Amanda West Lewis (Perth, ON)

Writer’s Union member. Writer of YA, Middle Grade, Poetry, Picture Books, Plays, Fiction & Non-Fiction.

Amanda’s rate is $300 for 1 workshop/presentation, $500 for 2, $750 for 3, plus HST. Travel costs from Perth. Travel and accommodation costs negotiable for multiple day residencies.

Amanda combines careers as a writer, theatre director and calligrapher. Over the course of 30 years, she has combined these skills to present workshops and readings to children, youth and adults in schools and libraries across Ontario.

PRESENTATION DETAILS

Readings/Presentations: Grades 5 – 12. Audience up to 300. 50 – 60 minutes.

Workshops: Grades 1 – 12. Participants up to 30 per session. 1 – 2 hours.

READINGS/PRESENTATIONS:

 “War From Both Sides” tells the story behind the story,revealing the true events and people that inspired the novels September 17 and The Pact. Slides show the children from England and Germany that are represented in the books, illustrating the challenges faced during wartime. The focus is on an empathetic understanding of World War 2 from a child’s perspective view. Topic discussed include propaganda, indoctrination, racism, and survival. Readings from both books are followed by a Q & A.

“Jazz and The Tempest” explores the creation of a novel in verse and prose. Manuscript examples explore how sound and rhythm can reflect character and pace. Slides show historical influences and aid a discussion on research.A reading from a work-in-progress, These Are Not the Words, is followed by a Q&A.

Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible with a MAC or a computer for a memory stick.

WORKSHOPS:

“The Look and Sound of Words”:Working with sound and visual clues, and drawing on aspects of theatre improvisation, the workshop moves participants into character creation, point of view and dialogue. The workshop focuses on playing with words as the basic building blocks of writing.

“Illuminated Letters”:The workshop starts with writing exercises to create simple poems based on participants’ names. Participants are then shown how to draw Versal letters in the style of 15th Century Books of Hours. Small accordion fold books are created using the poems as text, starting each with an illuminated letter. The workshop helps to develop a love and passion for letters, combining writing skills with artwork.

“The Story Behind the Picture”: A picture can tell you a lot about a person. But it’s the writer who discovers who that person is and how they fit into a story. This workshop will use photographs and pictures to get participants creating characters and inventing unique and vibrant stories.

Workshop Equipment And Other Requirements: Students require paper and pencil/pen. Amanda will bring markers, coloured pencils, additional paper and handouts as appropriate.

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Olivia Longo – Ontario Planetarium (Toronto)

Olivia Longo. Toronto. K to 12.

Mobile Planetarium Shows:

$500 for one for up to 30 students, $650 for 2, $750 for 3, $885 for unlimited number (20-45 min sess). + HST.

 

Olivia is an accomplished outdoor stargazing and planetarium presenter with a universe of experience hosting thousands of people under the stars.
Olivia has worked at the flagship facility, The Jasper Planetarium in the Alberta Rockies, presenting popular astronomy content to visitors to Jasper Dark Sky preserve in a variety of locales (mountain tops, canyons, etc…)

An accomplished world traveler, Olivia holds an honours degree in Cognitive Science from Carleton University (which she sometimes puts to use when asked questions about our perception of the night sky and the universe overall.)

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Bernice Hune (Toronto)

Bernice Hune. Toronto.  Storytellers of Canada.  金山Gold Mountain Stories. Traditional Asian folklore & Canada’s immigrant history (FDK - 12). Per session, 80-100 students. Three Sessions $625 + travel from Toronto.

 

A seasoned performer, Bernice has presented at 1001 school and festival events, from Vancouver Island for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week Tour to Halifax for the Canadian Museum of Immigration - Pier 21, as well as at the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

Bernice shapes each presentation to the listeners. What languages are students hearing at home?  In Bernice’s childhood Toronto home, voices talked in Cantonese. Elders told enchanted fables as well as personal stories about the railway, the head tax and the struggle for the rights of full citizenship.  Her performances delight and inform audiences of all ages.

“Excellent stories - younger students appreciated the humour, enjoyed opportunities to join in on story chants and movement. Great multicultural emphasis!!” - Tamara Clark, Literacy Coordinator, Warren Park

Bernice displays an iron spike, silk cocoons, moon calendar animals, sumie brushes & other items for interactive programming. K to gr 8 guide:

    • The Magic Paint Brush & other enchanting tales for celebration
      Leung! -- chant in Chinese to wake up a wondrous creature
      12 Animal Calendar -– folklore for the lunar new year
      Li-Shi & the Mulberry Tree -- discovery & invention along the ancient silk trade route
      Ghost Train -- Canadian classic by Paul Yee, tells of building the railway with Chinese workers
      BaBa’s Blue Shirt – social justice & hidden head tax papers
      Three Generations under one Roof - heartfelt collisions

For youth and adults, Bernice tells historical stories with fictional characters that she has created, including:

  • Mr. Yip’s Laundry -- enfranchisement, a right that came with a fight for World War II veterans named Wong, Chu & Yip
    Shoes for Suyin in the Chinese Exclusion era, an opera performer with luck & pluck enters Canada

"Outstanding and thought provoking -our history of Canada includes such diversity and should be embraced. Students were completely engaged and very excited to hear the stories. "Ghost Train" gave a captivating backdrop of Canadian Chinese history during the CPR creation.  Thank you for sharing your own personal stories also!"- Jennifer Mohamed, Teacher-Librarian, Donview Middle School, Toronto

Each Session tailored to the participants.  Three Session Fee $625.

