Karen Krossing

Karen Krossing

Toronto, ON

Runner-Up, Joan F. Kaywell Books Save Lives Award for Punch Like a Girl (2017)

CCBC Best Book for Teens for Punch Like a Girl (2015)

SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in Canada for Bog (2015)

CCBC Best Book for Kids and Teens for Bog (2015)

OLA Best Bets selection for Bog (2014)

CCBC Best Book for Teens for The Yo-Yo Prophet (2012)

OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention for The Yo-Yo Prophet (2011)

CCBC Best Book for Teens for Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls (2008)

Resource Links Best of the Year for Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls (2008)

Resource Links Best of the Year for Pure (2006)

OLA White Pine Award for Take the Stairs (Short-listed, 2004)

Resource Links Best of the Year for The Castle Key (2000)


Junior fiction (Ages 8-12), Intermediate Fiction (Ages 10-14), Middle Years Fiction (Hi-Lo) (Ages 10-14), Short stories, Teen Fiction (Hi-Lo) (Ages 12 and up), Young adult (YA) Fiction (Ages 12 and up)


Harry Endrulat (The Rights Factory)


Karen Krossing is the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens, including Bog, which won the 2015 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in Canada, and The Yo-Yo Prophet, which was an Ontario Library Association Best Bets Honorable Mention. Karen has built a reputation as an author who writes honestly and unflinchingly, with the ability to create “an utterly believable, complex teen world” (Quill & Quire). Her latest titles include Cut the Lights, which received a starred review in ALA Booklist, and Punch Like a Girl, which was a CCBC Best Book for Teens.

Karen writes to understand the world around her, focussing on stories with social justice themes as well as performance and visual arts. She particularly enjoys writing for pre-teens and teens. “It’s a time of great possibility,” she says, “with a few land mines thrown in.”

Karen’s love of writing has sparked many workshops with kids, teens, and adults. “Everyone has stories to write,” she says. “The challenge is finding the inspiration to begin and the drive to work through the story until it’s well-crafted.” Karen has led workshops at the 2003 Canadian Children’s Book Camp in Toronto and went on tour with TD Canadian Children’s Book Week in 2005 and 2014. She’s been a children’s writing instructor at Centennial College, and she’s taught summer-camp and after-school writing programs for kids and teens through Pegasus Studios. She is currently an editor of the Toronto Public Library’s Young Voices Magazine of teen writing and art. Karen is also a former book editor with Oxford University Press and McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Karen lives with her family in Toronto. For more about her, please visit www.karenkrossing.com.

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Book Talks

For grades 4 through 12, all book talks last approximately one hour. The purpose of Karen’s book talks is to promote literacy. Her talks usually include how she evolved as a writer, the writing life, an introduction to an age-appropriate work, a short reading, a discussion of issues raised by the reading (such as social justice or bullying), an oral storywriting exercise involving the audience, and questions and answers. She introduces her books by discussing how they were written, how a story is structured, and the writing techniques used. Her goal is to inspire audience members to share her passion for reading and writing.

For grades 4 to 6, Karen will showcase her middle-grade novels: Bog, The Castle Key, and possibly Cut the Lights. Issues such as tolerance and believing in oneself may be discussed.

For grades 7 to 12, Karen’s novels and short stories for teens will be highlighted, including Cut the Lights, The Yo-yo Prophet, Pure, and Take the Stairs. Issues such as bullying, depression, social justice, and prejudice may be explored. Performance and visual arts are also featured in these titles.

Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

Fees: $200, plus HST and travel costs such as mileage

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Writing Workshops

Karen delivers customized writing workshops for all ages – children, teens, and adults. Workshops typically include a discussion of specific story-writing techniques as well as inspirational writing exercises designed to generate story ideas and practise particular techniques. Her technique promotes intuitive writing using a variety of stimulating activities, including word games, masks, story dice, photos, and character games. Writing is then shared through peer critiquing, using positive and constructive feedback techniques. Workshops can run from 1 to 2 hours in length, depending on content. Workshops can include:

WordPlay Writing Workshop: Who says writing isn’t fun? With fresh and inspiring story-starters, students will explore new characters and create captivating scenes. Spark their imagination and enjoyment of words while they learn creative writing techniques in this hands-on workshop. (grades 4-8)

Villains and Heroes: Students learn how to develop characters and scenes by creating their own villains and heroes in this hands-on workshop. (grades 4-8)

How to Create a Believable OtherWorld: Whether you write about unicorns or alien planets, an imaginary world needs rules and structure in order to be believable. In this workshop, students will learn how to create a fully imagined fantasy or science-fiction world and the characters who live there. (grades 4-8)

Stories Inspired by Real-Life: Explore how moments such as an early memory as a child, a conversation overheard on the bus, or your family history can spark fictional or memoir writing. Students will create scenes, learn creative writing techniques, and get constructive feedback on their writing. (grades 4-12, adult)

How You Can Get Published and Other Mysteries Solved: Learn where young authors can submit, how to submit, and how to revise a first draft. An informative and friendly workshop for teen creators, with writing exercises to practise skills. (grades 7-12)

Character Development: How can you get a thorough look into your main character’s mind before writing? And after you do, what writing tools can you use to reveal that character? Tips to develop and reveal character as well as writing exercises to practise these tips. (grades 7-12, adult)

How to Revise a Work-in-Progress: A piece of writing that you want to submit for publication needs to be the very best you could possibly write – then you need to find a way to make it better. Learn how to polish your good idea until it sparkles, attracting the attention of an editor at a publishing company. (grades 7-12, adult)

How to Structure a Story: What does your character want? What obstacles block the character from achieving this goal? What is the climactic moment toward which everything is building? This workshop explores how to structure a story by answering questions like these. (grades 7-12, adult)

Professional Development WorkshopsFacilitating a Writing Group: Karen has facilitated writing workshops for ages 8 to adult for over 10 years. Learn how to run a successful writing workshop, from a lunch-time drop-in club for kids to a professional critique group.

Writing for Children: An overview of the field of children’s writing, including how to generate ideas, develop believable characters, understand genres, edit your writing, and market and promote your work.

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

Fees: $200, plus HST and travel costs such as mileage