Kathy Stinson is a familiar name in children’s literature. She wrote the award-winning Red is Best and Big or Little?—two of the first picture books for preschoolers in Canada. Both were a huge success and have since achieved international acclaim. Red is Best 25th Anniversary Edition was released in 2006 a newly illustrated Big or Little? was published in 2009.
In 2013, Kathy’s book The Man with the Violin was greeted with rave reviews, including starred reviews in Kirkus and Quill & Quire. It went on to win the prestigious 2014 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Illustrated by Dušan Petričić, this beautifully evocative picture book tells the true story of world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, who conducted an experiment by anonymously playing his priceless violin in the Washington D.C. subway station.
Her latest book, Dance of the Violin (Spring 2017), once again features an event from the life of Joshua Bell. This time, it goes back to his childhood when he entered a very prestigious competition. After an initial blunder, Joshua asks—and gets—a second chance to play his piece. This time, he plays it perfectly.
Another one of Kathy’s recent books is Harry and Walter (2016), a heart-warming picture book about a little boy and his elderly neighbor.
Kathy grew up in Toronto. “My love affair with books began as a child,” she says. “I remember regular visits to the library, getting stacks of books to read.” She still has a notebook of stories that she wrote when she was in grade four. She believes that reading a lot is the key to becoming a good writer.
In the early 1970s Kathy attended university while teaching elementary school. In 1981, she took a course called “How to write and get published.” The titles she has published in the years since range from picture books to young adult novels, from historical fiction chapter books to short stories in the horror genre. The year 2008 saw the publication of her first brand-new picture book in sixteen years!
Kathy enjoys visiting schools across Canada, and especially talking with fellow writers. In 1987 she traveled to England as part of an exchange of Canadian and British children’s authors. She has helped students across Canada pursue their own creative projects through the Writers in Electronic Residence program, and has conducted writing workshops for children and adults in many communities.
When she’s not busy writing or reading, Kathy is a self-proclaimed jigsaw puzzle addict. Her children now grown, she lives with her partner, editor Peter Carver, in a hamlet not far from Guelph, Ontario.