Ella Burakowski (Toronto)

ella-burakowskiwp1aHiddenGold_cover2.inddToronto. Writer’s Union Member.2017 Red Maple non-fiction nominee for Hidden Gold, A True Story of the Holocaust. Regular columnist for The Canadian Jewish News.

Middle grade author. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session which includes a question and answer period, is approximately 1 hour.)

Ella is a second-generation survivor, whose mother and father both suffered through the Holocaust. Ella’s mother died when she was 14 years old, before she could share her story. Ella's uncle David Gold, her mother’s brother, was able to describe their family’s terrifying struggle during the Holocaust. Ella feels that she is a unique link to the past and the future.

Ella’s presentation includes two parts.

She discusses Hidden Gold by first reviewing the basics of the Holocaust and its historical significance, then segues into how the Holocaust directly affected her family. She also describes how their affliction affected her growing up. Her presentation includes a film,in which Ella’s uncle, David Gold recounts their harrowing story of near misses with death.

The second part of the presentation reviews how Ella went about writing Hidden Gold as narrative non-fiction.She explains the different elements involved in verifying and interlacing her family’s story with historical facts and scientific data. Finally, Ella discusses the emotions of her characters, her family, as they stared death in the face repeatedly.

A question and answer period follows the 40-minute presentation.

The presentation requires audio/visual availability, either by projector, smartboard or television. Ella brings her laptop and has most cabling for connections.

The presentation can be tailored for grades 6 through high school and there is a free Study Guide available on her website, as well as on the Publisher’s website.

Ella has done presentations for children in one classroom, as well as presenting to the entire intermediate division of a school. She does presentations for adults and has spoken at libraries, book clubs, women’s groups and seniors’ residences where other Holocaust survivors were present.

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Ishta Mercurio (Brampton)

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Red Maple Non-Fiction Nominee. Writer of non-fiction science books for kids and picture books.

Fees: $200 for one one-hour presentation, $375 for two on the same day, $550 for three on the same day, $650 for a full day (four presentations). No travel costs.

Skype Visits: $75 for 1/2 an hour; $100 for one hour.

Ishta Mercurio has been an actor, an environmental activist, a behaviour therapist, and is now a children’s author of both fiction and non-fiction. The daughter of a Philippine mother and an American father, she has lived in three different countries, and brings an appreciation of diversity and sense of adventure to her writing and her presentations.

Presentations:

Everything is Connected: JK-SK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

In this presentation, Ishta uses anecdotes about her own early writing attempts, her experiments while researching her books, and her travels throughout the world to foster curiosity about the world around us, and develop the understanding that it is the connections between everything in the world that can lead to good stories. Presentations are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta expands upon the theme of finding unexpected connections, and incorporates traditional idea-generating writing and drawing exercises with improvisational theatre techniques to explore ways that an idea can grow into a story. Workshops are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Non-Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

How do we get ideas? Once we have a good idea, how do we find out more? Ishta works with children of all ages to discover how exploring the real world around us can lead to new and exciting discoveries. Workshops with Grades 7-8 include an interactive discussion about using the internet for research and how to distinguish a good, accurate source of information from a poor or inaccurate source of information.

Skype Visits: Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta offers Skype visits that cover the same ground as her presentations, but including a tour of her office and an interactive discussion about a typical day in the life of an author.

Ishta prefers to speak to groups of no more than 100 children, but she can be flexible if necessary. Writing workshops are limited to one classroom (approximately 30 children or fewer) at a time. Ishta requires a whiteboard/chalkboard or a flip chart for presentations and workshops of all sizes, and a microphone for large groups.

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Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Nominated for 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards. Writers Union member. Passionate about sparking an interest in Science. $275 for one session, $475 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four (full day). Full day price can be split between neighbouring schools. Travel fee waived for Toronto and GTA.

Simon majored in Math, Applied Math and Computer Science and later completed an MBA at York University. After retiring from a career as an Information Technology professional, one of his interests has been writing books for children. He believes that it’s important for students to be STEM-literate (Science Technology Engineering and Math). He loves to spark kids’ interest in Science.

 

Presentations

Simon’s latest book, Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas that Transformed Sports, nominated for both 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards, and is also a finalist for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2017 SB&F Prize, shows kids that basic science concepts are highly relevant to sports. He tells fascinating stories of people who came up with bright ideas which had a huge impact on various sports. For each innovation, he explains the science of why the innovation was so effective.

Some innovators were athletes, many of them quite young (the youngest was twelve!) But other backgrounds include scientists, a farmer and a security guard. The human interest in the stories is compelling and inspirational. A clear message is that being inquisitive and exploring can result in significant discoveries.

By telling the story of several innovators, a presentation can be tailored to demonstrate the widespread significance of basic scientific concepts such as:

  • Energy and the conversion between kinetic, elastic and potential energy.
  • Fluid resistance (air and water).
  • Centre of gravity.

Other themes that can be highlighted:

  • Disabled sports. The inventors of the sports wheelchair and the blade prosthetic were both young adults who were injured in sporting accidents. They were both determined not to let their injuries prevent them from active lives. They were dissatisfied with the quality of wheelchairs and prosthetic legs, respectively. And both came up with radically new inventions to meet their own needs.
  • Innovation as a result of crossing fields of expertise. Examples include using fiberglass fishing poles to develop vaulting poles; hang gliding technology for wheelchairs; aircraft technology for skis.

For all presentations it would be extremely helpful to have computer projection available to show a Powerpoint presentation and / or images and video. Simon will bring these on a USB (‘thumb’) drive.

The scientific concepts are best for grades 7 and up.

