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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TDSB approved YA authors, Don Aker and Karen Bass are coming to Ontario!

Karen Bass, whose novel, Uncertain Soldier is a nominee for the Geoffrey Bilson Award will be in Toronto, November 14-18, and is available for school and library visits accessible by public transit in the GTA. No travel costs.

Don Aker’s Delusion Road has just garnered a fourth nomination, this time for the John Spray Mystery Award. Teachers/librarians interested in having Don speak to their young people should note that he will be in Toronto during the week of November 14-18. And for this week only, Don’s fee will not include travel expenses, which represents a significant saving.

Half day = 575 + HST including travel (which is a saving of $110)
Full day = 1100 + HST including travel (which is a saving of $200)

 

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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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Arlene Chan (Toronto)

ArleneChan2016Toronto. $250 for one session, $400 for two, and $550 for three. No travel charges within the Greater Toronto Area.

Arlene has written seven books about Chinese festivals and the Chinese in Canada. Arlene has given hundreds of presentations to students from grades one up to grade twelve. She was a guest author at the 2014 Toronto International Book Fair and the 2013 Word on the Street.

Here’s what Vivien Keiling, Youth Services Librarian, Vaughan Public Libraries, has to say about Arlene’s presentation:

Presenting to school-aged children is not an easy thing - they're easily distracted and aren't always that interested in hearing what the presenter has to say. Arlene Chan was amazing - she was able to take a large group of  11 year-olds (65 of them) and keep them engaged, interested, and enthusiastic for a full hour presentation [about the dragon boat festival]! The children were asking tons of questions and even after it was time for them to leave, they didn't want to go! Arlene was a fantastic presenter - the best author visit I've had.

You will enjoy 60 minutes of lively and interactive presentations geared for the age of the audience. As a retired librarian, who planned and presented programs at the Toronto Public Library, I know what teachers and school librarians expect, and how to keep students engaged. (I’ve also been a guest on many television and radio shows, like CBC Radio’s Here and Now and Fresh Air.) There’s always lots of time for questions. I’m at ease in making presentations in classrooms and libraries.

Best for grades 1-6. Audience up to 80 children at a time. A separate room is preferred to contain the noise of excited children during their simulated dragon boat races.

Special Occasions:

 “The Dragon Boat Festival” – May/June, depending on lunar calendar. Best for grades 1-3. Preferred audience size of 30. This presentation can be scheduled as two 30-minute presentations instead of one 60-minute one.

“The Moon Festival” – September/October, depending on the lunar calendar. Best for grades 1-6. Audience up to 80 children at a time.

“Chinese New Year and other Celebrations” – January/February, depending on the lunar calendar; Asian Heritage Month in May. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Historic Events:

“The Role of the Chinese in the Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway”

Righting Canada's Wrongs: the Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century

The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

People in History:

“A Proud Chinese Canadian”. The Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Immigration:

“Canada’s Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies, 1885-1967”. Righting Canada's Wrongs: the Chinese Head Tax and Anti-Chinese Immigration Policies in the Twentieth Century. Best for grades 7-12. Preferred audience size of 30.

Equipment and other Requirements

Projector or SmartBoard for Powerpoint presentations

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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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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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Mahtab Narsimhan (Toronto)

MahtabNarsimhanDLPSToronto. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch winning author available for school, library and conference visits.

Mahtab’s rate is $250 plus HST for one session, $475 for two, $700 for three and $925 for four sessions, plus travel per Canada Council mileage rates.

Mahtab, in Persian, means moonlight. She won the Silver Birch award for her debut novel, The Third Eye. Mahtab enjoys connecting with her readers in interactive presentations and encourages discussions about diversity. She’s comfortable with an adult audience as well as Grades 1-3 for her picture book and Grades 4-8 for her middle-grade/YA novels. As Writer-In-Residence at the TDSB (2014-2016) and presenter at TPL (Sophie’s Studio workshops 2011 and 2016), she has given numerous writing workshops and loves it!

