Natasha Deen (AB)

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. $500 + GST for half day, $700 + GST for a full day. Writers' Union Member.

“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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Mike Deas (Salt Spring Island, BC)

Silver Birch Express Nominee. Mike Deas is an author/illustrator of graphic novels. Writers' Union member. Available May 15-19, 2017. His rate is $275 for one session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $950 for four plus travel from downtown Toronto.

Mike has illustrated over 14 Graphic Novels and books for young readers including Tank and Fizz and the Graphic Guide Adventure series. His passion for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Mike also works as a concept artist in the Video Game industry.

Mike’s presentation for grades 3-8 takes the audience through the production of his work (from doodles to publication), he provides drawing advice, tips on story development and hands on artistic demonstrations.

Through humor, Mike offers an inspirational glimpse into the creation of a graphic novel and the ongoing journey of education, trial and error, and experience in the world of illustration. Mike does an interactive multimedia presentation which details a step by step description of Liam O’Donnell and his joint process creating the Tank and Fizz series including; story, character design, thumbnail sketches, pencils, inks, color and finally publication. Several live drawing demonstrations with audience participation highlight the power of visual story telling and an open imagination.

His interactive presentation encourages literature through the Graphic Novel medium to even the most reluctant readers. The one hour (flexible) presentation includes time for questions and answers.

Set up Requirements: projector (to connect to a PC laptop), screen, easel or flipchart for drawing demonstrations and table to display books.

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Ishta Mercurio (Brampton)

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Writers' Union Member. 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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Ellen Schwartz (Burnaby, BC)

Ellen Schwartz. Burnaby, BC. Writers’ Union member. Silver Birch Fiction nominee. $275 plus GST for one session, $500 for two, $750 for three. Ellen prefers to do a maximum of three readings per day. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools. For the GTA, Ellen can travel by GO train or subway but needs pick-up and drop-off at GO stations.

Ellen is an award-winning author of picture books, middle-grade and young adult fiction; and creative writing teacher. She never dreamed of becoming a writer (she wanted to be a dancer), but once she started writing, she found she could not stop. She has published 16 award-winning books for kids. Her Silver Birch-nominated book, Heart of a Champion, has received praise from School Library Journal, CM, and the Historical Novel Association.

 

Ellen’s presentations focus on her writing process. She discusses how she got the idea for the story, the brainstorming and research she did, the many drafts she wrote, all the way to the publication of the book. She shows them her beloved writing clipboard and pen, her messy drafts, her research materials, and the book galleys. She leaves plenty of time for questions.

Ellen conducts writing workshops with intermediate grades and up. She gives the kids a writing prompt and then, once they have written a short scene, takes them through a fun self-editing process. They share their work with a partner and then the whole group.

Maximum 60 students, though Ellen will negotiate rates for full assemblies. For writing workshops, maximum 30 students.

Library preferred. Classrooms and auditoriums also OK. Ellen prefers not to present in gyms if possible.

A glass of water, a microphone if speaking to a large group, and a projector suitable for showing a PowerPoint presentation. Lunch, please, if presenting to classes in morning and afternoon.

 

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Hazel Hutchins (Canmore AB)

Blue Spruce nominee for Snap. Writers' Union Member. $500 for two sessions, $725 for three sessions and $900 for four sessions plus HST and a flat fee for travel and accommodation of $100 per day. Hazel's spring 2017 Ontario schedule is now FULL.

Hazel enjoys giving lively presentations to students from kindergarten through grade six. She is an experienced author whose award winning picture books and middle grade novels (over fifty titles in all) have taken her to schools, libraries, young writer's conferences, literary celebrations and young reader programs all across Canada. Carefully adjusting her presentation to the ages, interests and attention levels of the students before her at any given time, Hazel's lighthearted approach passes along useful information while building enthusiasm for reading and writing of all kinds.
“.... we all learned something – children and adults alike!” Taleblazers Festival, 2012.

Ages: Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Please keep students within one or two grade levels of each other in any one session.

JK and K are best together, without older grades, and for 45 minutes rather than the full hour.