 

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Kari-Lynn Winters (St. Catharines)

St. Catharines. Writers’ Union Member. World traveling picture book and non-fiction author, storyteller, and performer

$400 plus HST for 1 session, $700 for 2, $950 for 3 and $1100 for 4, + travel.
30 min. sessions for kindergarten are $200.00 when booked with at least of one full 55 min session. Discounts when you refer/rebook.

Kari-Lynn Winters is an award-winning, children's author, playwright, presenter, and academic scholar. Twenty-five of her picture, non-fiction, and poetry books have been published or accepted for publication. She is also an experienced teacher of writing, who has taught a range of students in Canada and the United States. Kari-Lynn is currently an associate professor at Brock University.

Presentations and Workshops

LARGE GROUP PRESENTATIONS
Kari-Lynn’s tailor-made 50 min. interactive presentations are both educational and engaging. They include readings from her books, puppetry, props, games, songs, strategies for literacy and drama, visuals, audience participation, and a book signing.

She can present to large (up to 400) and small audiences, and for a range of ages (birth – grade 8, and adult).

WORKSHOPS:
Kari-Lynn also leads workshops in reading strategies, writing, publishing, drama, multi-modal literacies, or any combination.

Some workshop examples include:

HUNGRY FOR MATH
Do dragons play hockey and stomp their feet? Are shapes found in your environment? Participants use storytelling, movement, improvisation, and fingerplays to create understandings about math and poetry. (Preschool-Grade 3) (Teacher and Parent workshops also available) (60 min.)

WRITING WITH AND BEYOND WORDS
Show, don't tell. Keep the plot moving. Develop your characters. Explore the musicality of the language. These are concepts that many authors grapple with every time they write. How might authors layer these ideas in order to create a better story? In this workshop, Kari-Lynn demonstrates some of the ways you can make your writing leap, sing, and dance off the page. (Grades 4-adult) (60 min.)

KEEP THEM LAUGHING: WRITING FUNNY FICTION
Humour is a tremendous tool for writers. Skillful humour can make your stories more memorable, improve your writing, and earn you financial and personal rewards. Drawing on her own writing, as well as the writing of others, Kari-Lynn demonstrate eight concrete ways to hone your humour writing and keep them laughing. (Grades 6-Adult) (60 min.)

GETTING YOUR ACT TOGETHER
We’ve all heard the phrase, “No drama please!” But this isn’t the case with writing fiction. Drama strategies can help a writer build tension, create authentic characters, and develop better dialogue. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn page-to-stage strategies for animating and improving their writing. (Grades 1-Adult) (60 min.)

 

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Robin Stevenson (BC)

BC. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winner and GG finalist. Writing instructor and editor. Fiction and Non-fiction. All ages. Available for Toronto visits Jan 30 - Feb 4, and again in May 2017.

Robin’s rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two, $750 for three and $850 for a full-day, plus travel if applicable.

Robin is the award winning author of nineteen novels for children and
teens, as well as the non-fiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity and
Community. She is also a former social worker, a creative writing
instructor, a freelance editor, and an experienced and passionate
presenter. As the author of early chapter books, middle grade books, and
YA novels, she presents to all age levels. She especially loves giving
writing workshops.

Presentation Details- grades 4-12; 45-60 minutes

School Visits

I am available for author visits, school and library presentations, author-in-residence programs, writing workshops and conferences. My school presentations are appropriate for older elementary students (grade four and over), as well as middle school and high school students. I am also available for professional development workshops for teachers and librarians on a number of issues (Creating LGBTQ-Inclusive Schools; Supporting Queer-Straight Alliances; Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers, etc).

All presentations, workshops and programs can be tailored to the needs of the particular group.  Please contact me to discuss your group’s needs and for information about my rates and availability. I am happy to provide reference letters on request.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community (grades 4-12)

For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice, and celebrate a diverse community. The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colorful. But there is a lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it? In this engaging and interactive presentation, Robin draws on her new non-fiction book,Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community. She talks about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the challenges still faced by LGBTQ people and communities today. Using images and anecdotes from the book, Robin shares historical photographs, stories of contemporary kids and teens, and images of Pride celebrations from around the world. In this presentation, Robin emphasizes the important role of allies and the idea that we all have a part to play in making our world a better place for everyone.  This session would be a good choice for schools focussing on inclusiveness and equality, and for groups working to prevent bullying.

 Becoming a Writer: Finding & Telling Your Stories (grades 4-8; grades 9-12)

In this engaging presentation, Robin shares how she became a writer, where her ideas come from and what her creative process looks like. She discusses some of the challenges she experiences and share some tips for young writers. She also facilitates a group brainstorming exercise to illustrate how to develop a story through an understanding of its characters. Students will work together to develop a character, explore possibilities for conflict, and uncover the myriad of story possibilities that this leads to. In this session, Robin’s goals are to share her passion for the writing process and to inspire students to pursue their own creative interests.

 Creative Writing Workshops (grades 6-12; maximum 30 students):

Robin is available to facilitate hands-on creative writing workshops for small groups. Participants will explore how they can use their own experiences and curiosity to create compelling writing and convincing characters; discuss strategies for finding story ideas; develop their skills at creating complex and believable characters; and discover how well-developed characters can help uncover new story possibilities.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: Any size group. I prefer to have no more than a three-grade spread for a single presentation (eg. Grades 4-6, 6-8, 10-12).

Writing Workshops work best with small groups (maximum size 30)

All venues (classrooms, libraries, auditorium, gymnasiums etc.)

Equipment and other requirements: I like to use power point if possible– can bring my own laptop but need will need a projector and screen.

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