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Nadia L. Hohn
Portrait of the author (2020)
Portrait of the author (2020)
Occupation Educator, writer
Nationality Canada
Education BA (Honour’s Psychology) University of Waterloo, BEd (Education) and MEd (Sociology and Equity Studies in Education) Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Malaika's Costume, A Likkle Miss Lou

Nadia L. Hohn is a Canadian educator and children's book author. She has earned critical acclaim for her books for young readers, including her debut picture book, Malaika's Costume.

Biography

Born in Canada to Jamaican immigrant parents, Hohn grew up and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she is an elementary school teacher. At age 6, she began writing and illustrating her own books. As a high school student, she wrote for her school paper, and later began contributing to university and community newspapers. At age 20, she obtained an internship in New York City, writing articles for Psychology Today.

In 2001, Hohn founded and organized the first ICED IN BLACK: Canadian Black Experiences on Film, film festival. This festival focussed on films by and/or about Black Canadians. She turned this event into an annual nationally touring festival which went to 7 cities in 2002 and by 2003, its final year, 9 cities (Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria). Hohn worked and volunteered with other film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), TIFF Kids (formerly Sprockets Film Festival), and Get Reel Film Festival.

In 2009, Hohn became one of the inaugural teachers at the Africentric Alternative School in Toronto. This was Canada’s first publicly-funded school of its kind.

In 2010, Hohn enrolled in a course on writing for children at George Brown College in Toronto, where she wrote a first draft of Malaika's Costume. Later that year, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, an experience she has said spurred her ambition to have her writing published. Her first two books, Music and Media, were published by Rubicon as part of its Sankofa Series in 2015.

Hohn's debut picture book, Malaika's Costume, was published in 2016. The book, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, tells the story of a young girl preparing to celebrate Carnival in the Caribbean, while her mother is away working in Canada. The manuscript for Malaika's Costume won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children's Story Award, which recognizes diversity in children's literature. The book also earned an Honourable Mention at the 2017 Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, from the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs.

In a follow up, Malaika's Winter Carnival, the protagonist adapts to a new life in Canada. A Kirkus review of the book wrote that Hohn "contrasts Caribbean and Canadian cultures tenderly, with deep understanding of both".

From 2016 to 2017, Hohn went to teach in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and travel. During this time, she worked on drafts of Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighter, an early reader published by Harper Collins Children's Books in 2018.

In 2019, Hohn's picture book biography of Jamaican poet Louise Bennett Coverley, A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice, was published by Owlkids. It was named one of the best Canadian children's books of 2019 by CBC Books.

Nadia L. Hohn instructs Writing for Children’s course at the University of Toronto School for Continuing Studies (UTSCS). Hohn has presented at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, and bookstores in Jamaica, Trinidad, UAE, UK, US, and across Canada.

Works

Fiction

  • Malaika's Costume (2016), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher -
  • Malaika's Winter Carnival (2017), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher -
  • Malaika's Surprise (2021), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

Non-Fiction

  • contribution in T DOT GRIOTS: An Anthology of Toronto's Black Storytellers (2004),
  • Music (2015),
  • Media (2015),
  • Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter (2018), illustrated by Gustavo Mazali -
  • A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice (2019), illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes -
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