Numbers: 60 to 100 students per session works best. Larger numbers negotiable but please ask.

Location: A library, music room or multiple-use room always works better than a gymnasium if at all possible. Please seat students on the floor, carpet or mats rather than in chairs. Thank you!

Equipment: A screen (or white wall), an extension cord, a table, and two ordinary chairs.

If it is necessary to use the gym then a sound system is needed please. (Try to avoid the gym if possible.)

Presentation Descriptions:

Story Fun for K - Grade 2

What makes a story special? How do stories become books? Using engaging visuals and lively storytelling—as well as chants, finger plays and active involvement from the students themselves—Hazel gives a fun introduction to story building for this youngest of audiences.

Tips, Tricks and Keeping it Real for Grades 3 - 6

By sharing her writing experiences from creating stories of all kinds—picture books, chapter books, a YA novel and beyond—Hazel helps readers and writers in the middle grades see the stories within themselves in new light. Topics include discovering ideas that work, building stronger characters, coming up with great endings, the painful necessity of rewriting, unusual research and enjoying the process along the way.

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Michelle Barker (Vancouver)

Michelle Barker. Vancouver. Writers’ Union member.  Award-winning author of poetry, a picture book, a young adult fantasy novel, short fiction, and non-fiction. 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.  Michelle’s rate is $275 for one presentation, $425 for two, $650 for three, and $825 for four. No travel costs within the GTA. Available in the Toronto area mid-November, 2016, early February, 2017, and early June, 2017.

Michelle grew up in Vancouver but has lived in Jerusalem, France, Quebec and the Okanagan region of BC. She has four children. In 2014 she graduated from the MFA program at UBC. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and mentor. An energetic presenter, she has run creative writing workshops and given presentations to people of all ages.

Michelle offers the following presentations for different ages:

  1. K1 30 minutes / 30 students max.

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 25   60 minutes

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading with projected illustrations
  • Slides and discussion about life on the farm in 1940s Germany
  • Some historical information
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 5-12 60 minutes

What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

  • What good dialogue can do
  • The pitfalls of writing dialogue
  • Student participation and hands-on writing exercises
  1. 8-12 60 minutes

Poetry for the Terrified

  • Why so many people don’t like poetry
  • Imagery and telepathy
  • To rhyme or not to rhyme
  • Making every word count
  • Hands-on writing exercises
  1. 7-10 60 Minutes

The Beggar King

  • Reading from the novel
  • The pitfalls of writing fantasy
  • The writer’s life—pros and cons

With the exception of the youngest classes, the maximum number of students per session is flexible, but Michelle prefers to use a microphone for groups over forty.

Equipment requirements are a projector and a screen for a PowerPoint presentation. And a glass of water, please. Michelle brings a lap top. She would ask that a librarian or teacher be present throughout the presentation.

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Diane Carmel Léger (New Brunswick)

D.C. Léger-1Writers’ Union member. Award-winning Acadian author, who does her own translations. Former French Immersion Teacher. Primary, middle grade and intermediate presenter. Three 60 min. presentations a day: $325 for 1, $575 for 2, $775 for 3. For K-1, two 30 min. presentations count for 1.  Plus travel expenses.

Diane is eager to share her latest picture books, My Two Grandmothers and Mémére Soleil, Nannie-Lune, which are playful and loving comparisons of her Acadian and Scottish grandmothers.
A polished presenter in both languages, Diane has toured schools and libraries in Canada and the U.S, since 1991. All of her presentations prove that it is easier to write about what you know.

1-K-1 30 min. / 30 students max.

My Two Grandmothers or Mémére Soleil, Nannie Lune
-Reading with projected illustrations
-Q&A

2- Gr. 2-4   60 min. / 60 students max.
 
a) Maxine’s Tree, Who’s in Maxine’s Tree? or L’arbre de Maxine, Qui est dans l’arbre de Maxine ?
-Reading of one of the books with projected illustrations
-Slide show of the real Maxine’s Tree* depicting her family’s efforts to save a rainforest
-Q&A
-Comical excerpts from My Two Grandmothers

b) Emily Carr’s Attic or Le grenier d’Emily Carr
-Reading with projected illustrations
-Brief slide show of Emily Carr’s menagerie, attic art, and paintings
-Author’s experiences living in Emily Carr’s house
-Q&A
-Comical excerpts from My Two Grandmothers or Mémére Soleil, Nannie Lune
 
3- Grades 5-6   60 min. / 60 students max.

