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Philippa Dowding

Authors’ Booking Service is pleased to announce that author Philippa Dowding is scheduling visits in the Greater Toronto Area. She’s open to visiting other southern and central Ontario towns and cities as well, as long as there is public transit (or a good driver)!
Philippa would be delighted to visit your school or library. Her rate is $250 per session, $450 for two sessions or three for $650 + travel expenses outside GTA (for example, GO Bus and GO Train). She and her gargoyle puppet have been known to visit with entire schools (JK-6) in just a few short hours.
Philippa’s first book, The Gargoyle in My Yard, was nominated for an SYRCA Diamond Willow Award 2011. Her second book, The Gargoyle Overhead, was an OLA Silver Birch Express Nominee for 2012. Her third book, The Gargoyle at the Gates, has been nominated for the Diamond Willow, Hackmatack and Red Cedar Awards 2014, and was named a White Raven Book by the International Youth Library in Munich. The three books in Lost Gargoyle Series are set in Toronto and medieval Europe, and explore themes of homelessness, poverty, friendship, kidnap, escape and courage.

Her fourth book, The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden, will be published in January, 2014, from Dundurn Press.

Here is what Principals, Teachers and Librarians in Toronto have to say about Philippa’s school visits: 

Thank you so much for a wonderful presentation! You are very inspiring and engaging. The students loved your stories—we are new fans!” Evelyn Reiss, Principal/Teacher, The Claremont School, Toronto

Philippa read to over 100 children…her book engaged children of all ages, from kindergarten students to grade six. Our library purchased several copies, and they have been in constant circulation ever since. The grade four class enjoyed it so much, that it inspired the students to write a play which they performed at their year-end concert. I’m sure students will enjoy hearing Philippa read “The Gargoyle in My Yard” and “The Gargoyle Overhead”, in any library setting.” –Robert Aucoin, TDSB Librarian

My students were enthralled by the story, and truly enjoyed hearing Philippa read, every week. Many of the children bought the books and finished reading the stories on their own. I would highly recommend her for other classrooms. Children really enjoy the books, and the important message of tolerance and inclusion that they bring.”—Sylvain Milhomme, TDSB Teacher, grades 4/5


Published Works

The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden, forthcoming, January 2014
The Gargoyle at the Gates, Dundurn Press, 2012
The Gargoyle Overhead
,  Dundurn Press, 2010
The Gargoyle in My Yard, Dundurn Press, 2009


Awards and Nominations

For The Gargoyle at the Gates
Shortlisted for: Diamond Willow Award 2013, Hackmatack Award 2013, Red Cedar Award 2014
Named a White Raven 2013 book by the International Youth Library in Munich
Starred Review in The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens 2013
A Resource Links Best of 2012 Book

For The Gargoyle Overhead
Short-listed for the 2012 Silver Birch Express Award
Resource Links Best of 2010
A Canadian Children’s Book Club selection, 2010

For The Gargoyle in My Yard
Short-listed for the 2011 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award
A Canadian Children’s Book Centre BEST BOOK choice, 2010
Selected as a CNIB audio book
Resource Links Best of 2009

Presentation Details

Grades JK/SK: short, 10-15 minute reading from The Gargoyle in My Yard, includes a chance to meet a real gargoyle (my puppet, who isn’t too scary). We’ll talk about gargoyles, and scary things that sometimes aren’t all that scary. We’ll also talk about what it would be like to have a gargoyle in your backyard.

Grades 1, 2: @ 30-40 minutes, students get to meet my gargoyle puppet, and look at some interesting pictures about gargoyles in books and in PowerPoint images. Then they enjoy a 15-20 minute reading from book one, The Gargoyle in My Yard. I’ll end the reading with the question: just how do you get rid of a gargoyle? This opens up the floor to lots of chatter about how to deal with things we don’t like … and things we do! If there is time, I also like to talk about being a writer and ask the children: How Long Does it Take to WRITE A BOOK? Their answers help them understand the process of writing.

Grades 3-6: 45-55 minutes, split into two parts, PART 1: what’s a gargoyle? A chat about medieval times, including pictures from textbooks and PowerPoint images. Followed by a 15-minute reading from book one, The Gargoyle in My Yard, (or more if the class wishes). There is a huge interactive element, in which I ask volunteers to join me and show the class how a gargoyle might talk, walk, giggle and even pirouette! This is followed by a discussion of how to live with a gargoyle in your midst, which leads to discussion about homelessness, poverty, and friendship.  PART 2: A 15-minute reading from several short chapters from book two, The Gargoyle Overhead. A listen-and-guess section follows, with PowerPoint images. Where is the gargoyle hiding in Toronto? Top of the CN tower? Rogers stadium? At the CNE? Kids love recognizing their city in the story, and they find it interesting to imagine life without a home. If there is time, I like to ask children about their own stories, and how long they think it takes to write a book. 

I will present to:

Grades JK - 6.
I’m happiest with a group of about 40-80, but have presented to huge groups of 100, 200, 500 and more.
I will present in a classroom, library, gym, bookstore, or under a tree.
I require:
A table, a laptop, a projector and screen or appropriate surface for PowerPoint (I will bring my own memory key).