  • JK/SK                    45 min.  (about 75 students)
  • grade 1-3             55 min.  (4 classes, max. 80 )
  • grade 4-8             60 min.  (3 classes, max. 100)
  • grade 9-12 varies with venue

Solo concert, family literacy evening, workshop and guest speaking engagements available, the fee for these specialty events varies with venue.

Bernice is a storyteller, actor, radio broadcaster and arts educator. Her presentations highlight the Autumn Moon Festival, Lunar New Year & Asian Heritage month in May.

Prefers a Library setting, but adapts to any space.

Needs a table, chart board with a ledge (marker & masking tape), world map and microphone for some settings.

 

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Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

Marty Chan (Alberta). Writers Union Member. A professional liar since 1988, Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. He’s also a keynote speaker, television screenwriter, radio dramatist, and raconteur.

Marty charges $400 plus HST for one hour-long session, $600 for two presentations, and $825 for three. He charges $1,000 for a full day visit, which allows you to schedule as many sessions as you like into the regular school day. Marty’s fees cover his travel and accommodation from Alberta, and he will offset travel costs through The Writers Union of Canada’s reading program.

If you book a full-day visit and want a family literacy event on the same day, Marty will waive the costs for the evening presentation.

The son of immigrants, Marty grew up in a French-Canadian town where he was the only Chinese kid at school. Bullied and friendless, he found sanctuary in the school library where a teacher-librarian inspired this reluctant reader to fall in love with books. Using his sense of humour, Marty turned bullies into buddies and transformed his passion for literacy into a lifelong career as a writer.

A versatile presenter with a background in theatre, Marty can present to any age and any size audience. He tailors his presentations according to grade levels, creating a unique experience for each group he visits. His sessions incorporate storytelling, humour, games, stage magic, and improv that ignite a passion for literacy in audiences from age 5 to 55. Marty has presented keynote speeches for teachers and librarians, led writing workshops for adults, performed at children’s festivals, and emceed large-scale cultural events.

Venues: Marty is able to present in any venue, but he prefers the library.

Some of his sessions include:

JK to 1: For the price of one full session ($400 plus HST), Marty will deliver two 30-minute storytelling sessions featuring Chinese folktales and stage magic. He’ll also reveal the real-life cats behind his hilarious picture book, True Story. (Maximum audience: 50.)

Grades 2 – 3: With a dose of humour, Marty recounts the real-life childhood experiences that inspired The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and improvises a scene with a few students as the stars of the story. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 4 – 6: Keep the lights on for this thrilling talk about Marty’s scary series, Keepers of the Vault, which was inspired by his haunted elementary school. This session is sure to make a few kids jump out of their seats. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 7 and up: Marty reveals the research he did to write The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, a steampunk fantasy series featuring magician and escape artist Harry Houdini as the protagonist. Marty will show kids all types of shackles as well as a regulation straitjacket, from which he will attempt to escape. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Keynote sessions: Marty can present a keynote session for mixed grade levels or a family literacy night. His keynotes incorporate elements of humour, storytelling, stage magic, and inspiring stories of overcoming discrimination. (Maximum audience: 400).

Writing workshops: Want to go behind the scenes? Marty shares tips on writing thrillers, creating conflict, and crafting plays. He presents workshops for grades 3 – 12 as well as writing seminars for adults. (Maximum audience: 30.)

Virtual visits: $100 plus HST for a half-hour Skype session.

Teachers and librarians have this to say about Marty’s sessions:

“Wow! What a performance! It is hard to say who enjoyed it more, the students or the staff. We were all captivated with Marty Chan and his engaging, entertaining, and informative presentation. The students were asking for him to come visit us again minutes after the presentation ended. From the moment he began to speak, he enthralled us with details of his journey to become an author. His interactive presentation style and use of humour made his writing process come alive for the students, and murmurs of “I want to become a writer” could be heard rippling through the audience…pure gold to a teacher’s ears!” - Nikki Haight, Prince Philip Public School

“Marty engaged a very difficult group of junior high students the ENTIRE presentation. We have never had a presenter come in who was able to capture and hold their attention. This was awesome. Students were even commenting on their way out the room how amazing he was. It was so great to hear them excited about something related to learning. Students were talking about his presentation for days after. The students say he was the best author they have ever seen.” – Janet Kraft, Ralston School

Marty Chan was able to mesmerize children from kindergarten to grade three with his combination of magic, sketching, story-telling and total body language. His inclusion of Chinese folk tales was a good fit for our grade threes, as they were studying different cultures and traditions as part of the Social Studies curriculum.  In choosing children from the audience to act out his tales, the performance aspect of the Language Arts curriculum was enhanced. All the students were willingly engaged in listening, another component of the language arts curriculum. Our staff were delighted by his revision demonstration, using his “magic book”. The next day when a student was asked to add details to his story draft, he smiled and said,” Just like Marty Chan, right?” – Susan Schneider, I.F. Cox School

Equipment needs:

Marty needs a table to set his props and a glass of water. In a larger venue like the gym, Marty will need a microphone and stand as well as a projector and screen.

