Member Profile

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Stephanie Simpson McLellan

Photo: JoAnne & Dennis Murphy 2020

Stephanie's first picture book, The Chicken Cat (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000), won both The Mr. Christie Award and The Ruth Schwartz Award and was a finalist for two others. Leon’s Song (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004) was a finalist for both The Blue Spruce and Chocolate Lily picture books awards. Hoogie in the Middle (Pajama Press, Spring 2013), a finalist for the Crystal Kite Award, and noted as a Canadian Children's Book Centre and Resource Links Best Book, was followed up by a companion book, Tweezle into Everything in Fall 2013. The Christmas Wind (Red Deer Press, December 2017) earned a Kirkus Star. Stephanie's debut mid grade novel, Sully Messed Up (Red Deer Press) released April 2021 and her sixth picture book, The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe (OwlKids Books, April 2021) was featured as one of School Library Journal's "10 to Note - Spring Preview 2021" and one of CBC's "65 Canadian picture books to check out in spring 2021".

From 1995-2011, Stephanie ran a mail order children’s book company, She's written several scripts for the Gemini nominated children’s television series Roll Play, volunteered as a writer/mentor for The Neighbourhood Diaries project, and wrote the children’s book reviews (and other columns) for Today’s Parent Magazine for 12 years. In January 2012 she had the privilege of interviewing Maurice Sendak for this magazine before he passed away in May.

Throughout 2015-2017, Stephanie conducted a unique literacy experiment with students from every province and territory of Canada. This project had students from JK-Grade 6 listening to a story (The Christmas Wind) in a format akin to an old, serialized radio show. Each week, for 8 weeks, an audio portion of a story was uploaded to their class webpages and they were asked to illustrate what they imagined. Because the book they drew pictures of was not yet on the shelves, the students had a clean, uninfluenced slate to start from. Fuelled by a desktop computer in Newmarket, Ontario, this project brought students back in time to when things were un-googleable, and wonder and wait weren’t foreign words. The project was profiled extensively in newspapers and on radio across the country, and was a Top 10 Idea in the 2016 CST Inspired Minds Learning Project Contest, winning $1,500.00 for The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Learn more at:

Besides being a member of The Writers’ Union, Stephanie is a member of The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, CANSCAIP and SCBWI. Her BA in English Literature is from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and her MBA from the University of Toronto. Stephanie lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


The Sorry Life of Timothy Shmoe. Toronto. OwlKids, April 2021
Sully Messed Up. Red Deer Press, April 2021
The Christmas Wind. Toronto: Red Deer Press, December 2017
Tweezle into Everything. Toronto: Pajama Press, Fall 2013
Hoogie in the Middle. Toronto: Pajama Press, April 2013
Lola the Mermaid Scripts for Roll Play Preschool Television Program (airing on Treehouse). Sinking Ship Entertainment, 2007
Audrey & George Scripts for Roll Play Preschool Television Program (airing on Treehouse). Sinking Ship Entertainment, 2006
Leon’s Song. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004.
The Chicken Cat. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000.


The Mr. Christie Award (Gold) for The Chicken Cat, 2001
The Ruth Schwartz Award (Winner) for The Chicken Cat, 2001
The Blue Spruce Award (Finalist) for The Chicken Cat, 2001
The CNIB Tiny Torgi Print-Braille Award (Finalist) for The Chicken Cat, 2001
The Blue Spruce Award (Finalist) for Leon's Song, 2006
The Chocolate Lily Award (Finalist) for Leon's Song, 2006
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

In her school presentations, Stephanie encourages children to look for and understand their own creativity by sharing the stories behind her stories and how these stories/ideas turn into books.

Ahead of each visit, Stephanie develops a class-specific webpage for each class to help students prepare to get the most out of her visit via a host of fun and interactive activities.

Because she's a member of the Writers' Union "Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools" program, a partial subsidy of presentation fees may be available. (Besides Stephanie's reading fee, travel/mileage (and accommation for visits outside of Ontario) are billed to the host school or library.)

Learn more about Stephanie’s School Visits at

Presentation Length:
60 min.
Children's Books
Audience size:
Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
$300 (Unsubsidized)
Two sessions:
$500 (Unsubsidized)
Three sessions:
$750 (Unsubsidized)
Four sessions:
$1000 (Unsubsidized)
One session:
$200 (Subsidized)
Two sessions:
$400 (Subsidized)
Three sessions:
$600 (Subsidized)
Four sessions:
$850 (Subsidized)
GST applicable