Touring In: Yukon

Craft: Author

Genre: Junior Fiction, YA Fiction, Non-Fiction

Ideal Audience Size: 25-100

Maximum Audience Size: 150

Grades: Grades 4-8

Special Equipment: Flipchart or white board with markers, laptop connected to internet, projector and speakers, if possible



Shortlisted for the 2018 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada)
Winner of the 2017 OLA Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction
Winner of the 2016 OLA Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction
Winner of the 2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada)

Presentation Information

Interactive Writing Workshop
(Based on Be a Writing Superstar)

This presentation takes children through each of the steps of creating their very own work of fiction. From brainstorming to writing to editing, every step of creating a literary masterpiece is covered … children even get to create their own physical book and learn how to plan their own book launch party! The focus of this workshop is on fun, using many of the group games and activities (including Spot the Sillies and Silly Shout-Out Storytelling) that appear in Be a Writing Superstar.

Spooky Storytelling and Ghosthunters Academy
(Based on Haunted Canada series, the Haunted series, and Summer’s End)

This presentation begins with a reading from one of the Haunted Canada books, Scholastic Canada’s bestselling and well-loved series of true Canadian ghost stories. Each province and territory is covered in the books, so no matter where I end up I’ll have local tales to terrify and delight audiences of all ages. Children will have so much fun soaking up every spooky detail that they won’t even realize they’re learning – each story is full of Canadian history, notable people and famous locations and landmarks. Each child will then be enrolled in Ghosthunters Academy and learn the tricks of the ghost-hunting trade. We’ll start by watching the short video of my night spent alone in the haunted Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and then discuss how the pros research, track and record paranormal activity. Again, the focus of this presentation will be on having fun and at the end every child will be awarded a signed certificate of achievement.

A Mix of the Above

Typically, I incorporate creative writing tips, tricks, and activities while talking about ghosts and my spookier books.

Book List

Haunted Canada 8
(Scholastic Canada, 2018)

Haunted: Fall Fright
(Scholastic Canada, 2018)

Haunted: Night of the Living Dolls
(Scholastic Canada, 2018)

Summer’s End
(Scholastic Canada, 2017)

Haunted Canada 7
(Scholastic Canada, 2017)

Haunted: The House Next Door
(Scholastic Canada, 2017)

Haunted: Kill Screen
(Scholastic Canada, 2017)

Haunted Canada 6
(Scholastic Canada, 2016)

Haunted Canada 5
(Scholastic Canada, 2015)

Haunted Canada 4
(Scholastic Canada, 2014)

Be a Writing Superstar
Written by Joel A. Sutherland
Illustrated by Patricia Storms
(Scholastic Canada, 2010)


A man of many talents, Joel A. Sutherland describes himself as “a cinephile, a dog-walking enthusiast, an avid traveller and a board game master.” But above all else, he loves to read and write.

Joel grew up in a house brimming with books. Reading was a daily and much-loved activity, and he began writing as soon as he could hold a crayon. His early tales of Bo, the baseball-playing German shepherd, are the stuff of family lore and would still be displayed on his mother’s fridge had he not rationalized that they had been there long enough. “The paper had started turning yellow,” he confesses.

As a grownup, Joel’s first novel Frozen Blood, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 2008. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Blood Lite II & III and Cemetery Dance magazine, alongside the likes of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. He is also the founder of the DarkLit Fest, a literary event that has welcomed Guests of Honour Kelley Armstrong and Joy Fielding, and is a two-time juror for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s John Spray Mystery Award and the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Taking a break from horror, Joel’s first book for Scholastic was Be a Writing Superstar, which features writing tips and interviews with many of Canada’s most well-known authors and illustrators. Joel returned to his preoccupation with all things spooky in the award-winning Haunted Canada 4 to 7, part of the popular Scholastic series. As research for the books, Joel voluntarily checked in to the Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake in the hopes of determining if the rumours of ghost appearances had any basis in truth. Joel’s latest, the horror novel Summer’s End, was released in early 2017, and the first two books in his new middle grade series, Haunted, will be released on September 1, 2017.

Joel is the Children’s & Youth Services Librarian at the Georgina Public Library and holds a Masters in Library and Information Studies from Aberystwyth University in Wales. His greatest professional satisfaction is getting the right kid’s books into the right kid’s hands. It could be that Joel’s appearance as “The Barbarian Librarian” on the Canadian edition of the hit television show Wipeout helped in this mission. But by making it all the way to the third round, he at least proved that “librarians can be just as tough and crazy as anyone else.”

Joel lives in southeastern Ontario with his family, where he is always on the lookout for ghosts.


Haunted Canada 6

  • Winner of the 2017 OLA Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction
  • Short-listed for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada), 2018

Haunted Canada 5

  • Winner of the 2016 OLA Silver Birch Award, Non-Fiction
  • Winner of the 2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada)

Haunted Canada 4

  • Winner of the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada), 2015


“Joel was a huge hit at our World Read Aloud Day assembly. He is open to new experiences (like signing about 200 autographs) and finding unique and novel ways to interact and engage students. Working together, we were able to tailor an experience that met the needs of our school. He presented, read and co-read with our students out of his book Summer’s End – and it went off without a hitch! Even though this experience was last February, students still clamour to the learning commons to read and re-read his books. His book, Haunted Canada 6, won the popular vote for in our Silver Birch non-fiction category by a resounding eighty-seven percent! I would not hesitate to have Joel back in our school, or recommend him for visit. Don’t delay! Hit the golden buzzer (I’ve been watching too much Britain’s Got Talent) and send him straight on through!” 

—Melanie Mulcaster, Teacher Librarian, Hillside Public School (Mississauga, Ontario)

“On the [Hackmatack Award] tour Joel visited six libraries in four days and his enthusiasm is boundless! He clearly enjoys writing and is excited to share that joy with others, as well as listen intently to tales of the supernatural volunteered by his audience. I watched with delight as Joel sent shivers down the spines of Salisbury middle schoolers by giving them a sneak preview of a story set in nearby Moncton! He listened intently to tales of soldier’s ghosts at the nearby Gagetown military base while visiting Oromocto, and was mobbed like a rock star by the children of Shediac. Joel has a good sense of how to stimulate his audience while keeping them attentive and well behaved. He is one of a select few writers who is both an author and a storyteller, engaging and interactive with an intuitive grasp of how to reach every child in his audience.”

—Nancy Edgar, Head of Children’s Services, Fredericton Public Library (New Brunswick)