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Natasha Deen (AB)

Natasha Deen

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. In Canada, Natasha’s family found refuge from the political and racial violence of Guyana, South America. Her experiences as a child of two nations are the foundation for her dynamic presentations, which help students find the story and power that lives inside them. She routinely speaks to an entire school during the course of a half day, and travel costs are included in her fee. $550 + GST for half day (2 sessions, or entire school in one), $1000 + GST for a full day.

“You captured the attention of over 500 students in grades 4-8 from the moment you said your first sentence. You did not simply give a talk, but a gift, to our children.” ~ Kari-Ann Ellery, Teacher-Librarian

Natasha Deen’s books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).  Students enjoy her sessions because she makes them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.

PRESENTATIONS

"Don't split your infinitives, careful of dangling participles, i before e -- except after c, know the difference between its and it's." Writing is difficult work, and often, by the time students are done learning the mechanics and rules, they've forgotten the best part of writing: it delivers STORY and stories change the world!

Natasha's dynamic sessions celebrate the funny, sometimes sad, moments of being a kid and being part of an immigrant family. She uses her experiences to connect with students on the universal moments of growing up: feeling different, wanting friends, being bullied, and hilarious moments when the grown-ups act more like kids.

During her visit, she also talks about why Canada is the most amazing country to live in (her family moved to Canada from Guyana to escape the country’s political and racial violence), falling in love with the book she assured her mother she would hate, and her hilarious (and often, disastrous!) attempts to make friends in school. Through the presentation, she weaves in literacy tips as well as themes of inclusion, diversity, resiliency, and embracing individualism.

Students will come away with two important lessons:

  1. Writing is a way to deliver the part that's most fun: STORY
  2. In life, just as in writing, it's not about where you start, but where you end.

Natasha has specific presentations for FDK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, as well as presentations for mixed-age audiences (i.e. K-8). She is also happy to customize her presentations/workshops per your students' needs.

 

Equipment Needs:

A speaker, projector, and microphone for presentations or large rooms/audiences

Whiteboard/smartboard, projector for writing workshops

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Irene Luxbacher (Toronto)

Irene Luxbacher photoToronto ON,  Author/Illustrator, fiction and NF.  Governor General nominee, USBBY winner and Disney Adventure Awards winner.  Multi awards and nominations

$300 plus HST for 1 session.$500 for 2, $650 for 3 and $800 for 4 + travel. Fees include art supplies.

Irene has more than 17 years experience making presentations and teaching visual art to children and adults.  Her specialty is presenting for primary ages, but enjoys making presentations to all when requested. She tailor makes her presentations to compliment teacher lesson plans and current classroom topics or interest.  As the author and illustrator of both art activity books and picture books, she usually presents to 1-2 classes at one time, with groups ranging from 20-30 children.  Because Irene often brings art supplies for demonstrations and craft projects, it is preferable for classes to rotate over the course of the day if more than one presentation is requested.

Presentations by grade

Irene is easy going and flexible with her presentations. She is understanding, warm and engaging. She always makes sure students are drawn into her world of storytelling and art making. A typical presentation usually begins with a brief introduction and the reading or sharing of one of the books she’s either illustrated or written and illustrated.  After some discussion, a theme or idea is arrived at and an art demonstration or workshop follows.  Irene always tries to leave behind a class art project that will keep kids thinking about her books and leave readers with a reminder of the fun that can be had when inspiration and imagination are at play.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 2: A 10-15 minute reading of “The Imaginary Garden” by Andrew Larsen followed Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. gardens, seasons, environment, relationships), Ending with 30 minute group art activity such as a class garden mural project

2 to :4 A 20 minute reading of “Mr. Frank” followed by Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. different jobs/occupations, fashion history, relationships with elderly family members).  Presentation with students creating a miniature tailor shop of the ages using collage materials.  What time period would you create clothes for? What ages? Why?

4 to 8: A 20 minute reading of “Malaika’s Costume” by Nadia Hohn. Q&A on topics such as immigration, empathy, differing cultures/customs. Presentation ending with the creation of a carnival headpiece reflecting each students own style, interests or emotions.

7 to 12: Irene would do workshops involving students in the art of storytelling through words and images for this age group.  Simplifying text and adding visual content would be discussed and demonstrated.  Some drawing techniques would be shared and students would work on the 32 page format that most picture books come in to be completed in class or at home. Students would have a chance to look through many of Irene’s books and ask questions about the process of coming up with an idea and turning it into a book.

Professional Development Workshops:

Irene loves to involve primary teachers in art making workshops that demonstrate how to make the most of a few supplies and how to ensure a successful lesson.  Ordering art supplies can be daunting and expensive if you’re not sure where to begin. Irene will bring in basic, inexpensive tools and materials and demonstrate their many uses. Irene’s professional development workshops are fun, interactive and lively and will offer teachers valuable information.  Providing a solid foundation of simple techniques that can be applied to any topic will help teachers enjoy using visual art as a teaching and learning tool on a regular basis.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 20-30.  Workshops are ideal with 7-15 people at a time.

Classrooms or library preferred

Equipment required: A glass of water, A table to organize art supplies and books on.  Irene loves to read her books in a circle, on an open floor area with young children. A large plastic drop-sheet or two to protect desks or work areas from possible paint/glue spills.

*Irene uses art materials that are non-toxic and tools that are age/skill appropriate.

Virtual Visits: $150 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype.

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L. E. Carmichael, PhD (Trenton)

Carmichaelwp1Trenton. Writers' Union Member.  Award-winning author of 21 science books for young people.

