Member Profile

Please note: All profiles are member-generated.

Karen Patkau

Karen Patkau

Karen Patkau was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her mother wrote a telling note on a photo of her at 10 months old, – “Here is Karen looking at a book. She enjoys books, especially those with animals in them.” Karen started drawing at the age of three. In public school she was known as the “class artist.” She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree, and became interested in visual storytelling while studying for her Master of Visual Arts degree at the University of Alberta. Today, Karen lives in Toronto. She has been writing and illustrating for many years. Her work appears in children’s picture books, educational publications, posters,  advertisements, magazines, package designs, greeting cards and art exhibitions.

Nonfiction Picture Books
I write professionally in the following language(s):
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

Karen Patkau (pronounced “PAT-co”) shares two passions in her presentations. One is her love of nature. The other is the art of the picture book. Karen aims to educate and entertain, as well as to give children and teachers insight into the creative process. She would love to come to your school or library. For more information about her visits or to buy books contact Karen.


1. RETELLING / DRAWING ACTIVITY – JK to Grade 1 with Reading Buddies
This session includes a reading of One Hungry Heron and a retelling/drawing activity that incorporates math, language and visual art.

2. WHO NEEDS AN ECOSYSTEM? – PowerPoint Presentation for Grades 2 to 5
This session includes a presentation based on Karen’s Ecosystem Series: Who Needs a SWAMP?, Who Needs an ICEBERG?, Who Needs a JUNGLE?, Who Needs a DESERT?, Who Needs a PRAIRIE? and Who Needs a REEF? plus an optional Ecosystem Survival Game.

3. HOW A PICTURE BOOK IS MADE – PowerPoint Presentation for Grades 3 to 6
This session includes a presentation about the picture book illustration process and a drawing activity.


• Karen can present in a classroom, library, auditorium or gymnasium.
• Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes in length.
• PowerPoint presentations for Grades 2 to 6 are on a USB Flash Drive.
• A computer, digital projector, screen, display table and chair are required for PowerPoint presentations.
• Presentations to Grades JK to 1 are without AV equipment. Chartpaper, a stand and a wall to tape up drawings are required. Students require copies of handouts, drawing materials, tables and chairs.
• Karen has her own voice amplifier for small rooms, but prefers a microphone for large venues.
• A ten-minute alert before the end of a session is requested.

Presentation Length:
45 to 60 minutes
Information Picturebooks
K to 6
Audience Size:
maximum 80
Workshop Description:

Equity Initiative

As part of the Union’s Equity Implementation Plan, we are committed to increasing awareness of authors who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQI2S, or living with a disability. This author identifies as:

  • Living with a disability