Etta Kaner (Toronto)

Award winning author of over two dozen books for children ages 5 to 12, mostly non-fiction. Etta’s rate is $250.00 for a one hour session, and $450.00 for two sessions. Travel charges waived if the venue is in the GTA. Writers' Union member.

Etta is an animated, experienced educator and presenter who enjoys interacting with children of all ages. Etta has a particular interest in animals and architecture from a unique perspective. Her short-listed 2017 Silver Birch non-fiction book Friend or Foe: the Whole Truth about Animals That People Love to Hate is a book about point of view and persuasive argument, both components of all strands of the Ontario Language curriculum.

Rats, cockroaches, leeches, snakes, vultures – these are just a few of the animals that are discussed during Etta’s interactive presentation. After presenting both the negative and then positive sides of some of these animals, students are asked for their opinion: Is the animal friend or foe?

Etta then shares the secrets of how written voice and book design are used to persuade the reader to agree with a certain perspective. She also involves the children in an activity in which partners discuss and draw the positives and negatives of having unusual pets.

Time is given for Q and A about being an author, book publishing and about Friend or Foe in particular.

This presentation is suitable for students in grades 3 to 6 in the GTA. I prefer to meet in a library or classroom with space for children to work in pairs.

Group size: two classes at one time

Materials needed: Chart paper on easel or board, marker, pencils and poster paper for students, large table to display my books, water, a chair

Expectations: teachers are expected to stay with their students during the presentation and help with pairing students for the workshop component of the presentation

Follow-up Activities: I’m happy to provide teachers with follow-up activities that develop point of view using other books and activities.

 

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Kira Vermond (Guelph)

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Guelph. Writer’s Union Member. Silver Birch (Non-fiction) nominee 2017. Kira Vermond is an award-winning author of four non-fiction children’s books and 1,500+ articles for adult and children’s magazines, newspapers and websites.

$250 for one hour-long session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. (Outside local area, multiple presentations preferred and can be shared with partnering school.) Writing workshop rate is $400 + HST for a two hours. No travel charges within the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area.

Kira received her first (friendly) rejection letter from a kids' magazine when she was 11, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to be a writer. Today, she’s a busy author, journalist and winner of last year’s Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. Her favourite part of being a writer? Talking to kids (and adults) about writing! Those who have attended her sessions have described them as, “amazing, informative, entertaining, cool, educational and fun.” She didn’t even have to pay these people (much)….

Presentation: We’re all liars! (And that’s normal) 

You were probably taught that honesty is the best policy. So why do your parents ask you to pretend you like all your birthday gifts, even Aunt Dora’s knitted dinosaur sweater? Does “being polite” mean lying? And aren’t card players encouraged to bluff when they play poker? Talk about mixed messages! This fun and thoughtful presentation will guide students (grades 4-6) through the ethically complex maze we call deception.

From the moment we jump out of bed in the morning until we climb back in at night, we’re living with so many different sneaky lies, cheats, frauds, and deceptions, we don’t even realize they’re there! We’ll cover food fraud, bogus advertising, the placebo effect, online trickery and cheating at school (plus how to stop). Finally, we’ll prove there’s a 100% accurate lie detection method (about 50% of the time).

From spaghetti farmers in Switzerland, to rattlesnakes in ball pits (eek!) and compulsive liars who just can’t stop, this interactive and fascinating session based on Half-truths and Brazen Lies will give students something to think about long after it’s over. (Honest!)

Special for Forest of Reading! As a way to celebrate reading, drawing and their book’s Silver Birch nomination, Kira Vermond and illustrator Clayton Hanmer will present together to a select number of schools in 2017! Clayton has a decade of experience “live drawing” in front of an audience. See how their engaging and hilarious rapport on the page translates to real life. Please book at least two months in advance to accommodate combined schedules. Contact for fee details.

For other presentation topics (money, bullying and cliques, why we live where we live, writing non-fiction, adult writing workshops, Q&A, etc.) please inquire using the contact form below.

Maximum number of students per session: Up to 80 students. Smaller groups (20-35) tend to work best. I’m comfortable presenting in the classroom, library, auditorium, and gymnasium. Please provide a glass of water and access to a black or white board with writing supplies. I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be present throughout presentations.

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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

Writers’ Union Member. Niagara, ON. Teacher. Nominated for a 2017 Silver Birch Nonfiction award. Grades 3 to 8. $250 for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three, $800 for four, plus travel. Happy to do multiple visits in the same school or area in a day. Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes long. Skype visits $150 (45 to 60 min).

Sue Irwin enjoys every step of the writing process. A proud Canadian and avid hockey fan, she’s especially interested in the lives of her fellow-citizens, both famous and not-yet-famous. And she loves to share newly discovered facts with kids. Her work has appeared in AppleSeeds and Highlights for Children magazines. She has also written for Reading A-Z. Safety Stars: Players who fought to make the hard-hitting game of professional hockey safer is her first book.

An elementary school teacher, Sue is comfortable doing presentations with children from JK to Grade 8, but the subject matter of her book Safety Stars is most suitable for students in Grades 5 to 8. (Resource Guide.)

