In my own words
I’m a children’s author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or, as I like to think of myself, a daydreaming expert.
I'm the author of The Secret of Zoone and The Guardians of Zoone (HarperCollins Children's Books) and the Kendra Kandlestar series (Simply Read Books). I have also illustrated books for other authors.
When I’m not daydreaming myself, I teach kids how to put their own daydreaming to good use at schools and libraries, and through workshops with the Creative Writing for Children (CWC) society, which I co-founded in 2004. I am really proud of the work I do with students, helping kids from a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to tap into their creativity. It is my experience that kids are more the same than different.
I enjoy mythology, history, and the mysteries of the universe. During my free time, I'm a traveler, adventurer, and maker of dragon eggs. I especially love to visit exotic places where I can lose myself (sometimes literally!) in tombs, mazes, castles, and crypts.
I am represented by Rachel Letofsky at The CookeMcDermid Agency.
I have an official-sounding biography—just scroll on down to read it. But first, here are some . . .
Fun facts about me
I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was six years old. It was called The Farm 7720. You might assume that the title refers to a cool, sci-fi farm in the future. It does not. It refers to my phone number. Um, part of my phone number. No one is sure why.
My favorite food on planet Earth is jjajangmyeon. It’s a Chinese-Korean dish and something I discovered during one of my many trips to teach creative writing workshops in Korea. (I’ve been to Korea over twenty times!)
My favorite color is orange. Always has been, always will be. When I was sixteen, my dad made me buy a car from his friend for $200. He loved that car. I did not. Then I convinced my uncle to paint it Impact Orange, and that may be the only time I ever felt affection for a non-living thing.
My favorite book as a child was Watership Down. Actually, it still is. It’s about rabbits trying to find a new home and is written by Richard Adams. I love that book so much that I even tried to find the actual down during one of my trips to England.
My first pet was a blind chicken. Why a blind chicken? The ones that could see scampered away.
I've worked as a dragon thief. As a kid, growing up on the family farm, it was my job to collect the eggs. It was the rooster’s job to protect those eggs—which basically meant trying to peck my eyes out every morning. Chickens are basically descended from dinosaurs and dragons are basically dinosaurs with bad breath. As for eggs, well, they are golden inside, just like a dragon's treasure hoard—plus, on a farm, every one of those eggs has the potential to hatch a baby dragon. So, see? Dragon thief.
I abhor, detest, and otherwise loathe eggs. If you ever had to collect eggs (and see how they are . . . er, made), you might hate them, too.
My students call me Mr. Wiz. This is partially because I write fantasy books and partially because I spend a lot of time in Asia and when your first name is the most common last name on planet Earth, then let’s just say that it causes a lot of confusion. I get called “Mr. Lee”, “Födi”, “Edward”—everything except “Lee” or “Mr. Fodi.” Sometimes, nicknames are just better.
I am NOT Indiana Jones. I’ve visited the pyramids of Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Stonehenge in England, the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the catacombs in Paris—not to mention countless dungeons, tombs, and mazes. But I’m also clumsy, slightly claustrophobic, and scared of cockroaches. There’s one thing I AM good at when it comes to adventuring, and that’s getting lost.
My wife, son, and I are all born in the year of the dog. I really wish at least one of us was a tiger or a dragon because those are my favorite animals (I think we've already established that dragons are real).
Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert.
Growing up on a farm in British Columbia, Canada, Lee was subjected to various horrible chores such as cleaning up after chickens, pigs, geese, and younger siblings. He was often in trouble for his constant daydreaming. There was a time when his father harbored hopes that his son would take over the family business—but these aspirations came to an abrupt end when the young author accidentally plowed the tractor over his dad’s outhouse (thankfully, his dad was not inside at the time).
As a result, Lee went on to pursue his love of art, mythology, and storytelling, all of which (luckily) do not require any skill in operating heavy machinery.
He is the author of The Secret of Zoone and The Guardians of Zoone (HarperCollins Childrens Books) and The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar (Simply Read Books), which include The Box of Whispers, The Door to Unger, The Shard from Greeve, The Crack in Kazah, and The Search for Arazeen.
Lee has also illustrated several picture books for other authors, including The Chocolatier's Apprentice (a national bestseller) and I'll Follow the Moon. In 2016, he was the official illustrator for the Summer Reading Club program that was featured at libraries throughout British Columbia, Canada.
Lee is an engaging public speaker, specializing in presentations and workshops for children of all ages. He has taught programs for kids in Canada, the United States, South Korea, China, Thailand, and England. In addition, he is a co-founder of The Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), a Vancouver-based not-for-profit program in which children's authors, illustrators, and performers help kids publish their own books.
Lee studied at the University of British Columbia and has a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fine Arts. He is a member of several organizations dedicated to children's literature, including the Writers' Union of Canada and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC), and is an executive board member of the Children’s Writers & Illustrators of British Columbia (CWILL).
Lee lives in Vancouver with his wife, Marcie, and son, Hiro.