Presentations:

Mahtab tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Her talk is peppered with personal anecdotes about the challenges she faces when she writes, as well as tips and tricks she uses to meet her daily goal of 1500 words.  Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about the catalyst that took her from a high-powered corporate executive to becoming a writer.

Mahtab’s books include a strong element of her Indian roots and she encourages discussions and questions on world cultures, and especially diversity.  She immigrated to Canada in 1997 and is happy to  share the struggles she faced while trying to fit into Canada.

She describes the research and planning that goes into each book. She’s writing one about Mars at the moment and hopes to get funding to do first-hand research.

Writing Workshop Topics:

  • Creative writing - Fiction
  • The Danger of a Single Story
  • New Immigrant and Fitting into Canada
  • Myth and Magic

Equipment: A mike, table, projector screen and multi-plug power socket. Flip-chart and markers for workshops.

Venue : All, though libraries and classrooms preferred.  

Maximum number of students per session:  100 for presentations and 16 for workshops. This is slightly flexible so please contact her to discuss.

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

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Karen Krossing (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. YA and middle grade fiction. White Pine. Crystal Kite Winner. Writing workshops. Grade 4 and up.

KarenKrossingwpKaren’s rate is $225 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto. Mileage within Toronto may be waived.

Karen Krossing is the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens, and she regularly mentors emerging writers through workshops for kids, teens, and adults. She’s been conducting book talks and workshops since 2002, including TD Canadian Children’s Book Week in 2005 and 2014. She loves meeting readers and writers of all ages.

Book Talks
The purpose of Karen’s book talks is to promote literacy. Her talks usually include how she evolved as a writer, the writing life, an introduction to the work, a short reading, a discussion of issues raised by the reading, an oral storywriting exercise involving the audience, and questions and answers. She introduces her books by discussing how they were written, how a story is structured, and the writing techniques used. Her goal is to inspire audience members to share her passion for reading and writing.

For grades 4 to 6, Karen will showcase her middle-grade novels: Bog, The Castle Key, and possibly Cut the Lights. Issues such as tolerance and believing in oneself may be discussed.

For grades 7 to 12, Karen’s novels and short stories for teens will be highlighted, including Punch Like a Girl, Cut the Lights, The Yo-Yo Prophet, Pure, and Take the Stairs. Issues such as bullying, depression, social justice, and prejudice may be explored. Performance and visual arts are also featured in these titles.

Writing Workshops
Karen delivers customized writing workshops for all ages – children, teens, and adults. Workshops typically include a discussion of specific story-writing techniques as well as inspirational writing exercises designed to generate story ideas and practise particular techniques. Her technique promotes intuitive writing using a variety of stimulating activities, including word games, masks, story dice, photos, and character games. Writing is then shared through peer critiquing, using positive and constructive feedback techniques. Workshops can include:

  • How to Create a Believable OtherWorld.
  • Stories Inspired by Real-Life.
  • How You Can Get Published and Other Mysteries Solved.
  • Character Development.
  • How to Revise a Work-in-Progress.
  • How to Structure a Story.

Karen will present to grades 4 to 12. Maximum number of students is 100 per session for book talks and 30 per session for writing workshops, although she will accommodate more in an auditorium situation.

Equipment and Other Requirements
Karen is comfortable presenting in a classroom, library, or auditorium. She requires a microphone for large spaces or audiences, a bottle of water, and a table to display books. She may require a screen for presentations. She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.

 

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Caroline Fernandez (Toronto)

Caroline FernandezWriters’ Union Member. Silver Birch Non-Fiction Honour Book Award 2016. $225 for one session + HST, $400 for two, $600 for three and $750 for four, + travel from Toronto. Caroline's two bestselling books are popular with libraries and educators for STEM learning. TDSB presenter cleared participant in the Amdox Company Ltd/TDSB partnership.

