Kids Lit Quiz

a very young readerMy granddaughter will soon be celebrating her twelfth birthday. She’ll receive as a gift a copy of Alice in Wonderland printed in 1866 that has been passed down through her family for generations. Can a 12-year-old appreciate what an amazing gift this is? This one will.

Claire comes from a long line of book lovers and has been an avid reader herself since… well, since before she could read for herself the many books her parents and grandparents surrounded her with. This year she made me aware of a phenomenon that, as a writer of books for young people, I should have known about before: the Kids’ Lit Quiz.

The Kids’ Lit Quiz was started in New Zealand in 1991. It has since grown to span 9 countries on 3 continents. This year my granddaughter was on her school’s team. They made it to the Canadian finals, held in Toronto one snowy night in February. Had they won, they would have gone on to compete in the world finals in England this summer. You can bet Claire will be reading up a storm in preparation for next year’s competition! She would be anyway, even without the Kids Lit Quiz;. she’s never without a book in her hand whenever she comes to visit, and she’s often got her nose in a book when we go to her home, too. But what a great program this is, encouraging kids who love reading to read even more, and what kid, listening to the 100 questions about books at an event, wouldn’t hear something that made them think, ‘Hey, I think I’d like to read that book!’

Said one participant to Wayne Mills, the brainchild behind the program,

“The Kids’ Lit Quiz gives a chance for all the bookworms like me to shine, without having to do sports, which is mainly what my school is all about! Thank you sooooooooo much.”

Shine on, bookworms! Read on!

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Susan Flemming on March 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I love that you've had a copy of such a classic in your family for so long and that it's been passed from generation to generation!

    In the fourth grade, I was given a copy of The Borrowers as a prize for having improved the most in reading. I cherished it and It has been read and reread countless time. I still take it out and reread it. Our children read it when they were children. Now after reading your post, I'm going to make sure to save it to read to any grandchildren that come along and perhaps years and years from now, some distance great-great-great-great grandchild will hold it in their hands and read it.

  2. Kathy Stinson on March 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    A prize for the most improved in reading – what a wonderful idea.

    And The Borrowers – what a great book to give as a prize, too.

    I'm pleased that my little story about Claire and her upcoming birthday gift has inspired you to make sure your Borrowers keeps getting passed along. Like Alice, it's a book I expect will travel well through the generations.

    Happy reading, Susan, whatever you find yourself reading these days.

  3. Kate on March 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Lovely piece, Kathy… And I'm excited that we've all found out about the Kids Lit Quiz…and I wish I knew what Claire was reading in that picture of her….seems like yesterday.

  4. Kathy on March 21, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Thanks Kate. Time does fly, doesn't it? Claire was reading The Dressed Up Book in our living room in Everton. The only reason I know that is because the photo is one of a sequence I took, as she twisted and turned her body this way and that as she made her way through the pages. Hard to believe, isn't it, seeing how decorously she's sitting in this one. 🙂

  5. Tara on May 1, 2014 at 3:59 am

    My son is one of the incredibly fortunate boys who will be representing Canada in Cornwall this summer to compete in the International Finals of the Kids Lit Quiz. It really doesn't matter which team wins, as these children get to spend an amazing week with other avid readers from around the world. What a gift. The KLQ is remarkable. I hope next year more provinces will participate and more Canadian children have an opportunity to have fun doing what they love. Thanks for spreading the word!

  6. Kathy on May 1, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Congratulations to your son, Tara. What an experience he will have!

    It's wonderful how participation in Kids Lit Quiz is growing. Long may it thrive!

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