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.
My middle-grade books include Spell Sweeper, The Secret of Zoone, The Guardians of Zoone and the Kendra Kandlestar series. I have also illustrated picture books for other authors and served as the official illustrator for the BC Library Summer Reading Club.
When I’m not daydreaming myself, I teach kids how to put their own daydreaming skills to use at schools, libraries, and festivals—and through workshops with the Creative Writing for Children (CWC) society, which I co-founded in 2004. I belong to many organizations dedicated to children’s literature and am proud to have served on the peer assessment committee for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.
I spent my formative elementary school years in a gifted learning program, and I think that played a huge role in turning me into the writer and educator I am today (thank you, Mrs. Clough!).
Things I love? 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 live with my wife and son in North Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Fun facts about me
I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was eight years old. It was called The Farm 7720. You might assume that the title refers to a cool, sci-fi farm in the future. You would be wrong. 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.
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 a color called 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. I was too young for me to remember it now, but, apparently, I used to pull it around in a wagon.
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 such a common last name, 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 easier.
I am NOT Indiana Jones. I’ve visited the 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.
He is the author of Spell Sweeper, The Secret of Zoone and The Guardians of Zoone (HarperCollins Childrens Books) and The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar (Simply Read Books).
He has also illustrated several picture books for other authors, including The Chocolatier’s Apprentice (a national bestseller) and I’ll Follow the Moon. He served as the official illustrator for the BC Library Summer Reading Club.
As a child, Lee was in an intensive gifted learning program, a foundational experience that he brings to the classroom. He is a funny and gifted storyteller, and has delivered presentations, craft workshops, and residencies to 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 where 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). He has also served on the peer assessment committee for Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.
Lee lives in North Vancouver with his wife and son. He is grateful to write, learn, and grow on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.