Available for virtual visits in : British Columbia, Ontario & the Yukon

Home Province: Alberta

Craft: Author

Genre: Middle Grade/Teen Fiction

Target Audience: Ages 8 -14

Cost for School and Public Virtual Presentation with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes



Virtual Writing Workshop Information:

HULLABALOO at Spafford-Fitz Zoo (For grades 3-5) Congratulations, students, on your new fantasy career: Zookeeper at Spafford-Fitz Zoo! Using Karen’s story prompts and the roll of a dice, you will create your own imaginary animal. What unique characteristics does your beastie friend have? And what mayhem follows when your new creature ESCAPES FROM THE ZOO? There will be much ado at Spafford-Fitz Zoo… Everyone is invited to bring their inner zookeeper and wild sense of imagination as we write a high-stakes adventure story. This pursuit could lead us all across town! Required materials:

  • a print-out of the Hullabaloo Planning Sheet (one per student);
  • a dice (one per student).


Show Me Some Emotion! (For grades 6+) Want to write high-stakes stories that grab readers by the heart and the throat and won’t let them go? Then think emotion! Whether you’re into fantasy, mystery, contemporary-problem stories or other genres, prepare to create an intriguing, relatable protagonist. Then, through discussion, fun writing exercises, and Karen’s original role-playing game called “Poor Emotional Me!”, draw your readers along for a thrilling journey that’s jam-packed with powerful emotions… fear, rage, shock, or Karen’s personal favourite: betrayal. Your readers will experience suppressed rage, ache for friendship and acceptance, or recoil from the sting of injustice as we test your character’s limits. Now let’s buckle up, get emotional, and jump into that writing journey together!

Book List

Pickpocket (Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2021)

Volleyball Vibe (Toronto: Lorimer, 2020)

Taking the Lead (Toronto: Lorimer, 2019)

Unity Club (Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2018)

Push Back (Toronto: Lorimer, 2018)

Saving Grad (Toronto: Lorimer, 2017)

Vanish (Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2013)

Dog Walker (Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 2006)


A former elementary and junior-high teacher, KAREN SPAFFORD-FITZ  writes with the heart of an educator. She is the author of eight middle grade and young adult titles which have been named among “The Year’s Best Books” by CCBC and RESOURCE LINKS JOURNAL. They often feature contemporary issues such as family dysfunction, social responsibility and personal growth through sports. Karen’s recent MG book, VOLLEYBALL VIBE (Lorimer: 2020), was among the TD Summer Reading Club. Her latest YA book, PICKPOCKET (Orca: 2021), was listed for the American Library in Paris Book Awards for a title that deepens and stimulates an understanding of France and the French. Karen is also an experienced touring author and an animated, sought-out presenter for sessions about family literacy, fiction for young people and writing workshops for various ages. Karen recently finished her term as Featured Writer for Edmonton Public Library’s Capital City Press, and was a proud Alberta rep for “I Read Canadian: Now More Than Ever” in February 2021. When she is not speaking to students or writing in her Edmonton studio, Karen is often running in the river valley with her rambunctious pup, Bowie, who truly believes he is a rockstar.