Caroline is an enthusiastic presenter who encourages interaction during visits.

 

Presentations by Grades:
Caroline is happy to work with teachers and librarians to develop a need-specific presentation, but here are some examples:
Grades 3-12: 45-60 minutes.
Library or classroom preferred.

  • How many people does it take to publish a book?
    o Explores the jobs of author to book seller and everyone in between
  • Session on book of your choice plus a hands-on boredom busting activity
    o Materials provided by school
  • A writer’s life
    o Explores how to become a writer, overcoming rejection, the work life of a writer
  • Why busting boredom important?
    o Explores self-motivation, creativity, entertaining oneself without TV or screens, decision-making, hands-on experience and the fun that can be had by yourself or with a group.
  • Blogging, social media, and digital content creation
    o Explores digital writing, social media platforms, analytics. Suitable for older grades.

Equipment required: Table and water.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 60 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) via Skype or Google Hangout
Morning start time requested

 

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Anne Dublin (Toronto)

AnneDublin

Toronto ON. Writers' Union Member. Historical novels and biographies, multi awards and nominations. Ages 8 and up.

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

Anne is an experienced and passionate presenter. As the author of historical novels and biographies with Jewish themes and a former teacher-librarian, she adjusts her presentations to various age groups and school curricula. She also enjoys speaking to adults and has shared her stories in retirement homes, churches, synagogues, cafés, and public libraries.

Presentations:
Anne writes historical novels, biographies, and Holocaust literature. She likes to begin her talk with the reasons why she writes and why she chose a particular topic.

Anne uses pictures (PowerPoint and/or hard copies) to help tell the story as she reads from her books. She brings real objects about people and events, and often tells the students about how she found these objects.
Anne talks about the process of doing research: Where she’s travelled, how she learned peculiar and interesting facts, how serendipity often happened along the way.

Anne ends with a Q&A period, and a book signing if requested.

More details:

Grades 4 – 8: The majority of Anne’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes. Here are themes by book:

44 Hours or Strike: activism, anti-Semitism, clothing trade, employee rights, garment workers, Great Depression, labour unions, strikes, Toronto, women’s prison, women’s rights. Living in the 1930s.

Here is a Teacher's Guide for 44 Hours or Strike.

Odyssey Through Hell: Escape from the Warsaw Ghetto (co-written with Helen Drazek): hidden children, Adolf Hitler, Holocaust survivors, immigration, memoir, Montreal, Nazism, Poland, Righteous Gentiles, Warsaw, Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, World War II.

Stealing Time: ancient Egypt, atomic clock, Bandoran (Ireland), clocks and watches, divorce, Sandford Fleming, John Harrison, London (England), medieval China, medieval France, monastery, Ottawa, Plymouth (CT), Prague, remarriage, step-brother, Eli Terry, time travel.

The Baby Experiment: Amsterdam (Netherlands), anti-Semitism, experiments on people, Hamburg (Germany), Leibnitz, orphans, orphanage. Living in 1700s.

Here are Teacher's Guides for Stealing Time and The Baby Experiment.

The Orphan Rescue: anti-Semitism, child labour, orphans, orphanage, poverty, Sosnowiec (Poland). Living in 1937.

Dynamic Women Dancers: activists, ballet, Bharatanatyam, biography, choreographers, flamenco, modern dance, overcoming problems, women dancers.

June Callwood: Avro Arrow, biography, Canada, Casey House, Digger House, Globe and Mail, Great Depression, human rights, Jessie’s Centre, journalist, Macleans, Nellie’s, Toronto, Trent Frayne, women aviators.

Bobbie Rosenfeld: arthritis, athletes, Barrie (Ontario), biography, Canada, coming to Canada, Globe and Mail, Great Depression, hockey, Jewish, immigration, sports writers, Summer Olympics, Toronto, track and field, women athletes.

