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Writing to the rhythm of youth

This year, the theme of our festival is youth!

Meet our childlike authors as they share their stories. They’ll introduce you to playful characters and transport you to fantastic worlds full of tenderness, humor and friendship.

Meet authors Carine Cakpo, Guédeline Desrosiers and Marie-Denise Douyon at the Éditions Muzikiddy kiosk for book signings, readings and coloring, in Magog’s Parc de la Pointe-Merry.


Photo : Tracy Brutus

Carine Cakpo is originally from Benin. She pursued her university studies in France before settling in Quebec with her head full of dreams and projects for the academic success of young people and positive education. Upon her arrival in this beautiful land, she immediately put her pen to work for the community, as part of the team at the Maison des Enfants de l’Île de Montréal, where she responded to the letters and concerns of young people. She is a children’s author whose works stimulate children’s imagination and curiosity. A former social worker and current teacher, she has a deep understanding of young minds, enriching her stories with pedagogical nuances that invite identification.

With titles such as “Ofélie, l’otarie qui aimait les livres”, “O comme”, “La lumière invisible d’amour”, “La ferme des respectables” and “Qui crie à la ferme?”, Carine explores such varied themes as the love of books, friendship and perseverance, blending realism and fantasy. These stories are invaluable tools for promoting reading and writing among young people, in schools, families and community centers.

Ever since she was a little girl, Carine has been passionate about writing and reading. In the children’s album “Ofélie, l’otarie qui aimait les livres” and the short novel “O comme…”, the author draws inspiration from her own love of books and marine mammals. These stories put into context the importance of caring parenting, curiosity and perseverance, reflecting Carine’s belief that every child can develop a deep love of books and can make their dreams come true.

The author is also active beyond the pages of her books, taking part in writing workshops and book signings at book fairs and reading events in schools and libraries. Her passion for children’s literature and her commitment to sharing her creative process make her talks dynamic and inspiring, establishing a direct bond between her and her young listeners.

As she so often says, “Writing is about liberating ourselves with kindness, to reach the dreamed-of self, without forsaking the quality and wonder of the child within us”.

Photo : Rosanita Solon

Guédeline Desrosiers, originally from Haiti, moved to Quebec at the age of 4. Laughing, creative and brimming with imagination, her interest in writing began at an early age. Books and pencils became her secret place of escape and enchantment. At the age of 14, she won the Écriture prize in the Chronos Desjardins competition for her text “Le temps révélateur”. She later co-wrote the screenplays for 2 films: N’oublie pas que je t’aime and Bienvenue dans la famille.

A teacher by profession, the author is recognized for her pedagogical approach, her passion for writing and her social commitment to young people. Actively involved in various organizations supporting school retention, in 2021 she will publish her first children’s album, Lili Rose, La rencontre, part of a trilogy.

With childhood at the heart of her actions, the author creates authentic universes for the little ones in her works, through writings that provoke laughter, questioning and openness to others. She subtly builds bridges to unite children and adults from near and far.

The Lili Rose collection reveals a few pages from her childhood, among which we find a touch of humor reminiscent of that of the little ones she rubs shoulders with on a daily basis. Inspired by the themes in her books, Guédeline Desrosiers organizes literary and creative workshops to promote cultural diversity and literacy among children.

An ambassador for the French-speaking world, the children’s author reaches out to young people to inspire them to read, write and keep dreaming. Today, she travels to schools, libraries and book fairs to share her passion with young people. She also trains and supports teachers who want to use literature to promote cultural diversity in their communities. 

“Writing to build a world where every young person can flourish and succeed!”

Ali Hadri-Hadri Production Courtoise Mosaique Interculturelle

Marie-Denise Douyon, an artist of Haitian origin, has lived a nomadic life. She emigrated to Quebec as a political refugee in 1991. The artist’s path of exile led her to create in order to recreate herself.

“Wanting to reinvent oneself is a passage that many people go through…We all migrate internally-the journey of a lifetime is a ceaseless journey punctuated by the challenges of rebuilding, of reinventing oneself.”

Marie-Denise Douyon grew up in North Africa, studied in New York and Washington and now lives in Montreal. A fine arts graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she emigrated to Quebec as a political refugee in 1991. Resilience and optimism are at the heart of Marie-Denise Douyon’s message of hope.

The trigger for Marie-Denise Douyon to start writing was a painful incident in her late twenties. Through an arbitrary arrest in Haiti, inhumane prison conditions and violence, she discovered that creation, writing and painting were her outlet. During her incarceration, among the mostly illiterate inmates, she was assigned the role of scribe, writing love letters and missives to strangers.

Following on from her career as a painter, in 2019, a writing project seemed an obvious choice. She launched her first book: Mots imaginaires pour se recréer, published by the Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-canadienne (CIDIHCA). Through these short stories inspired by her unique migratory journey, Marie-Denise Douyon bears witness to the power of writing as a lever for reconstruction, and offers readers a moment of escape.

Photo : Michelle Sala

Barbara Sala is a self-taught artist of German origin who paints in a colorful, naive style. Her canvases are covered with characters and animals evolving in the midst of magical and mystical symbols. An avid traveler, she has lived in Switzerland, England, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, the Dominican Republic and Guyana, before emigrating with her family to Montreal, Canada, in 1974. She discovered her art in psychotherapy, only beginning to draw and paint in her late thirties.

Over the years, Barbara Sala has created over 500 paintings and participated in exhibitions in many countries, including the United States, France, Poland, Spain and Israel. She has also written and illustrated children’s stories, including “Célestine et le Géranium magique” (2002) and “Village of the Heart” (2004), published by Trafford, as well as a third entitled “Frédéric Laframboise et les abeilles” (2024), whose plates are featured in this exhibition. In 2015, in a completely different register for adults this time, she published a biographical work, illustrated in black and white, entitled “Insectual”, with Booklocker.

Still active, despite the health problems that have plagued her since 2020, Barbara Sala is working on a fourth story, creating small polychrome sculptures in her unique style, and remains active in various associations, including the Association des artistes de Lasalle and the Westmount Poetry Group.

Artistic approach

For this artist, the naive painter is at once a storyteller, a magician and a visionary. My world,” she says, “is mostly populated by animals, and places myths and tales in an ageless context. Using symbols, I often recount events of a psychological and spiritual nature, penetrating like a child into a world of innocence and wonder. My paintings take me into the past as well as the future.”