Piau’s Potato Present or La patate cadeau ou la vraie histoire de la poutine râpée
 
Since studying Acadian History at the Université de Moncton, Diane’s passion has been to make this little known part of our history more accessible. She succeeded in doing so with La butte à Pétard, which has  been continuously published and studied in Canadian and Cajun schools for over 25 years. Recently, this novel has been optioned for a film.

-Brief reading
-Dynamic interactive version of Acadian History, with slides of historical sites such as Port-Royal, Louisbourg, Fort Beauséjour, Île-à-Piau and the butte à Pétard hideout.
-Q&A

4- Gr. 7-8 60 min. / 60 students or 100 if in an auditorium

La trilogie de la butte à Pétard  à  La patate cadeau
 
-An adapted version of the Gr. 5-6 presentation
 
Requirements: Projector or smart board, table for books and props, lapel microphone

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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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Danielle S. McLaughlin (Toronto)

Danielle 4 Digit CounterJun 14, 2015 11Toronto ON. Writers’ Union Member. Specialist in critical thinking for social justice workshops for grade 2 and up. Her book That’s Not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms was the Kids Can Press Citizen Kid publication for 2016.

Danielle’s rate is $250 for one session, $400 for two. No travel charges will be incurred within Toronto. Transportation/accommodation fees will apply outside the Toronto area.

Mme. Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of That's not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms, “This book will open up different perspectives, competing interests and, in the end, an understanding of the give-and-take of life in a democracy. A great contribution to a rights-based young citizenry.”

Danielle is the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust. She has nearly thirty years of experience presenting highly interactive workshops and seminars for children and adults of all ages. She also specializes in workshops for teachers and educators. All of her presentations involve a rights-based, critical thinking approach.

That’s Not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms: grades 2-6. Help Mayor Moe, Councillor Bug and the City Councillors make decisions about handling problems in their city. What would happen if your city had the same problems? What should we do?

In addition to her children’s book, Danielle writes a monthly blog on Huffington Post Canada about education, schools, and the rights of students and teachers.

Presentations:

Danielle writes and speaks about rights and freedoms, bringing current events and issues to each presentation. She begins by asking her audience to tell her what they know about their rights and quickly leads into stories, both true and imaginary, where rights conflict with one another. She guides her participants to ask relevant questions and to make their own choices and decisions. She encourages diverse opinions and respectful discourse.

Danielle uses books, short videos and classroom activities to keep the level of student engagement very high. Students are encouraged to offer their points of view throughout the workshops. She ends with a book signing, if requested to do so.

More details:

Danielle is happy to speak to grade 2 and up. She prefers to be in a classroom or library that can accommodate up to 50 students, but will also speak to groups of over 50 in auditorium or gym settings. A lapel mic and wireless mics for audience participation will be needed in larger groups.

For grades 2-5 Danielle prefers to speak for one class period - usually about 45 minutes. For grade 6 and up, a class period or one-hour session is preferred. Adult seminars require 1-2 hours.

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L. E. Carmichael, PhD (NS)

Carmichaelwp1N.S. 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 7-10: 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 7-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- world building for sci/fi and fantasy
- touching your reader’s emotions
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

Grades 10-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- 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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Kate Blair (Toronto)

kateblairwp1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Debut novel Transferral gathering rave reviews.

$200 for 1 session, $375 for 2, $500 for 3, $600 for 4 sessions. Limited to visiting schools accessible by public transit, or where a teacher is able to provide transport from the nearest transit stop/station - no travel costs within Toronto; actual transit cost elsewhere in the GTA.

