We are excited to share the publication of THE INVITATION by Stacey May Fowles, illustrated by Marie Lafrance, which was released on April 4th 2023 (World Rights) from Groundwood Books!

Stacey May Fowles’ debut picture book is a whimsical, warmhearted story of how a super-special surprise can lead to anxiety — or invite imagination.

One beautiful fall day, Fern opens her mailbox and finds an envelope. After much worrying about what it could possibly contain, her friend Fawn encourages her to open it. Inside, she finds an invitation to a super-special surprise at the museum — but Fern doesn’t like surprises! 

Luckily, Fawn offers to come with her to the party. What could possibly happen, he asks. Along the way, Fern voices her worries: What if they can’t make it in time? What if they don’t know anyone there? 

Fawn playfully follows his friend’s way of thinking, while gently suggesting twists to her story and a fun new cast of characters — the chipmunk who could show them a shortcut, the grumpy bear who could clear their path, the brave dentist who might treat the bear’s toothache — until at last they arrive, and Fern is able to enjoy the wonderful surprise happening around her. 


“Visually appealing empowerment in the face of anxiety.” —Kirkus

“The coloured pencil illustrations are a whimsical delight. ” —Foreword, STARRED REVIEW

“This picture book presents a beautifully illustrated, warm-hearted tale about facing one’s fears with the help of friends.” —School Library Connection

“The detailed full-colour drawing style with pencil marks and shading, along with the exotic characters, make The Invitation a feast for the eyes.” —CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“The delicate, startling visual world … vaults Fowles’s children’s debut, a tale about real-world anxiety, into the realm of fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly

“Though anxieties are not easily chased away, The Invitation asks kids to trust in their abilities to become comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.” —Montreal Review of Books

Stacey May Fowles is an award-winning journalist, essayist, critic, and the author of five books. Her bylines include the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Reader’s Digest, Elle Canada, Toronto Life, The Walrus, The Athletic, BuzzFeed, Maisonneuve, Vice, Hazlitt, Xtra, Broadview, Cottage Life, Quill & Quire, and many others. 

Her national bestseller Baseball Life Advice, was published in Spring 2017, and was selected by the Globe and Mail, The National Post, and Maisonneuve as a best book of the year. 

A former columnist at the Globe and Mail, she writes the Book Therapy column for Open Book Ontario. Her recent anthology, Good Mom on Paper: Writers on Creativity and Motherhood (co-edited with Jen Sookfong Lee) was released spring 2022.

Stacey May Fowles is represented by Samantha Haywood.