oppelAs a kid I was nerdy, had braces, loved and lived and breathed Star Wars for five years, then became obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons — I painted miniatures,  read Dragon magazines (sent them stories and articles they always rejected). Then I got obsessed with video games, especially Asteroids and DigDug. I just bought the DigDug app last week, but my playing is pretty rusty. I wrote my first published book in high school, and have been writing ever since. My latest books are The Boundless, and The Nest.

Visit www.kennethoppel.ca

2016 Workshop: INSIDE THE NEST

When a mysterious wasp queen invades Steve’s dreams, offering to “fix” his sick newborn baby brother, all Steve has to do is say “yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? Using Powerpoint and short readings, I will introduce readers to the strange ingredients that inspired my latest  novel The Nest (October 2015, Simon and Schuster, illustrated by  Jon  Klassen). This novel explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. I also talk about my creative process, from brainstorming, outlining, and successive drafts to finished book.

Featured books:


by Kenneth Oppel

In this intriguing tale, teenager Matt is a cabin boy on the airship, Aurora. One day on one of his flights, Matt meets a mysterious balloonist who speaks of ethereal creatures drifting through the sky. Initially, Matt thinks the old man is crazy, but a year later, when the balloonist's granddaughter, Kate, boards the Aurora to investigate these mysterious air creatures, Matt starts to believe. (gr 6-9)

The Boundless

by Kenneth Oppel

Mirroring a slice of actual railway history, the Boundless is a train of epic proportion, an eccentric visionary’s dream made real by the sweat and lives of many. Will Everett, a young man who yearns for adventure, finding it when he participates in securing the final spike of the Boundless’ tracks and years later on her inaugural voyage. Will’s family has gone from rags to riches, and he is responsible for keeping a special boxcar’s treasures safe from thieves who will stop at nothing—even murder. (gr 5-8)

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1)

by Kenneth Oppel

When Konrad Frankenstein, the beloved twin brother of headstrong, quick‐tempered Victor, falls inexplicably and deathly ill, Victor embarks on a dark quest to find a cure. Enlisting the help of his cousin/adopted sister, Elizabeth, and his best friend, Henry Clerval, he seeks a disreputable alchemist named Polidori who sends them to retrieve the ingredients for a potion that will supposedly restore Konrad's health. However, the potion also has a history of killing those who drink it. Despite the ambiguous nature of the remedy, Victor feverishly follows his course, pulling himself, Henry, and Elizabeth into greater danger with each relentless step. (gr 7 and up)

Darkwing (Prequel to Silverwing)

by Kenneth Oppel

Sixty-five million years ago, in the early Paleocene epoch when dinosaurs are dying and the mammal population is growing, a mutant named Dusk is born. Dusk and his family are chiropters, early ancestors of bats, which can glide from tree to tree but not fly. Dusk, however, has the ability to fly and see at night through echolocation. When dangerous, cat-like predators arrive at the island with the infamous hunter Carnassial, Dusk must use his night vision skills to guide his chiropter colony to safety. Kliatt says, “This exciting fantasy convincingly brings to life a long-ago world at a time of rapid change.” (gr 5-8)

Half Brother

by Kenneth Oppel

All happy families are alike. Ben Tomlin's unhappy family is unhappy in a very different way. For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his scientist parents bring home Zan‐‐an eight‐day‐old chimpanzee. Ben's parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Before long, Ben is Zan's favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. (gr 7-11)

The Klack Bros. Museum

by Kenneth Oppel

A train gets waylaid in the middle of nowhere, and Luke and his dad find themselves with four hours to kill before it's fixed. Just enough time for a trip to the mysterious, decrepit old museum on the edge of town. A short story from Guys Read: Other Worlds, edited by Jon Scieszka. (gr 3-6)

The Nest

by Kenneth Oppel

Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? When a mysterious wasp queen invades Steve’s dreams, offering to “fix” his sick newborn baby brother, all Steve has to do is say “yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? (gr 4-8)


Silverwing (Silverwing #1)

by Kenneth Oppel

Shade is a young silverwing bat, the runt of his colony, and he’s determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum. But when a fierce storm separates Shade from his colony, he soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life—and that journey is just the beginning of an epic trilogy of adventure, wonder, and suspense. (gr 5-9)


by Kenneth Oppel

A legendary ghost ship. An incredible treasure. A death‐defying adventure. Forty years ago, the airship Hyperion vanished. Now, accompanied by heiress Kate de Vries and a mysterious gypsy, Matt Cruse is determined to recover the ship and its treasures. Matt and his companions soon find themselves fighting not only for the Hyperion—but for their very lives. (gr 6-10)

Such Wicked Intent (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #2)

by Kenneth Oppel

When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen‐year‐old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed. (gr 7 and up)

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