Fees: $250 for a one-hour presentation, $400 for two hours, plus travel expenses. Contact me for full-day pricing. Fees include supplies for experiments. Skype visits also available.

Lindsey is comfortable presenting to small groups or entire gymnasiums, and loves to combine book talk with hands-on science experiments. Lindsey is also an experienced writing instructor, offering workshops for both children and adults.

Presentations:

Lindsey specializes in making science cool and accessible to kids, so she's most often invited to speak about the subjects of her books. She can also present on academic writing skills, or speak to the terror – and thrill! – of researching and writing non-fiction for kids.

Sample presentations and workshops are described below. Lindsey will create custom programs to suit your needs, but additional development fees may apply.

Grades K-3: Laura and the Locusts

In 1875, a swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts destroyed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family farm. This presentation integrates Laura’s descriptions of the swarm (On the Banks of Plum Creek) with the newest scientific information on Locust Migration. Prepare to be fascinated and creeped out all at once!

Grades 3-6: Decoding Domestication

Ever wonder where domestic animals came from? Why they look the way they look and act the way they do? Learn about a remarkable experiment that decoded domestication. Based on Lindsey's book Fox Talk, this program includes video of experimentally domesticated foxes and answers the eternal question, "What does the fox say?"

Special requirements: If a docile, kid-friendly dog is available, students can take part in a live communication experiment during the presentation.

Grades 7-12: Forensic Science: Digging Into DNA (1 hour)

Inspired by Lindsey's 2014 Lane Anderson Award-winning book Fuzzy Forensics: DNA Fingerprinting Gets Wild, this presentation explores the way scientists use DNA to solve crimes against both people and wildlife. Includes a signature "myth busting" section on TV forensics and plenty of time for questions.

Grades 7-10: Forensic Science: Finding A Match (2 hours)

A variation on Digging Into DNA, this program covers the history and science of fingerprinting – both traditional and DNA varieties. It also includes two hands-on experiments with extensions for later home or classroom use.

Special requirements: Lindsey provides most of the ingredients, but requests that schools supply mugs, paintbrushes, kettles, and newspaper.

Grades 9-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- character building
- fantasy world building
- descriptive writing
- the link between language and emotion
- research and interview skills
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

General Requirements for all presentations: Projector and screen, with computer (Lindsey's Mac does not play well with others). A table for setting up displays. For large room and groups, a microphone is required. Lindsey has a lot of food allergies and prefers to provide her own meals.

Download Writers-in-the-Schools subsidy form here: WITSApplication

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Melanie Florence (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Winner of the TD Children's Literature Award! Author of novels, non-fiction and picture books and recent winner of the Second Story Press Aboriginal Writing Contest.

Melanie’s rate is $300, two is $550, three is $800 and four is $1000, plus travel from Toronto. (No costs for travel within the GTA.)

Melanie tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Groups can choose one of her books for her to do a short reading from and she discusses her experience as a writer, what led her to become a writer and where she gets her ideas. She also talks about the process of writing … from idea to publication.

Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about what drove her to write books with Aboriginal characters and issues, such as residential schools, racism and teen pregnancy.

Melanie can also gear her presentation to discuss Aboriginal issues, such as residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Melanie’s most popular visit is a serious but enlightening history of residential schools and introduces students to what life in the residential schools was really like, which is a great addition to the Aboriginal studies curriculum.

Melanie’s books include a strong element of her Aboriginal roots and she encourages discussions and questions on Aboriginal history, residential schools, and especially diversity.

Melanie can tailor a writing workshop to your group but her favourites are Exploring Your Culture Through Writing where the group will  explore their own unique stories and The Importance of a Good First Line, where Melanie and your students will look at famous first lines and talk about what makes them strong. Using a list of strong first lines, the workshop participants will choose one to start their own story.

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 will need a projector and screen.

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Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford)

​Stratford. Writers' Union Member. Sneaky artist! TD Award​ & Vicky Metcalf Award winner. All ages.

MartheJocelynwp1

Marthe's rate is $400. for a one hour session, speaking or art instruction,  or $700. for two sessions, plus HST.  For art workshops there is also a flat fee for materials of $20. per group per session.

Travel costs from Stratford are negotiable. An overnight stay requires accommodation.

Marthe grew up in Toronto and lived in New York city for thirty years. She has published more than 35 books and has visited schools all over North America. Marthe is a versatile, congenial presenter with books for all readers - from primary grades through teens, from picture books to non-fiction and novels. She leads workshops in collage that result in triumph for every artist.

Presentation details:

Due to Marthe's wide range of books and skills, she provides several different workshops. She likes to tailor her presentations to each audience and is extremely happy to discuss the content with educators beforehand. With younger children, she reads aloud from picture books, shares many visuals through power point, and talks about how a book is made. For book talks with middle grade students and teens, Marthe can present a survey of her many books or focus on just one or two, depending on the classroom needs and interest. All presentations contain lots of images and have room for dialogue depending on audience size. Topics can include: Where ideas come from, revision, getting from the idea to  finished manuscript, doing research, and having a job that you can do in your p​a​jamas.

Sneaky Art Workshops:

Is there a sneaky artist in you? Of course there is! This workshop - for grades 3, 4, 5 , or for teachers who are nervous about teaching art - is meant to encourage a new way of approaching art. Not just making it, but sharing it with friends and strangers​ by leaving it in unexpected places.

