-to reads for youth? Three authors at the top of their game explore just that. They’ll speak about their new books, and the importance of broadening our school reading lists to ensure that both traditional and contemporary books of influence are accessible to young minds across the country. You’ll leave with great suggestions for your next favourite classroom choice. Hear from perennial bestselling author Cherie Dimaline (Hunting by Stars, sequel to The Marrow Thieves); David A. Robertson (The Great Bear); and Robin Stevenson (When You Get the Chance).

Moderated by Tanya Boteju.

Cherie Dimaline (appearing virtually)
David A. Robertson (appearing virtually)
Robin Stevenson (appearing in-person)

Tanya Boteju
(appearing in-person)

Participants and Speakers

Cherie Dimaline

CHERIE DIMALINE is an author from the Georgian Bay Métis Community. Her book The Marrow Thieves, won the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, and the Governor General’s Literary Award, among others. It was named a Book of the Year on numerous lists, including those from NPR, the School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, and the CBC. Its sequel, Hunting by Stars, was published in 2021 to great acclaim, and has been selected as Book of the Year from NPR, Indigo, and Kobo, and is a Good Morning America Buzz Pick, as well as a Cityline Book Club Pick for December 2021. VenCo is her latest novel for adults.

David A. Robertson

DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award. The Barren Grounds received a starred review from Kirkus and was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020. A sought-after speaker and educator, as well as recent recipient of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Freedom to Read Award, Robertson is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation. (MANITOBA)

Robin Stevenson

ROBIN STEVENSON is the author of more than twenty books for children and teens. She regularly presents in schools, offering book talks, creative writing workshops, and presentations on LGBTQ+ Pride. Her YA novel A Thousand Shades of Blue was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and is included on CBC’s list, “100 YA Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian.” Stevenson lives on the west coast of Canada with her partner and their son. (BRITISH COLUMBIA)

Tanya Boteju

TANYA BOTEJU is an English teacher and writer whose debut novel, Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, was named a Top Ten Indie Next Pick by the American Booksellers Association, and selected for the American Librarian Association 2020 Rainbow List.