Presentation Details:

Anne is happy to speak to Grade 4 and up, and prefers to be in a library or classroom.

Audience size: 50 – 75 is preferred; 150 maximum

Technical requirements: Laptop, projector and screen. If room is overly large or noisy (gym), please provide a microphone (wireless preferred) and a lectern. A table to display books and materials is helpful.

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Bill Swan (Whitby)

BillSwanDurham region. Writers' Union Member. Red Maple non-fiction winner. Grades 4 to adult. True crime.

His rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. No travel charges within Durham Region or in the London school board area.

Bill is comfortable giving presentations and readings to students from junior grades through college and adult groups. He has been a newspaper editor, columnist and journalism professor and loves to talk about the process of writing fiction, non-fiction, news and feature writing and even business writing. (He teaches a very popular online course Business Report Writing that stresses the importance of structure and provides a simple organizational tool that can be applied to all writing.)

REALJUSTICEMy main presentation is for Grade 7 and 8 students about the Steven Truscott case (1959 in Clinton, Ontario), in which 14-year-old Steven was convicted of the murder of a seventh-grade classmate and sentenced to hang.

I can present to up to 120 in an auditorium but prefer a library that does not echo.
Needed:
A projector and screen for PowerPoint.

This Presentation:
(a) Provides an overview of the case, providing key facts of the case in a PowerPoint presentation;
(b) Reviews the evidence of both the Crown and defence;
(c) Shows the process of writing the book REAL JUSTICE: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death, from transcripts of the original trial transcripts;
(d) Reviews some legal terms and concepts important to this case;
(e) Includes a reading from my book from the chapter of courtroom drama where 12-year-old Doug Oates confronts an experienced Crown Attorney—A fictional account created from the original transcript.
(f) Encourages students to read my book to see how and why it took Steven 47 years to clear his name.

Middle Grades:
Based on my nine novels in the Lorimer Sports Series I provide a 50-minute presentation to Grades 4-6 on writing, on how to create fictional characters and settings, and ending with a reading from one of my novels. This works best if students are familiar with one or more of my books and have selected a chapter for me to read.

Grades 9-12:
The presentation for Grades 7 & 8 is upgraded for senior grades, with more emphasis on the trial process, the legal concepts (and how this case changed the laws of Canada) and discussion of how and why this case went so horridly wrong. Another book in the REAL JUSTICE series is to be released in Spring 2013. This is on the Donald Marshall Jr. case (1971 in Nova Scotia). Highlights of this case are offered and compared.

Writing Workshops And Adult Presentations

As a journalism professor of many years at Durham College, I can discuss the mechanics of news and feature writing, its similarities and differences from fiction, and the process of writing. Included is the part common to all genres: writing, re-writing, revision, and the value of critique groups and their limitations. For adult groups with a stronger tolerance for boredom I can show how to write email messages that are less likely to get lost, and short memos that sizzle.

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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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Mireille Messier (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. French author. Picture books and middle grade. Great for immersion students! K to 6.

Mireille’s rate is $300 for one 45-60 min session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3, $900 for 4 (max 4 per day, min 2 per day if outside GTA), plus travel by car. HST extra.

New this year! Mireille has a new ENGLISH picture book available! She can present "The Branch" / "Ma branche préférée" in either English or French or both. This story of intergenerational collaboration and the love of trees is ideal for readers from grades 1-3.

Mireille Messier is a bilingual Montreal-born, Ottawa-raised and now Toronto-based writer.

Most of her books are published in French and range in genre – from picture books, to chapter books and non-fiction. She enjoys presenting to immersion students and offers lively presentations that are tailored to the language level of the classes.

Presentation Details

Available in French or English/French (bilingual)
Mireille is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and so schools wishing to invite her may be eligible for a travel and fee subsidy to off-set the cost of her visit.

Here is an example of her presentations by grade:
JK to 1: two 30-minute sessions for the price of one full session ($300+HST) using her book Quelfouillis! Includes a tool-related activity and a song.