Presentations suitable for grades 3 to 12.
kateblairwp2
Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park, she has lived in four countries on three continents. Her young adult novel, Transferral, explores ideas around justice, punishment and class in an alternate version of London, England. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

Kate loves to share her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and finding your place in the world. Presentations are tailored to meet the needs of the age group, and are flexible, responding to the curriculum and the interests and curiosity of the students. She has years of experience in museums leading school workshops and presentations with all age groups, keeping students engaged and entertained.

Kate draws on her own struggles with concentration and fitting in at school to connect with students. She presents on the importance of passion and time - rather than talent - inspiring students to pursue what they love and to put the work in, rather than believing they should only focus on what they've been told they are 'good at'.

Kate’s presentations can cover a variety of topics, adapted to suit the audience and their interests, including the following:

The importance of failing; how no-one is any good at anything when they first start.

Why being the odd one out at school is a good thing.

Writing a book: what does it take and how do you get started? Including: how to spark ideas; how to create characters; how to keep your reader reading; how to edit and how to research.

Topics related to Transferral: Crime and punishment – what is the purpose of justice? A brief history of crime and punishment in London. Democracy and other ways to change the world around you.

All venues, library preferred.
Maximum group size: 200
Equipment and other requirements:
A microphone and podium for larger groups, or if the presentation is in a gym or auditorium.
A flip chart.
A glass of water.
Lunch (a sandwich is fine) if Kate is booked for morning and afternoon.

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Lana Button (Burlington)

LanaButtonwp1

Burlington. Lana charges $300 for one session, $500.00 for two, $750.00 for three and $900.00 for full day, plus travel from Burlington. Writers’ Union Member.

She shares her stories Willow’s Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, and Willow's Smile, and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

Lana is an Early Childhood Educator and former actress who feels at home when surrounded by a group of young children. She loves reading, singing and interacting with her audience! Her lively presentations are sure to keep the attention of young children learning about picture books, about themselves and about each other. Her goal is to leave her audience cheering!

Presentations:

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Lana introduces Willow.

She shares her passion for picture books and her journey of bringing Willow to life. Her story is not only a literary step-by step lesson in how a picture book is made it’s a lesson in personal perseverance and determination, told in an engaging age appropriate way.

She shares her story Willow’s Whispers and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Bullying Awareness

Lana focuses on bullying awareness and prevention with her story, Willow Finds a Way. She reads the story and engages the children in discussion around recognizing bullying behavior and in finding ways to stand up to bullying.

Lana loves audiences big and small. She can present to as many as 120 children per session, and will present in classrooms, libraries and gymnasiums.

She just needs a microphone for large groups.

Lana loves family literacy events! She aims to entertain and inspire the whole family with her writing experiences and her stories.

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Bill Slavin (Millbrook)

Millbrook, ON, fiction and non-fiction, Award-winning author/illustrator including the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Awards, Grades 2-6

$300 + HST per 1 hour session, and $250 + HST for additional sessions, plus transportation/accommodation.

Bill Slavin has illustrated over one hundred children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. Titles include Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey, winner of the 2004 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and Transformed, winner of the 2006 Norma Fleck Award. Recently he has published the third book in his graphic novel series, Elephants Never Forget. Today he is lives in Millbrook with his partner, Esperança Melo, who is also an artist and book illustrator.

Illustration as Story-telling

Bill Slavin's school presentations revolve around a discussion of illustration as a form of story-telling, with the intention of inspiring students to go ahead and create their own stories. He shares his early work with the kids, including his very first book he did back in Grade 3, Zok the Caveman (possibly the most important thing he shows them, as it gives context!) He also discusses the process he goes through to create a picture book, from manuscript through thumbnails and pencil drawings to finished art and usually includes a reading from one of his books in conjunction with showing the original art. His presentation ends with his doing a character sketch for the kids (which will be left with the school), along with a discussion of some basic drawing principals.

Each presentation lasts for about an hour, with slight change ups in the above description depending upon the age of the audience. His preferred audience is Grades 2 - 6 and audience size can be up to 125 children. During the presentation he shows original book art and sketches and reinforces what he's showing with projections of the art (if the AV equipment is available), leaving room for lots of Q & A.