Having been a fan of the sport for as long as she can remember, Sue thought she knew the game well. But as she conducted her research for the book, she was excited to learn more about the history of the game, its rules, and the competitors themselves. All of the hockey players featured in Safety Stars are Canadian citizens, and many grew up in Ontario. When Sue comes to your school, she’ll highlight the hockey heroes from your hometown, whenever possible. Prepare to be surprised by the fun facts that she’ll share!

Sue’s presentation topics include:

– how she became interested in hockey. She’ll share memories of her first (embarrassing!) game experience.

– the exciting world of nonfiction

– the process of writing for publication (includes researching, writing, and revising)

– Ha, Ha! Hockey Talk (includes hockey trivia and funny quotes from professional players)

– how students’ actions can make a difference in the lives of others

– concussion safety (includes ways to reduce injury risk, concussion symptoms, the importance of reporting injuries, and treatment of concussions)

Sue enjoys interacting with her audience, and will intersperse opportunities for Q & A throughout her presentation.

Equipment and Other Requirements

Venues: Flexible, but the library or a classroom is preferred.

 

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Nikki Tate (Victoria BC)

Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch Non-fiction. Nikki Tate is an award-winning author of more than 30 books for children and teens ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Nikki loves writing non-fiction for all ages.  Single presentation: $300.00, 2/$550.00, 3/$750.00 +HST - no maximum group size but a maximum 3-grade spread in a single session. Workshops: $250/60 minutes, max 24 student.

Nikki Tate was born in England, but spent her childhood roaming the globe. Nikki has always enjoyed both writing and telling stories, as well as camping, kayaking, climbing and horseback riding. Nikki splits her time between Vancouver Island and Canmore in the Rocky Mountains and loves to travel, particularly if she can find some rock or ice to climb or an ocean to sail.

Nikki is a dynamic presenter who is equally comfortable speaking to primary students, middle grades, teenagers, or adults. Standard presentations include: The Magic of Non-fiction; How a Book is Made; and When Fact Works as Fiction. Each is 45-60 minutes with some time at the end for questions and discussion. Where Stories Come From is a shorter presentation (30 minutes) suitable for K-2. Though there is no maximum group size, the maximum grade spread is three (e.g. one session may include classes in grade 3, 4 and 5 or 7, 8, and 9). For small groups, a table (for books and props), glass of water, and projector are needed (Nikki travels with her own laptop as well as copies of her presentations on a thumb drive). For larger groups or where acoustics are poor, she will also need a microphone.

Nikki’s writing workshops range from 60 minutes to half-, full-day and multi-session programs. Maximum group size for workshops is 24 students. Minimum age: students should be proficient in producing written work (or, scribes should be available). A white board or flip chart, projector, and table are needed for workshops. Students need pen and paper (or appropriate electronic device) with which to produce written work.

 

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Helaine Becker (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. National Bestseller. 2+time Silver Birch winner. Multi awards. K-8. Please note: Helaine is fully booked for the 2016-17 school year. Booking now for fall and spring 2017-18.

Helaine’s rate is $375 plus HST for one session, $650 for two, $850 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from Toronto.

Helaine is an experienced and passionate presenter - and so funny that she is often told she should be a stand-up comedian. She can do up to four side-splitting and inspirational presentations in the same school or area in a day. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, non-fiction and YA novels, she routinely presents to an entire school over the course of a day. She also loves speaking to adult groups and showing off her underwear (her underwear puppet, that is).
Helaine is a very versatile presenter. She adapts every presentation to the age and interest level of her audience, and will shift topics on the fly if kids seem especially keen on a particular subject. Every presentation includes both funny bits and serious bits - about the power of literacy and the importance of hard work and determination. Her goal: to make sure every kid leaves with at least one inspiring new idea.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 2: two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($375+HST) using The Haunted House That Jack Built, Little Jack Horner: Live from the Corner, Ode to Underwear and/or Juba This, Juba That (Christmas books, seasonally) + Q and A

2 to 4: 45 to 60 minutes: How and Why We Write/The Power of the Written and Spoken Word Intro plus free-wheeling Q&A, discussion/reading of assorted titles as per kids interests. (Zoobots, Dirk Daring:Secret Agent, The Insecto-Files, quiz books, and picture books may all feature; Christmas books, seasonally)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 minutes. How and Why We Write/The Power of the Written and Spoken Word Intro plus free-wheeling Q&A touching on Writing Techniques (the dreaded Rough Copy, How to Come Up with Ideas, The Power of Punctuation, Knowing Who Your Audience Is); Dealing with Rejection/disappointment, What Science Is, and Creating Humour.

(Zoobots, Dirk Daring:Secret Agent, Gottika, Trouble in the Hills, quiz books, and picture books may all feature)

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to 3. 100+ for everyone else.

Writing Workshops work best wish 16 so so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Funny Business: How to Write, Draw, Direct or Sing Seriously Funny Stuff. This session teaches tried-and-true comic techniques, plus idea development for writers (of any age)

All Venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch and coffee if she’s staying for the day. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable. A chair.

Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST, 60 minutes (may be divided) Skype

 

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