​Marthe begins​ with a brief power point presentation of sneaky art that is already out there in the world, moves on to showing​ ​her own, and then have the kids - or grownups - ​create sneaky projects to be proud of.

Sneaky art is not: mean, defacing, ugly, hurtful, messy, or permanent.

Sneaky Art is not: graffiti or marking up someone else’s property.

Sneaky art is: funny, clever, thoughtful, temporary, subversive, playful, and surprising!

Equipment and other requirements:​

(for school & library​ visits)

Projector for Power Point presentation with a screen and adequate extension cord. (This will be confirmed with each booking).

For art workshops, each participant needs scissors, ​white​ glue ​

(not glue sticks)​, and a table or desk (ie. not the floor) to work on.

​Marthe provides​​ most collage materials, but often teachers like to arrange for supplies to be brought from home as well.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation. During art workshops, more than one extra adult should be present.

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Lorna Schultz Nicholson (AB)

 

Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. Fiction and NF. Multi nominations and awards. K-12.Adults.

$300 plus HST for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4. Travel will need to be negotiated. She always has accommodations in Toronto and Niagara. 

Lorna is a passionate, energetic and experienced presenter who will make sure that every presentation suits each group. She is the author of picture books, (Puckster is always a hit with the primary grades), middle grade fiction and non-fiction, YA fiction and reluctant readers. She loves writing about diversity. She also loves speaking to adult groups and leading writing workshops for grades 4 to adult.

Presentations by Grade: Lorna’s presentations and workshops are lively and fun and can be tailored to fit the age and the group. She can present to all age groups, is open to groups of 100 or less and is definitely open to travel. Lorna’s books deal with many aspects of the school curriculum.

K-2 - Lorna will discuss her Puckster characters (they’re all animals), and how she gets her ideas for her stories. She will work with the students on story comprehension, (and fun), by having the children pretend they are at hockey game. Using her characters, she will talk with the students about family and friend dynamics and how to resolve conflicts. She would prefer two 30 minutes story sessions for the price of one full session.

Grades 3-8 - Lorna will talk about her middle grade fiction books and her characters and their problems and relationship choices and ups and downs. We all have them, right? Then she’ll discuss the process of getting a book published. How she goes from idea to finished product, including editing and editing and editing. Yup, editing.She will encourage the students to listen to their teachers and edit their own work. Yeah!!!! A reading and Q and A will end the session.

High school classes - Lorna will engage the students by discussing Fragile Bones and how the world is full of diverse people. For this group, (depending on the size, location and if school has technical needs), she has a fun but enlightening Power Point presentation to keep the students engaged. She will also discuss how she develops a story, moves from idea to finished product and different research techniques. Students will be encouraged to rewrite their work. A reading (yes, she loves to read to high school students) and Q and A session will end the presentation.

All questions will be answered except, “How old are you?”

Writing Workshops (grades 3-12, adults) $500 for a half day (two hours). Or can be negotiated depending on group and needs.

Let’s Make a Story – Every student gets to pick a character and a setting out of a hat. Then the trade game begins. If the student wants to trade either setting or character they can, but the game is controlled and only one trade is allowed. This gets them thinking about a story to write about, and if they really do want to trade, makes their brains start working. Of course, every story also needs a problem. This workshop is hands on. If time permits the students will read their stories aloud!

Telling Tall Tales - Are you interested in true stories? Do you like reading about fascinating people? Writing non-fiction is just as creative as writing fiction. In this class you will learn how to interview, gather information and write incredible stories that will keep your reader turning the page. Be prepared to have fun writing about someone else! This is a great workshop for junior and high school students.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 50 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) Skype

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Natale Ghent (Toronto)

author photo colour Toronto, ON. Writers' Union Member. Award-winning author and illustrator. Grade 2 to adult.

Natale’s schedule is flexible and she would be thrilled to visit your school or library. Her rate is $350 per session, $600 for two, $850 for three, plus travel from Toronto.

Natale is a high-energy presenter who loves interacting with her audience, from grade 2 to adults. A middle grade and YA author and illustrator, Natale is passionate about both aspects of her craft. She also loves teaching workshops.

Natale’s PowerPoint presentations and workshops are interactive and big on fun with a focus on Q&A, themes, anecdotes, and personal stories about the book being discussed. In each session, Natale explores what it means to be a writer/illustrator—and most importantly, a human being.

Sessions are specifically geared toward the age and unique interests of each audience. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences with writing, illustrating, and the topics explored in the novels being presented.

Please contact for maximum group size for presentations.

Maximum group sizes for workshops: 16

Workshop topics:

Breaking through Writer’s Block
Fiction Investigation: Elements of Writing Fiction
Illustration Materials and Techniques
Other topics upon request

Equipment required: A microphone for larger groups, table to put things on, computer setup for PowerPoint, materials as needed, water.

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Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington)

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Burlington. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch Winner, Creative Writing Instructor  Grade 2-Adult

Her rate is $250 for solo sessions or $225 for multiple presentations + travel.

An experienced speaker and arts educator and internationally acclaimed author as well as a former magazine editor, Sylvia McNicoll teaches creative writing at the Living Arts Centre in Missisauga and has given hundreds of presentations and workshops across the country.