Bill's aim in the presentation is to demystify kids' relationship with art and make it real, tangible and immediate so they can go forward and have the confidence to create their own stories.

Audience Size:  125 maximum (it's best if the kids are seated on the floor or on mats)
Preferred Grades Grades 2-6
AV Requirements:  A laptop linked to a projector. If available he will bring his presentation as a Powerpoint document on a key.
Venues: All, library preferred
Other Requirements A table to organize his work on and a glass of water to wet his whistle!

Signed Books
A signed book can be a chance for kids to make a lasting connection with a visiting author. If any of the kids would like to order a book before the visit, Bill can put you in touch with his local book distributor who would be pleased to provide order forms and make arrangements to have books shipped to your school prior to the presentation.

Please note: Bill's surname is pronounced SLAY-vin.

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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.

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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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Charis Cotter (NF)

CharisCotterNewfoundland. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch 2016 nominee, fiction, non-fiction, ghost stories, writing workshops, grades 4 to 6.

Her rate is $275 for one per session, $500 for two, plus HST and mileage. Sessions last from 75 to 90 minutes. Peterborough/Cobourg/Kingston March 3–24: Toronto/Hamilton: March 29–April 22.

Charis is an award-winning writer and performer who has toured schools and libraries from Victoria BC to St. John’s NL. She has a particular interest in ghosts and how they reflect our culture and beliefs, and she has been featured on radio and TV, telling her eerie Newfoundland ghost stories.TheSwallowAGhostStory Her novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the IODE Violet Downey Award for 2015. Charis has an engaging, playful approach to writing and storytelling that draws an enthusiastic response from students.

Imagine the Bones: A Ghost Storytelling and Writing Workshop
Charis leads the students through a series of  visualization exercises to illustrate the power of the imagination and boost their comprehension when reading and writing. They explore the basic structure (the “bones”) of a ghost story. By the end of the session, students will have created their very own story, which they can develop further as either a piece of writing or an oral presentation.

The workshop begins with a dramatization from The Swallow: A Ghost Story and a visualization game. Then Charis discusses the basic elements that form the structure of a ghost story (“the bones”) and shares some technical tricks. Step by step, the students visualize and write their stories, sharing them with partners when they’re finished. At the end of the presentation, Charis tells a Newfoundland ghost story, asking the students to identify the structural elements they have just learned. Then she introduces her other books and answers questions.

Grades 4 to 6. 60 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor or at tables. Easel or blackboard with markers or chalk. Table. Chair. Students will need writing materials (pen or pencil and paper).

The Ghosts of Grates Cove
A storytelling session of traditional Newfoundland ghost stories collected by the author from Conception Bay North, Newfoundland. Charis talks about how these stories reflect the history and culture of Newfoundland, how the stories have been passed down through generations, and why that province is one of the most haunted places in the world.

Charis tells a series of spooky stories that feature the Old Hollies, (the victims of shipwrecks heard screaming in the wind), Jacky-Lanterns(ghost lights seen dancing on the water), ghost ships, a ghost train and a blueberry picking ghost. She tells a true ghost story of a creepy experience she had herself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night, and finishes with a dramatic story about ghostly footsteps. Charis ends the presentation with an introduction to her published books and a question and answer period.

Grades 4 to 6. 80 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Table. Chair.

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Elly MacKay (Owen Sound)

EllyMacKay Owen Sound ON. Writers' Union Member. Author, illustrator, picture books, Forest of Reading, lightbox, paper, children’s books, primary, workshop, art project.

Elly’s rate is $275 for one session, $475 for two, $675 for three and $800 for four, plus local travel from Toronto when in the area (either taxi or being picked up by a teacher to accommodate her in bringing her miniature theatre and supplies).

