A Short Bio

Kathy has loved reading all her life but was almost thirty before she discovered she loves writing too. She has become the author of over 40 books for young people including the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin based on the imagined experience of a child hearing Joshua Bell play in a Washington metro station.

Mother, stepmother, and grandmother, Kathy is still an avid reader. When not reading or writing, she enjoys photography, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and walking her dog in the woods and fields near her home in Rockwood, Ontario.

A Longer Version

Kathy Stinson has loved reading since before she started school. She sorted mail, taught elementary school, and worked as a waitress before it occurred to her that she might like writing too.

An argument with her daughter about what the three-year-old would wear one day led to the writing of her first book, Red Is Best. It quickly became a classic and was soon followed by Big Or Little?, inspired by her son. They were two of the first picture books for toddlers published in Canada.

Kathy has since written a wide range of books: picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, stories in anthologies and magazines.

“What you read,” she says, “influences what you write. And so does the day to day life that you live.” So Kathy’s characters have biked along dirt paths, fallen in love in summer, argued and had cozy chats with parents and friends, and have sometimes had trouble sleeping. Kathy also enjoys the challenge of imagining herself into situations she herself has not lived: growing up during a 19th century smallpox epidemic (Marie-Claire); deciding as a grandparent that it’s time to learn to read (King of the Castle); being one of the children to pass through the metro station the day Joshua Bell was playing there (The Man with the Violin, which won the prestigious TD Children’s Literature Award).

Kathy has enjoyed the privilege of meeting with readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She has worked as a freelance editor for a number of writers and publishers and has served as Writer-in-Residence for several library systems in Ontario. She has also led writing workshops all across Canada and even in Africa.

An avid amateur photographer and a volunteer reader and technician at the CNIB Recording Studio, Kathy is the mother of two grown children, stepmother of two more, and the grandmother of six. She currently lives in Rockwood, Ontario with her partner, Peter Carver, and their dog Georgia.


Rockwood is on the territories of the Anishinabewaki, Haudenosaunee, Attiwonderonk, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.