Who We Are

We are a group of children’s literature specialists who have come together to celebrate what links us all together: Children’s Literature (capitalized for effect). We are possess the Masters of Arts in Children’s Literature program from the University of British Columbia (all of us have graduated). Because there are so few of us, we usually refer to ourselves as unicorns. Read on for our individual profiles.



I’m Yash and I do like being known by just my first name. 
I hold an MA in Children’s Literature and a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts (English Literature, Asian Studies, and Women’s Studies), both from The University of British Columbia. The interdisciplinary nature of both my degrees have allowed me to explore that odd space created when popular culture and academia collide, and now this blog keeps me venturing forth. I haven’t grown tired of it yet; it’s an interesting and ever-changing space.

To browse my reviews and ramblings at The Book Wars, click here. To check out my contributions at Book Riot, go here.



Hello! I’m Stephanie Dror, a Master’s of Children’s Literature (University of British Columbia), with a special interest in young adult dystopian novels and the environment. I dabble in the writing of children’s literature, there is always some kind of magic, and often a ghost or two. I’ve written and presented papers on the greening of children’s literature, the gaming in children’s literature, and believable secondary worlds.

While I will read almost anything, I will be judgy regardless. I am not especially fond of romance or of books that prance around as a genre but then underneath they are really romance. Dystopia, fantasy, magical realism and, occasionally, regional literature are where it’s at for me (and that goes for novels, graphic novels/comics and picturebooks). While, I really love to read anything about the end of the world, I am open to book suggestions!

I generally have lots of projects on the go. Last year I organized and hosted the Sendak Symposium: A celebration of Maurice Sendak and his lasting influence on children’s literature (let the Wild Rumpus continue!) with a group of fellow students (most of whom are on this page). This year I am co-chair of the “i Will Be Myself”: Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Media and Culture conference and, while it’s a lot of work, it is a great experience. Oh, and I’m writing a thesis.

I love libraries, guitar music (and I even play a little Uke!), cats, and the apocalypse, and looks forward to finishing my thesis and finding my way into the writing and publishing world here in Canada. Stephanie also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English from York University.



My name is Nafiza. It’s not that difficult to pronounce. Na-Fee-Zah! (The exclamation point is purely optional but I’d like it if you used it.) Some things you may not want to know about me but I will tell you anyway:
– I love pineapple.
– I am running a separate book review blog and have been doing so for the past three years and plan to continue doing so for however long I can. Clearly, I’m crazy. (That’s another thing you should know.)
– I wrote a YA high fantasy novel as my thesis.
– I like fantasy novels a lot but I read almost everything. Even dystopian. The only thing I won’t read are romance novels and westerns.
– I’m sensitive to issues of gender expression, feminism and cultural appropriation in the books I read.
– I speak Fiji-Hindi, Urdu (which is rather similar to Fiji-Hindi) and Korean. I can read Arabic, know some Punjabi, smatterings of Latin and Spanish.
– I am from Fiji and honestly, I know next to nothing about North American pop culture. I’m the one with the blank face while people sing along to old pop songs or talk about old trends. I wouldn’t know. I lived on a small island in the middle of the South Pacific.



Hi! I’m Janet. I’m interested in all things fairy tale and folklore-related, from picturebooks to middle reader books to young adult novels and just about everything in between. Fantasy and quest stories also intrigue me, as do historical novels. I grew up devouring Brian Jacques’ Redwall saga, so no surprises there! I’m also an admirer of Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Austen, Kenneth Oppel, Garth Nix, Patricia C. Wrede, Neil Gaiman… the list of authors goes on (I know I’m missing many names and will no doubt soon be appalled by my oversight), as does my to-read pile. I love being surprised by new and skillfully written stories, and was recently delighted by Merrie Haskell’s “Handbook for Dragon Slayers” and by James Howe and Chris Raschka’s “Otter and Odder.” If you have a favourite that you are convinced I simply must read, drop me a line and I’ll try to fit it in.



Hi, I’m Jane! Here are a few things you might want to know about me:

  • I’m a children’s librarian with the third largest public library system in Canada.
  • I’m obsessed with picture books.
  •  I have a BA and an MLIS from the University of British Columbia, but I would never consider myself an academic.
  • I live for story times.
  • Preschoolers and kindergarteners make my heart happy and remind me not to take life too seriously.
  • I drink a lot of tea, preferably Earl Grey, hot.
  •  I can’t get enough picture books, and regularly write about them on my personal blog.
  • I belong to several book clubs. I’m cool that way.
  • Like all good librarians I adore cats but I happen to be highly allergic. Life can be cruel sometimes.
  • I have a ridiculously massive cardigan collection.
  • Did I mention I’m rather fond of picture books?
P.S. My profile picture is by the fantastic Dawn Lo.


