By (author): Philippa Dowding


Philippa Dowding

Philippa Dowding’s most recent book, Firefly, won the 2021 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature, and her previous book, Oculum, was a finalist for the Diamond Willow Award and the Forest of Reading Silver Birch Award. She lived on a glacier for one summer in university, and was inspired to write environmental dystopia/cli-fi when she visited it thirty years later and was shocked by how much it had melted. Dowding lives in Toronto, ON.


– CanLit for Little Canadian

– CanLit for LittleCanadians

– Storytime with Stephanie

“Firefly was an enjoyable read filled with interesting characters, emotional moments, and mental health awareness and education. A realistic book that youth may easily relate to. Highly Recommended”
– CM Magazine

“I believe the author provides readers who have had a hard life some comfort in knowing that others go through troubled times too and gives others a glimpse into harsh realities that some kids endure. The book is enlightening and invokes empathy in the reader.”
– American Mensa

“In Firefly, Philippa Dowding presents serious topics such as homelessness and mental health in a way that fosters the readers’ compassion for the dramatis personae, thus allowing them to develop sympathy for the characters that are often vilified. The novel would be useful as a natural segue to the mental health literacy component of the curriculum for senior elementary students.”
– Canadian Children’s Book News

“The appeal of Firefly, like so much of Dowding’s work, isn’t limited to young readers. Her nuanced depiction of trauma, the search for identity, and the desire to define what ‘family’ means will resonate with readers of all ages.”
– Open Book

“With poetic prose, a memorable character and evocative settings, Philippa Dowding deftly handles challenging subjects in this emotionally honest story. Supported by a unique cast of characters, Firefly will shine for readers and resonate long after they close this quietly powerful book.”
“Firefly is a not to be missed book and I can see why it has received the accolades that it has this year. So many readers will see glimpses of their own lives and their own feelings of otherness and will connect with Firefly in a deep and meaningful way.”
– Storytime with Stephanie

“It’s a powerful book with engaging characters. It helps one discover who family is. It’s a book with a real heart and something that young readers are really going to be taken by.”
– Children’s Book Panel, The Next Chapter

“Firefly is a great character and one that readers will absolutely root for – and learn about resilience from.”
– Larry, Educational Consultant

“This award-winning book is a poignant exploration of grief that touches on many heavy topics, but with a light touch that leaves readers feeling hopeful and more conscious of the fact that there is often so much more going on in people’s minds and hearts and lives than what we see on the surface. The characters are deftly-drawn, the setting is unique and Firefly’s story is moving and thought-provoking.”
– Canadian Children’s Book Centre March 2022 newsletter

“We wish we could meet these characters in real life! We love how the staff at the magical costume shop became a family for Firefly, and how every character evolved and grew — even the cat! Firefly is so relatable, with very human flaws, and we want to see her again in another story.”


  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People’s Literature – Text 2021, Winner
  • Forest of Reading – Red Maple Award 2022, Nominated
  • OLA Best Bets 2021, Commended
  • Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award 2022, Winner
  • MYRCA Northern Lights Award 2023, Nominated
  • IODE Violet Downey Book Award 2022, Short-listed
  • Rocky Mountain Book Award 2023, Nominated
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    216 Pages


    February 06, 2021


    Cormorant Books



    9781770865990 – EPUB


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