Elly’s presentations are a lot of fun and very hands-on. She has a Bachelor of Education and loves teaching all ages.
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She will design her presentation to suit the size and age of the group. Her story telling and her unique way of creating illustrations will inspire students. Elly makes her illustrations by setting up layers of paper, lighting the scenes and photographing them. Each group will have an opportunity to see her miniature stage and build a scene together. If the group is smaller in size, they create their own piece of art. With larger groups, materials are left for teachers for an extension activity. A beautiful print of the groups illustration is later sent to the school or library as a keepsake.

Elly requires a small table, outlet, laptop and projector.

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Maggie De Vries (BC)

maggiedevries Vancouver, BC. Writers' Union Member. Fiction & NF. 2016 White Pine nominee. Multi awards. All ages.

$350 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4 (can be shared between two schools in the same area). No additional cost for travel or accommodations.

Available in the Guelph area, May 9 to 13, and in Toronto, May 16 and May 18 to 20.

Maggie writes YA and middle-grade novels, narrative non-fiction and picture books. She is sought after for her rich, dynamic presentations for all ages. Maggie can do up to four presentations in the same school or area in a day. As an experienced editor, a lecturer in UBC’s Creative Writing Program and the author of an adult memoir, she also loves speaking to adult groups and giving writing workshops to adults and young people.

RabbitEars
Presentations

Maggie tailors her presentations to the needs of each audience.

Grades 8 to 12: 60 minutes. Maggie has written two books for teens: Rabbit Ears (a White Pine nominee for 2016) and Hunger Journeys, a historical novel set in the Netherlands in WWII. She is also often asked to speak to teens about her adult memoir, Missing Sarah: a Memoir of Loss, which is about her sister who is one of Vancouver’s missing women. She speaks about research and the writing process, about the challenges of writing for young readers about war, and about the difficult issues that arise in Rabbit Ears. A talk on both Missing Sarah and Rabbit Ears works very well for older teens.

Grades 3 to 7: 60 minutes, a 3-grade spread at the most. Maggie’s three animal stories—Tale of a Great White Fish: a Sturgeon Story, Fraser Bear: a Cub’s Life and Big City Bees— and her two linked middle-grade novels—Chance and the Butterfly and Somebody’s Girl—form the focus for a presentation that mixes science (learning about sturgeon, black bears, Chinook salmon,honeybees and butterflies) and research and writing tips. This presentation is rich in photos from Maggie’s research.

Workshop Topics, Grades 5 to 12 (and adults): Sources of Story in Everyday Life. Growing Ideas into Stories. Transformative Revision. Building Stories Using Scenes. Or a different idea proposed by the hosting school. The smaller the group, the better, and groups for workshops should not be larger than 30.

All venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch (a sandwich or salad and a piece of fruit) 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 Powerpoint.

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Peter McMahon (Toronto)

petermcmahon_headshotGreater Toronto Area. Writers' Union Member. Non-Fiction. All grades K to 12. Mobile Planetarium Shows: $500 for one session for up to 30 students, $650 for 2 sessions, $750 for 3 sessions, $885 for an unlimited number of sessions (20-45 minutes per session) HST extra.

 

Science / space author and planetarium presenter Peter McMahon has written about the universe around us for publications like Canadian Geographic, Reader's Digest, MSN, Today's Parent, CTV, Discovery Channel, and SkyNews magazine, where he is a contributing editor.

Peter's books include science-experiment titles Ultimate Trains and Space Tourism (Kids Can Press, 2010, 2011) plus the upcoming Space Adventurer's Guide (KCP, 2017) and one on the First Nations constellations of North America (due out in 2018 from OWL Kids Canada)

Tour of the Universe mobile planetarium experience

Peter's signature show, which takes place inside a 30-person inflatable planetarium that comes to you!

This audience-participation experience showcases the constellations of the ancient Greeks and First Nations of Canada, planets, moons, galaxies, meteors, the Northern Lights, Canadian achievements in space, and much, much more.

Grades: 1-9 (including content specific to Grades 1, 6, and 9 space unit curriculum)

Duration: 18-45 minutes per session

Max # of participants per-session: 30

The Adventures of Robot Space Puppy

Especially for Kindergarten classes!

Take Robot Space Puppy on a walk around the planets as he searches for the perfect place to play in the universe.