The Contributors

Yuriy profile pic

Yuriy Plisenko holds a BA in Film Studies and English from the University of British Columbia. Nowadays, the vast majority of his life revolves around little pictures in boxes. He reads comics, writes about comics and draws little stick figure comics which he never shows to anyone. He thinks about video games a lot, but tries not to play them too much. He is fuelled primarily by iced tea.

You can read some of his musings here


Laura MacDonald

Laura MacDonald is an avid reader, writer, glasses wearer, dog lover, and donut eater. She enjoys reading most genres, but particularly loves stories featuring strong female characters. Although she loves female empowerment in children’s – okay, all – literature, she kind of hates the phrase “strong female characters” due to its implication that “strong” and “female” are not inherently linked, and welcomes suggested alternatives.

She holds a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, and a Bachelor of Arts in Honours English from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

For more from Laura, check out her personal blog here.


Chris Owen

Christopher Owen is a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature candidate at The University of British Columbia. Winner of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Christopher’s research focuses on the systemic power and oppression of the Secondary-Worlds of portal-quest fantasy children’s literature. But research isn’t the only thing Christopher does, he also enjoys dancing like nobody’s watching, cheering on drag queens, praying in big empty cathedrals, and daydreaming epic battle scenes to write into his novel. Christopher is the co-chair and treasurer of The Biannual University of British Columbia Graduate Student Research Conference in Children’s Literature, Media and Culture, “I Will Be Myself:” Identity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Media and Culture – to which you should seriously consider submitting an abstract for! Learn more at: blogs.ubc.ca/iwillbemyself


Guest Bloggers


Jaquelin Elliott is a PhD student at the University of Florida where she enjoys the balmy weather of her home state, especially after coping with long, snowy winters as she earned her BA at the University of Michigan. She is currently sub-concentrating in Victorian Studies and Children’s Literature and spends an awful lot of time talking about monsters and fairy tales. As an undergraduate, she earned a couple awards for her paper “The Leviathan and The Cyborg”, an analysis of the influence of Moby-Dick on sci-fi films, as well as a Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship for creative writing. Her academic interests include Neo-Victorianism, horror, postcolonial theory, queer theory, and crying about Remus Lupin.



Russell Hirsch lives in Vancouver and loves reading and writing YA fantasy fiction. He is currently in the MA Children’s Literature Program at the University of British Columbia where he mainly studies creative writing, story structure, and archetypal theories. He also enjoys making pizza boxes talk and aspires to write the world’s first Klingon picture book. You can learn more about Russell at his website: russellfhirsch.com!



Lacey Hall is a B.A. graduate of the University of the Fraser Valley and a current Master’s of Children’s Literature student at UBC. She is always seen with her nose in a children’s book and aspires to one day finish the children’s novel she has been working on for what seems like an eternity. Lacey lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her boyfriend and three cats, and is certain her Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail years ago.

57 responses to “Who We Are

  1. I was so excited to find ya’ll’s blog! I just finished an MFA in Children’s Literature! I’m stoked beyond belief to find some other people who have the same interests as me. I can’t wait to explore the blog further and read what you all have to say!

      • I know that I’ll find some things here that will interest me! I can’t wait till I have some more free time where I can go through ya’ll’s archives and read some new and older posts! Also, thank you for following my blog back. I can’t tell you how much that tickled me.

  2. This is a cool blog you have going here. I was a Creative Writing major and was going to complete my MFA then decided to get my Master’s in teaching. I like the idea of a blog from children’s/ya writers. Awesome!

    • I think that though all of us would love to be professional children’s writers, we are right now scholars of children’s literature. We study it in depth on a professional level (or we are learning to anyway.) Thank you!

  3. Hi! I’m also studying at UBC (waves!) but I’m doing an undergrad in English lit and creative writing :) Maybe I’ll see you around…? Or drop by my blog and say hi. You have my follow <3

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  5. Only just started following this blog but I’m sure I’ll love it lol I plan to start my masters in writing for children after a year away – i’m guessing from reading the bios, it’s totally going to be worth the wait!

    • Oops! Sometimes we are not the most efficient at replying to comments- sorry about that! And yes, if your program is anything like the one at UBC, expect it to be challenging and fun! :)

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  7. So happy I came across this blog. I studied literature in University and felt a little out of the loop after graduating. Thankfully I found this space because I still like to discuss all things books. Can’t wait to read more.

  8. think I just found My People! I always try to keep a look out for blogs about books and children’s lit that is something other than people reviewing for reviewing’s sake. Love the blog :)

  9. I love to read children books, and I enjoyed your introduction a lot , it’s nice finding you guys, very fun-filled page .

  10. I love reading YA/Children’s books, and also hope to get one published one day. Seems like you have a very good blog, must delve into it more. :)

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