Mary Beth Leatherdale is a seasoned veteran of children’s publishing, having written, edited, and consulted on children’s books, magazines, and educational resources for more than twenty-five years. She was a founding editor of Chirp, Canada’s first pre-school magazine, and the editor of OWL magazine. As Editorial Director at Owlkids, Mary Beth oversaw the publishing program for Chirp, chickaDEE,and OWL, as well as the development of a number of award-winning books. She was the Senior Acquisitions Editor for McGraw-Hill Ryerson’s iLit Digital Collection, developing an online bank of original works by leading Canadian authors for high school English students. Recently, she edited Legends, Icons & Rebels by Grammy-award winner Robbie Robertson and music industry veterans Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine.
Mary Beth’s interest in Indigenous issues developed early while attending Howard Harwich Moravian Public School (now called the Naahi Ridge Public School) with students from the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown. (Local legend contends that the school offered the first Native studies program in Ontario.) After completing her Honours BA in Visual Arts at The University of Western Ontario, she went on to pursue a Master of Education in the Sociology of Education, from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE). Her research focused on anti‐racist policy, delivery of anti‐racist curricula, and the impact on children’s perceptions of race and ethnicity.
Mary Beth has worked with Indigenous author Lisa Charleyboy to develop two books on Native youth and culture. Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices (2014). has won multiple awards including American Indians in Children’s Literature Best Book of 2014, 2015 USBBY Outstanding International Books Award, and Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature Book of the Year Award. Also the recipient of many awards, Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City (2015). received a starred review from School Library Journal, who called it “a refreshingly authentic, edgy, and captivating work.” Mary Beth’s latest book with Annick Press is Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees (Spring 2017).
Always happy to take a break from her desk, Mary Beth likes exploring Toronto’s wild spaces with her dog Champ and volunteering as an assistant teacher at the Evergreen Brick Works Outdoor Education Program.