“Small Print is a rare phenomenon. The organizers love children. They love books. And they love bringing the two together, while encouraging young people to tell their own stories. That they do it all as a labour of love makes it even more impressive. What a glorious contribution these festivities are making!”
– Dennis Lee, Author of Alligator Pie and, more recently, Melvis and Elvis
“There isn’t an author alive who doesn’t have a story about being encouraged to write by someone who mattered. That’s what Small Print Toronto is about. The organization stages interactive literary programs to inspire kids to discover how stories work.” NOW Magazine
“I’m not even a kid, but my excitement about Small Print shenanigans is barely containable! Nobody slides into the mindset of the under twelve set more easily than co-founders Chris Reed and Lauren Stewart. They bring children’s literature to life through playful, inspiring, and creativity-provoking programs and events. The Canadian publishing industry would be healthier and more vibrant if there were more monkeys like them jumping on the bed.”
– Emily Pohl-Weary, Founding Director, Parkdale/Toronto Street Writers and Co-Founder, Academy of the Impossible, author of Not Your Ordinary Wolfgirl
WHAT WE DO
Small Print Toronto is a non-profit organization that stages interactive literary programs for children between 2-12 years old.
All of our writing workshops and author showcases are designed to inspire kids 2-12 to explore a vital question: How do stories work? Learning to tell one’s own story and to understand those of others builds self-confidence and develops intellectual curiosity.
Our programming cultivates an ongoing dialogue between professional creators and their primary audience that invites young people to participate in the diverse imaginative landscape of their city.
Toronto is a hub of stories; we empower young people to contribute theirs.
Chris Reed founded Small Print Toronto in 2008, while running This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS) for Pages Books. Operating as “TINARS For Tots,” the literary events for children program quickly earned a loyal audience. When Pages closed in 2009, Reed took what he’d accomplished with many of Toronto’s top kid-lit authors, artists and publishers, and formed a brand new entity: Small Print Toronto.
Small Print Toronto was designed as an open-ended, collective exploration of stories and the art of storytelling for children aged 2-12. During our first few years, our programming focus shifted away from providing author showcases, and, towards facilitating an ongoing, mutually-enriching conversation between authors and children. An emphasis on creative dialogue and interactivity is now a hallmark of our literary events for kids.
More recently, we’ve offered workshops that explore different ways of telling a story: notably, rap-poetry (in our Rhyme Stew Crew project), murder mystery-scavenger hunts (Cracking The Case), social mapping (Block Letters), comic books (CAKE – Comic Arts for Kids Expo), fractured fairy tales-mock court trials (Grimm Justice), and city-building (Mouse City). We’ve also partnered with The Luminato Festival and Children of Hope Uganda on months-long workshop projects which end with participants receiving a copy of a book that they helped create.
Our wide-ranging activities are anchored by annual events. Every February, the 2-7 set can rock out to indie bands and picture book authors at Totsapalooza. Each October brings Toronto Roald Dahl Day, where writers 8-12 can compose a Toronto-based variation on a novel by the influential author Roald Dahl. These yearly gatherings give us a chance to continually refine and expand our signature offerings.
Small Print Toronto has evolved over the past eight years into a registered non-profit organization, comprised of arts administrators, artists, authors educators and cultural programmers. Each lends their time and talents to our project of inspiring kids across the GTA to give voice to, share, and embrace their own stories.