Panel from Élise Gravel’s Learning from Garfield, 2023. Courtesy the artist

“Most writers and illustrators in Canada are invited by schools to give lectures or workshops to children,” says Élise Gravel, a children’s book author based in Quebec. “I’ve done many and my favorites are always the visits with newcomers.” In her story, Gravel describes how, in her work with newly arrived refugees, art can transcend culture and language. An author of more than 50 titles, Gravel recently found herself in the news when her 2022 book Pink, Blue, and You! Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes was banned in a number of classrooms in the US. “It doesn’t affect my work much and I’m not worried about the effect of book bans on my own life, but their effect on vulnerable communities and children is much more scary to me,” says Gravel. “It makes me want to use my voice as much as possible to let those people know that they can count me as an ally.”

Élise Gravel is one of the most popular children’s book creators in Quebec, having written and illustrated over 50 titles. In 2022, she was awarded the Vicky Metcalf Award in recognition of her lifetime achievement in children’s literature.

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