Sylvia has toured for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre many times and spoken at Teacher and Reading Conferences as well as Family Literacy Nights and literary festivals such as Word on the Street (Saskatoon, Vancouver and Toronto) and Telling Tales and most recently Kingston Writers’ Festival. She has also acted as a Writer in Electronic Residence (WEIR) for several school boards. Sylvia enjoys sharing her passion with all age groups; her most recent published works are targeted at junior and intermediate students.

“Sylvia’s sense of humour and extensive knowledge of the writing profession are what allow her to have a natural ability to connect and build positive rapport with the students,” says Lisa Hayes, teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School.

Involving the student, generating reading excitement and sharing writing tips, these are Sylvia’s goals. From idea to finished book, she takes her audience through her writing process as it relates to an age appropriate book, using slides and humorous anecdotes, and calling on students to demonstrate props, read scripts or participate in a writing activity, and fielding questions.

Presentation: 55 minutes.  Audience size: 60-200+.

Setup Requirement: a projector suitable for Power Point hookup, a microphone for auditorium or gym presentations.

Writing Workshops

Smaller numbers of students (20-40) work better with a minimum of 90 minutes to facilitate feedback. Creation of Dialogue, Character and Mood are three topics she addresses in these but can design a special workshop depending on the educator’s needs.

Some sample workshops she has designed:

Bring your own zombie to life: Lurching, moaning monsters are cliché.
Learn how to create an irresistible demon, vampire, ghost or zombie.

Let your characters speak: Work with a partner to write a script that gives us action, conflict and a resolution.

Blog your passion: You need to tell the world how you feel. Learn how to enchant as you rant.

Life is like a box of chocolates: What is life like for you?  Practice using the five senses to create powerful metaphors, poetry and evocative scenes of description.

Literacy Nights: These can be designed to a theme and are usually aimed at a multi generational audience. Some reading, some activity, lots of fun and laughter.

Download free Teacher's guide here: best-friends-through-eternity_guide

 

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Robert Priest (Toronto)

Robertpriest 7Toronto ON. Writers' Union Member. Poetry, song and Y/A fiction. People's Poetry Award. SOCAN airplay award. Multi-awards All ages.

$300 for one session, $550 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1000 for 4, +travel.

Robert is an experienced and entertaining poet, singer-songwriter, and Y/A novelist for all ages. His ability to do up to 4 presentations in the same school or area in the same day makes him an ideal economic choice. With his repertoire of picture books, children's songs and poems, Y/A novels and adult songs and poems he is comfortable with large groups and can do up to 4 of them a day. For smaller groups he has a variety of workshops in poetry, prose and lyric writing.

Robert is known for his energetic thoughtful and entertaining performances. Interactive songs and poems meant to engage the audience in the process are a feature. A good question and answer session is also a mainstay. Robert's most important job is to make sure to enthuse as many students as possible about writing and reading literature.

Here is an example of his themes by grade

JK to 2: two 30 min. song/poetry sessions for the price of one. ($300) using material from Day Songs Night Songs and Rosa Rose. Themes of play, cooperation, ecology and mutual respect.

2 to 4: 45 to 60 min. poetry/interactive song session plus Q&A on a variety of curriculum appropriate themes. (Rosa Rose, Day Songs Night Songs, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas plus songs from Summerlong.)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 min. Most of Robert's poetry, children's songs and Y/A novels are for this age group. Poems serious and humourous on topics of social justice, bullying, the environment, technology and fantasy. Can include some poems from his adult books as well. Robert loves to talk about the writing process and where he gets his ideas. (Rosa Rose, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas, Y/A fantasy novels The Paper Sword and Second Kiss.)

7 to 12 Robert has 3 Y/A fantasy novels, a repertoire of poetic rock songs, 2 books of Y/A poetry and selections from his 10 acclaimed books of adult poetry for this age group. Themes of literacy, war, repression, oppression, rebellion, friendship, bullying, the use of power, poetry, military force, coming-of-age and romantic love to name a few.

Maximum group sizes for presentations : one classroom for JK to 3. 100+ for other ages.
Writing workshops work best with no more than 15 participants.

Workshop topics:
Poetic animation—creating fun narratives and characters from real world objects.
How to write a line–some techniques for generating micro-poems and beginning lines of poems and/or lyrics
How to write a fantasy series—a talk with lengthy Q&A on Robert's process writing his Spell Crossed fantasy series.
Song lyric writing—strategies for developing new song lyrics or for writing lyrics to existing melodies. Robert likes to talk about writing his number 1 hit Song Instead of a Kiss and other aspects of the music business. Venues. Library preferred.

Equipment required—solid surface to display books and hold papers. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, a blackboard or other large writing surface.

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Sharon McKay (Burlington)

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Burlington, ON. Writers' Union Member. Sharon travels across Canada several times a year. Sharon E. McKay (Mick-EYE) writes fact-based fiction for young adults. Multi-awards, all ages.

Sharon is available in Ontario, January 1 to April 1, 2018. Flat fee of $900 for a full day, four sessions and includes a free (optional) brown-bag lunch for anyone interested in writing. Flat fee of $600 for an afternoon. Parents and media are welcome in all sessions.

