The Gift Of A New Book: A Conversation with Hilary Leung

Hilary Leung is a Toronto-based author and illustrator. When he isn’t creating picture books, he can be found at home playing with his two awesome kids. We’re so glad he took some time to tell us why he loves being an Author Champion.

Why do you work with First Book Canada?

I appreciate and support everything First Book Canada represents. Every First Book Canada event has been positively amazing. I am proud to help in any way with such a first class organization.

I personally automatically agree to anything that First Book Canada invites me to. It’s a no-brainer.

You recently did an event with grade 1 students in Toronto. What was that like?

Kids are the best, especially at this age. Six years olds are smart, honest, and pure. There is no greater joy than watching kids’ eyes light up when we gift them their books.

First Book Canada is a fantastic organization that brings books to kids that need it the most. All their events are well thought out and well organized.

What role did books play in your life when you were growing up?

Growing up, books were an escape for me. I spent all my free time at the local library or at home reading a good book. I still remember reading by flashlight under my blanket well past my bedtime.

What has been your experience with giving your book to children to take home?

It’s such a pleasure to look each kid in the eye and physically hand them my book for them to keep. Where else in the world can one experience this? I literally feel like Santa Claus or Oprah.

Thank you, Hilary, for being an Author Champion and getting books to kids!

Tom Best (left), Executive Director of First Book Canada, and Hilary Leung (right) at a Reading Celebration supported by KPMG Vaughan. October 2018.


For information on our Author Champions visit

Are you an author who has worked with First Book Canada and you want to share your experience? Contact Calyssa Erb, Communications Coordinator, at