Don’t let him get too close to the Sun (it’s VERY hot!) or too far away (***"brrr!"***)

Don’t worry if he starts howling at the Moon. He does that sometimes.

You’ll need to have Robot Space Puppy back to Earth in time to feed him – so don’t go more than a few million km from home...

"You could really consider this Peter's first children's fiction book...a living, breathing work that kids participate in", says Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board teacher David Howard.

Grades: JK, SK, 1

Duration: 18-25 minutes per session

Max # of participants per-session: 30

SUPERLUMINAL

Especially for high-school classes: Go faster-than-light on a fictional survey mission to another star in this exclusive hands-on, multi-environment experience designed specifically for high school students (with a different level of mission for each grade – can be tailored to specific science courses.)

Inspired by movies like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey, this truly unique interactive experience tasks science classes with the strategy, critical thinking, leadership and imagination needed for the management of the first human mission to another solar system (don't worry if that sounds like a lot - there's help along the way...)

Grades: 9-12

Duration: 45-60 minutes per session

Max # of participants per-session: 30

Writing workshops

Peter also delivers workshops on writing and careers in science for students and staff - Please inquire if interested in learning more for a separate visit or to add on to a visit

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Sigmund Brouwer (AB)

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Alberta. Writers’ Union Member. Sigmund delivers fun and motivating large-group presentations via his Rock and Roll Literacy Presentation, and on-going classroom workshops with his Writer In Residence program. He also has a multi-media presentation on The Battle of Vimy Ridge, based on his new title, Innocent Heroes: Animals in War and The Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Audiences of up to 400. One session at $475 plus GST with discounts for multiple presentations in a single location. More details on fees can be found below the photo gallery.

As one of the authors of the Seven Series, the Seven The Sequel series and The Seven Prequel Series, Sigmund’s Rock and Roll Literacy uses a mixture of story and music and video for entertaining large-group presentations that deliver simple but key points about reading and writing skills, and that motivate students to want to put stories on paper.

Sigmund welcomes audiences of up to 400 in an assembly, and his rate is $475 plus GST for one session, $700 plus GST for two sessions, $900 plus GST for three sessions. These fees include his travel expenses of airfare and car rental and hotel and meals. Sigmund is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, so schools wishing to invite him maybe be eligible for a travel and subsidy fee to off-set the cost of his visit. If a school has booked Sigmund for a presentation during the day, and wishes to include an evening Family Literacy presentation, Sigmund’s evening fee is reduced and the fee is donated to Operation Smile on the school’s behalf, so that a boy or girl with a cleft palate will receive a new smile.

Each presentation includes a free ebook for every student at every age level, and a free novel in ebook format for the teachers. The librarian receives a Story Diva t-shirt as a present during the event; there is also a comprehensive pre-presentation package for each teacher to help get the most from the author visit, as well as story starters for after the visit. His rockandroll-literacy website is packed with teacher resources.

Sigmund also presents the The Battle of Vimy Ridge for large-group assemblies. By focusing on how war animals helped soldiers, he ensures it is a suitable presenation for grades 3 and up. It is a multi-media presentation with music and video that helps students understand the importance of this battle in Canadian history, how Canadian soldiers accomplished what few believed was possible, and how students can apply lessons from the battle into their own lives. (Along with great writing advice!)

Sigmund also has a successful Writer In Residence program for schools that gives unlimited access to his ebook collection, and virtual author visits.

Here’s what some who’ve seen Rock and Roll Literacy have to say:

"It is really challenging to find presenters who can engage the entire school, and Sigmund definitely did. He had great messages for the students e.g. always remembering writing for your audience and make your writing interesting, but he wrapped his messages up with cool short stories, engaging music, and active participation."

"Just to let everyone know we had author Sigmund Brouwer at our school this morning! HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST presenters we have ever had. The students and staff were thrilled, entertained and inspired by the presentation.”

Virtual Visits to the classroom: $75, 30 minutes. Includes a free ebook for each student and and the chat is turned into a souvenir video for students to watch at any time via private website link.

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