Sharon would like to hear about your hopes for an author visit as well as the special needs of individual students. She has done two tours of Afghanistan. Sharon has had a child in the classroom who had lost a family member in Kandahar. Another student had an uncle who was severely injured. War Brothers, a novel and a graphic novel, is about child soldiers in Uganda. She has had a child soldier in a classroom. The list goes on…

In January 2008 Sharon was accepted into the Canadian Forces (War) Artists Program or CFAP. She is the first children’s writer to hold the title. In 2009 and again in 2013 she went to Afghanistan to, in the words of the program description, “capture the daily operations, personnel, and spirit of the Canadian Forces.”

The content of presentations is adaptable although all are tailored to the needs of the classroom/school.  All grades, 1 hour writing workshop. ‘Beat the Blank Page.’ Maximum group size: 45 for JK and 100, or three classes for the rest.

Length: 60 min. or one class period.
Venues: Classroom, Library, Gym and Theatre
Equipment and other requirements: To be discussed with teacher.
Notes: Students do not have to read the book in advance. Teacher’s Guide’s available for most books.

Venues: Classroom, Library and Theatre
Visits kindergarten and grade one during breaks. Fifteen minutes Focus: fun.

Grade 1-2 Read-a-loud. 30 min. Focus: Story telling vs story reading.

Grade 2-4 The Boy-Girl Challenge. 30 min. “Would a boy read a book dubbed Our Canadian Girl? Let’s vote.”
Focus: Judging a book by its cover.
End of the Line, hidden children, Amsterdam, WW2. 1939-45
Focus: Courage, loyalty, WW2.

Grade 5 -6 Charlie Wilcox, flexible time
Focus: literacy, history, role of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WW1 in changing Canadian history. Teacher’s Guide available.

Grade 7 and up, flexible time
Thunder Over Kandahar, girls in Afghanistan
Prison Boy, street kids, worldwide. (Amnesty International)
War Brothers, child soldiers worldwide
War Brothers the Graphic Novel, with Dan Lafrance
Esther, Jews in New France. Canadian history.
Whispers from the Ghetto, Hiding, Camps. With Kathy Kacer.

Virtual Visits: $150, 60 minutes, Skype.

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Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Brantford)

Brantford ON, Writers Union Member. fiction & NF, 2X Silver Birch winner. Multi awards. All ages.

$400 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + travel.

Marsha is an experienced and passionate international presenter who tailors each presentation to the group in front of her. She can do up to four presentations in the same school or area in a day. As the author of picture books, middle grade novels, narrative 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 she loves loves loves giving writing workshops.

Recently Published Works

Presentations by grade

Marsha is an extremely flexible presenter. No two groups are ever the same and no two of her presentations are ever the same. She likes to have a conversation with the audience rather than stand up there like a talking head. For most presentations, she works in why she thought kids' books were evil when she was a kid herself, and how she finally learned to read. Marsha talks about why she writes on topics that have been ignored by others and why she considers herself a librarian/detective. She also explains how she became a princess if asked.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 1: two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($400+HST) using When Mama Goes To Work.

2 to 4: 45 to 60 minutes: Storytelling session plus Q&A on topic/book of your choice. Current favourite is Adrift at Sea (plunging into the shoes of a war refugee) but she is happy to present her older books as well.  (Enough, Silver Threads, Airlift and Aram books)

4 to 8: The majority of Marsha's books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes. Includes how she transformed herself from a non-reader into a writer, how she does research, historical background on the books of your choice. Writing tips and Q&A are worked in.

Stolen Child/Making Bombs For Hitler/Underground Soldier: bullying, World War II, immigration, coming to Canada, slavery, racism. Living in the 1940s and 1950s.

Dear Canada: Prisoners in the Promised Land: WWI, WWI internment operations in Canada, Quebec, immigration, bullying, racism, living in 1914.

Last Airlift/One Step At A Time: Vietnam war, fall of Saigon, orphans, polio, hospitals, living with a disability, English as a second language, immigration, racism, living in 1975.

Adrift at Sea: Marsha can also give an age appropriate presentation/discussion on the current refugee crisis and the parallels with the 1981 Vietnamese Boat Person refugee crises.

7 to 12: Marsha has five YA novels, her Armenian Genocide trilogy, The Hunger/Nobody's Child/Daughter of War, plus a stand-alone WWII novel, Hope's War, and her brand new WWI novel, Dance of the Banished.

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

Writing Workshops work best with 16 or so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Teaching fun self-editing techniques to students in grades 4 to 12.
How to assist gifted student writers (of any age) without tearing your hair out in frustration.
Techniques for punching through writer's block.
Grade 12 Writers' Craft
personal memoir writing
Other topics upon request.

All Venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch (egg salad sandwich on brown bread) 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 screen and projector for power-point.

Virtual Visits: $150 plus HST, 30-60 minutes, Skype.

Please note: Her surname is pronounced SKRIPP-ick.

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Shane Peacock (Cobourg)

Cobourg, ON. Writers' Union Member. Fiction, Governor-General’s Award nominee, 3 x TD Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.

His fees are: $400 for one presentation to a small to medium sized audience, $550 for two presentations or one to a large audience, $750 for three presentations, and $950 for four.

Shane is the author of the critically-acclaimed, bestselling “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series and “Last Message” in the groundbreaking “Seven, the Series.” His first picture book, “The Artist and Me,” the first novel in his YA horror trilogy, “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim” and “Separated,” the prequel to the “Seven Series,” are his latest works. He is also a playwright, documentary screenwriter and journalist.

