Super Spring book launches

By Yolanda T. Marshall

Nadia L. Hohn is an award-winning Canadian author and one of Canada’s most influential literary voices. Nadia is an educator who earned a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. Her picture books include the popular Malaika series – Malaika’s Costume, Malaika’s Winter Carnival, Malaika’s Surprise and the

Nadia Hohn
Photo credit Joseph Osei Bonsu

recently released Malaika, Carnival Queen. These books are exquisitely illustrated by the award-winning, Toronto-based artist, Irene Luxbacher.

In Malaika, Carnival Queen, the young girl “learns about her father, who came to Canada as a migrant farm worker when she was just a baby and who shared her love of carnival.

Malaika dreams about a man with a basket of fruit and guesses that the dream is about her father. Mummy explains that her daddy passed away long ago, and Grandma decides it’s time Malaika knew more about her father’s life. The family drives to a far-off farm where they receive a warm welcome and visit the orchard where Malaika’s father picked fruit. The farm workers tell Malaika that her daddy had always dreamed of celebrating carnival there, just like back home. Will Malaika agree to be their Carnival Queen for the harvest festival?” – Groundwood Books, May 2023.

Nadia’s book launch was celebrated at the Anansi Bookshop on May 6th where the attendees’ got their books signed and enjoyed craft with Irene. A Q&A was facilitated by author Kern Carter. I got a chance to ask Nadia a question about her delightful new book.



        What was your inspiration behind this story?


Malaika, Carnival Queen

Malaika, Carnival Queen is my fourth book in the Malaika series.  I was inspired to write it in a few ways. First, one of the themes in this book is how to cope with loss and grief.  At the time of writing the story, I was grieving the losses of loved ones who passed on.


My four Malaika books are centred around a Black Caribbean girl named Malaika.  The loss of her biological father was included in the original manuscript for Malaika’s Surprise, the third title in the series.  I received feedback about that manuscript and, as a result, I decided to move this part of the Malaika story into a fourth volume, as other sources of inspiration gave my story shape.  When I got the green light from my publisher, Groundwood Books, to publish Malaika, Carnival Queen, I was very happy with this news. Malaika, Carnival Queen is dedicated to my two late grandfathers– former migrant farm workers in the United States.  One of the main inspirations for this book was one of my grandfathers who died as a young man, while my mother was a toddler, during his time in the US, before he could return to Jamaica, hence I never met him. Another inspiration for the book was a dream that I had several years ago.  Dreams are featured in Malaika’s Costume but have an important role in Malaika, Carnival Queen.  In our Caribbean culture, dreams are very significant, so I tried to incorporate this concept into my story. Carnival, family, and migration/immigration are inspirations and threads through all the Malaika stories.”- Nadia L. Hohn

I Am Big

I Am Big

Written by esteemed award-winning storyteller, author, and the Managing Director of the Blackhurst Cultural Centre, Itah Sadu. Itah is also the co-owner of the prominent bookstore A Different Booklist, a notable home for African and Caribbean Canadian literature, located in Toronto. This book is superbly illustrated by Marley Berot, who has produced graphic designs for organizations such as the Toronto International Film Festival. She is also the owner of an online apothecary/art studio/tea shop –

In the middle of the ice, a young Black hockey player finds joy in his talent and confidence in the cheers of his family, his coach, and the other players. Their support gives him the power to face down those who see him as a threat and to focus on the thrill of the game” – Second Story Press, May 2023.

 I am looking forward to Itah Sadu’s extra special book launch which will be held on May 18th from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm at 779 Bathurst Street, (at Bloor).