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Kevin Sylvester


Kevin Sylvester is an award winning illustrator, writer and broadcaster. He writes everything from murder mysteries to books on financial literacy.

His Neil Flambé series is a bestseller and critical success. Book #5, Neil Flambé and the Bard’s Banquet, is the latest.

He has won the Silver Birch Award three times.

Kevin also hosts the Great Kids, Great Reads podcast and works from time to time at the CBC.

Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders was released in spring 2010. Students across Ontario picked the book as the Silver Birch winner for fiction in 2011! Book #2 Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction was released in fall 2010. It was the 2012 runner-up for the Silver Birch.

Book #3 Neil Flambé and the Crusader Curse was released in May of 2012. It was nominated for the 2013 Silver Birch Fiction Award.

Book #4 Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure was released in Fall of 2012.

Books #5 Neil Flambé and the Bard’s Banquet was released in Spring 2015.

Book #6 is due in 2016.

Super-chef Gordon Ramsay calls the series “Good Fun”. The series is published by Simon and Schuster.

The first book in Kevin’s new science-fiction series, MiNRs, will be released in Fall 2015. That's also with SandS.

Kevin won his third Silver Birch award in 2012 as the illustrator for Cathy Rondina’s Don’t Touch that Toad (Kids Can Press).

Kevin’s first picture book Splinters was published in fall 2010 by Tundra. It’s about a young girl who only wants to play hockey, but the mean coach and her daughters won’t let her. Can her fairy goaltender come to the rescue? It was chosen as a Blue Spruce Honour book in 2013.

Kevin also published many non-fiction titles.

Follow Your Money: Who Gets It, Who Spends It, Where Does It Go?
(Annick) was released in Spring 2013. The book follows the trail money takes once it leaves your pocket.

Baseballogy (Annick) was released in Spring 2015. It gives kids an inside look at the science and stats, and history, of baseball.

Showtime (Annick) was released in Spring 2013. Kevin takes a behind the scene look at the world of big theatrical events and concerts.

Game Day is a look behind the scenes at sporting events. Kevin interviewed twenty fascinating people – from Zamboni drivers to anthem singers. It was published by Annick in fall 2010.

He is also the author and illustrator of Sports Hall of Weird and Gold Medal for Weird for kids and Shadrin Has Scored for Russia for bigger kids. Gold Medal for Weird won the 2009 Silver Birch for Non-Fiction. Sports Hall was the runner-up in 2007.

He has been a broadcaster on national radio in Canada for years and years and has covered eight Olympic Games. He also produced documentaries on topics ranging from racism in hockey to the history of church bells in Canada.

He now splits his time between his attic studio in Toronto and the radio. He was named a Massey Journalism Scholar in 2007 and used the time to study theology at the University of Toronto. 

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

My grade 4-6 presentations are pretty high-energy and here’s a quick run-down of what I provide.

I usually do presentations of 45 minutes to an hour. 

I don’t do a traditional a book reading. I've been trapped in too many author readings where the author reads their book and after five seconds of that I start looking for the nearest window.

Instead, I start with a quick rundown of all my books, about a minute each and with particular focus on the Neil books.

Then I tell the kids that there's a theme that runs through all my work, which is a question of what it really means to be great at something.

Neil is a great chef, but a pretty obnoxious person... is he really great?

I illustrate this with a few stories of athletes behaving badly, then do a reading from the first Neil book - Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders.

I'm also doing live drawings this whole time, on a flip chart with lots of sharpies and paper.

Along the way I "sneak" life lessons into the presentation.

1. Learn Spanish

2. Do your laundry.

3. Be nice to people.

4. Pay attention in school, especially to history! (The books actually tie in with the curriculum in this grade range - ancient civilizations, explorers, religious divisions, etc.)

5. Learn to cook risotto.. It might help you get away with not handing in your homework.

6. Cat poop coffee is awesome.

7. When it comes to food there are two rules. 1. Don't listen to your parents and 2. Listen to your parents.

8. Mix things up... 

After I'm done with the stories and reading (and life lessons), I close the presentation with what I call my "5-second cartooning class". I show the kids everything they need to know to draw better cartoons in just 5 seconds! (There's a condensed print version of this on the website)

TECHNICAL: The ideal is a projector that I can use with my iPad. I have the adapter cords that work with most projector/computer inputs.

For smaller groups I’d also like a flip chart and lots of paper.

If the audience is 150+ I will need a microphone.

I prefer libraries to gyms and I do ask that any overhead noise (exhaust vents, fans) be turned off or else I tend to strain my voice if there’s too much room noise. (This explains the gym thing)

Presentation Length:
1 hour
Middle Grade students
Audience size:
Northern OAC WITS:
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GST applicable