Shane has a well-known reputation as a dramatic and effective speaker, and has appeared more than a thousand times in schools, at conventions and in seminars across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. He offers upbeat presentations about why reading and writing are among the most exciting things a kid can do. They appeal to all ages and genders, though teachers say they have a particularly positive effect on boys and reluctant readers.

During his visits, he usually discusses why it took him a while to get interested in reading as a kid, how he became a writer, and the wild and crazy things about which he’s written. He shows students how to tell stories by telling a few good ones – a favorite is his account of The Great Farini’s high-wire duel with Blondin over Niagara Falls, first told in his biography of the former. He also describes how he conceived and wrote the “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series, was involved in the “Seven Series,” and created the dark novels in “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim.” He also reveals a few secrets of his trade and delivers a short, dramatic reading.

Sometimes, caught up in the strange stories he’s telling (and has told in print), Shane gives lessons in high-wire walking and sumo wrestling … believe it or not.

Though until this year his presentations have been for grades 4 to 12, beginning in early 2016 with the publication of “The Artist and Me,” he will offer a talk for Kindergarten to grade 3.

Shane also does workshops, Creative Writing seminars for high school students, and Skype presentations.

Libraries or auditoriums with theatre-like areas are the best venues, but Shane will also speak in your gym if that makes the most sense in terms of availability and audience size.

The only equipment Shane requires is a projector or Smart Board of some sort, with speakers, to which he can hook up his laptop.

There is no limit on audience size, though a single presentation to a very large audience will have a slightly higher fee.

 

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Vikki VanSickle (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Dynamic writer and publishing professional. Interactive presentations, customization available. All ages.

$300 + HST for 1 hour presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

Vikki is a dynamic and engaging presenter who mixes funny anecdotes with interactive activities to connect with audiences of all ages. She grew up in Woodstock, ON where she spent her childhood reading, figure skating, and watching the X-Files in the dark. In addition to writing, Vikki works in marketing at Penguin Random House and is an award-winning bookseller, playwright, former camp counsellor and musical theatre buff.

Presentations:

JK- Gr 2: IF I HAD A GRYPHON

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable, but when a dragon sneezes it's a fire hazard! In this presentation students are asked to consider objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in the book. Teacher's guide and printed activities available as well. A fun introduction to mythological creatures based on IF I HAD A GRYPHON, finalist for the 2017 Blue Spruce & Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award.

Works best in a classroom or library situation.

Offering two 30-35 minute presentations for hourly rate of $300 + HST. Some travel costs may apply.

Gr 4-8: THE WINNOWING- New!

This presentation focuses on Vikki's new novel, THE WINNOWING and explores the possibilities of Vikki's two favourite words, WHAT IF? Includes an introduction to alternative history and conspiracy theory.

Req: projector, surface to project onto, mic for large groups/gym presentations

GR 6-8: SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS

This presentation is built around 2015 Red Maple finalist SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS and focuses on music and culture of the 1960s. It includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project.

Req: projector, surface to project onto, mic for large groups/gym presentations

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

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David A. Poulsen (AB)

DavidPoulsenAlberta. Writers' Union Member. Fiction, Multi-award winner. Grades 1-12

$325 plus GST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + travel.

The highly entertaining David Poulson is one of Canada’s most sought-after author-presenters in schools and makes between 80 and 100 school visits per year. Because he has written picture books, middle reader and YA novels, David is comfortable and willing to present to virtually every grade (and adult audiences as well). He can do up to four presentations in the same school or area in a day and is especially excited to conduct workshops (grade four and up) and work with the school’s young and often amazingly talented young writers.

 

David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, rodeo cowboy, stage and film actor and—most of all—writer. The author of twenty-four books from picture books to adult mystery/suspense will see his YA novel Numbers re-released by Dundurn (Toronto) in the fall of 2015. Numbers was awarded the Sakura Medal (voted by English speaking high school students in Japan as their favourite novel of the year) and has been added to the new English curriculum for Grade 10 in Saskatchewan.

David’s one-hour presentations with students are high energy, informative, infused with his passion for reading and writing and, most of all, they’re fun. He begins by sharing his journey to becoming a writer; it is sometimes hilarious (“The world’s worst rejection letter” and “The scariest moment of my life” are two examples), sometimes poignant (his first successful story was inspired by the tragedy of the Battle of Dieppe), sometimes inspiring (“if I can get my picture on the back cover of a book, so can you”) and always entertaining. Next, David’s reading will focus on a recent book written for the age group to whom he is presenting and as a former actor, he admits to ‘performing’ his readings. And finally, there is David’s favourite part of the presentation—the Q and A as audience members pepper him with questions that ‘never fail to amaze and delight.’ It is an hour that student and adult audiences alike have called everything from “inspirational” to “totally a blast.”

David’s presenting requirements are minimal—a table, a stool (not a chair), water and, most importantly—coffee, a lot of coffee…

Workshops:
David’s writing workshops will give students useful, easy-to-understand strategies they can use in creating their own stories. He focuses on helping young writers create real, believable stories that include all of the elements of good story writing including (and focusing particularly on) character and setting. The workshop content is David’s response to seeing too many students’ stories that focus only on plot, as kids—surrounded by superhero films and video games--try to create an action movie on paper. The best part of the workshop is that the students not only have fun but take hold of the hints and tips David gives them and “head off in directions I hadn’t even thought of.”
For his workshops David will need a whiteboard and markers or flipchart and pens. (Oh yeah, and the coffee again!)

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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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