Grade 2 to 4: The majority of Mireille’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes: Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Themes available: Travel/Geography (Charlotte partout), Anagrams/Word Play (Voilierd’Olivier/Quand les zéros), Food/Cooking (Salade de César), Sports (Charlotte Olympique), Night/Rhyme (Luca). All presentations in this category feature a reading from a giant version of the selected book. When presenting books from the Charlotte series Mireille comes accompanied by her Charlotte puppet.

Grade 4 to 6: 45 to 60 minutes. Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Books available for this level are Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines (advanced picture book)& the middle grade chapter books from Les aventures de Viviane et Simon series.
Maximum number of students per session: 40-80 (flexible)

Venues she is comfortable in: classroom, library, auditorium. Gymnasium as a last resort.
Equipment requirements: table, glass of water, lapel microphone for larger groups, light lactose-free lunch if booked for full day

Note: Mid to late-morning start time requested during winter months (Dec-March)

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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)

International School of Helsinki

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, 60 minutes, Skype.

Please note: Her surname is pronounced SKRIPP-ick.

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Don Aker (NS)

DonAker1.jpg Nova Scotia-based, Writers' Union Member. White Pine Award-winning YA author.

$575 + HST + $110 travel for half a day (2 sessions); $1100 + HST + $200 travel for full day (4 sessions)  Please note that Don’s travel fee pays only a portion of his total travel costs, which include airfare, accommodation, meals, local transportation, etc., so he kindly requests that his hosts collect him at—and return him to—whatever subway/bus/train station is nearest their location.

Don Aker is internationally known for hard-hitting stories that address social issues such as youth crime, teen suicide, and gambling. Don’s most recent books include a mystery thriller set on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, a historical novel for Scholastic’s I Am Canada series, and a novel for Pearson Education’s classroom series on mental wellness. A former classroom teacher, Don enjoys speaking to students in grades 6-12, and his enthusiastic presentation style and sense of humour make him a hit with both teenagers and adults.


Although he prefers presenting to groups of 40 or fewer to facilitate interaction with his audience, Don has successfully presented to groups as large as 400 in auditoriums and theatres. However, larger group sizes lessen the opportunity for meaningful dialogue with students.

Don requires his hosts to provide the following items:
· an LCD projector (Don will bring his PC laptop to run his PowerPoint)
· an external speaker he can plug into his laptop (to amplify audio in film clips)
· a viewing screen
· a table for his presentation materials
· a bottle of water
· a microphone and amplifier if he is speaking in large, echoing venues or to very large groups

Author Presentation
TITLE: Backstory and Beyond: One Writer’s Journey
AUDIENCE: Students in grades 6-12
LENGTH: 1 hour

DESCRIPTION: In this informative and entertaining presentation, Don describes the circuitous route that took him from a classroom in a small Nova Scotia school to one of the largest publishing companies in North America, and provides behind-the-scenes accounts of the experiences that have shaped both his fiction and his professional writing. Accompanied by a dynamic PowerPoint presentation, Don gives a brief overview of the books he has written, followed by a discussion of his writing process—where he gets his ideas, and the three questions he needs to answer before he can begin writing any story. He briefly describes the genesis of some of his novels and talks about his most important writing tool—his writer’s notebook. He always provides time for his audience to ask questions and, if time and interest permit, he may give a brief reading. Don is completely comfortable tailoring his presentation to the needs of a particular group (e.g., focusing on a particular novel that students have read or are reading), but he requires three weeks’ notice in order to prepare.

Writing Workshops

Don offers half-day and full-day writing workshops, the length of which depend on the particular needs and previous experience of attendees. Don prefers to limit the number of participants to 20, but he is willing to increase that number if a host requires it. Fees for his half-day and full-day writing workshop bookings are the same as those for his author bookings.

A Sampling of Don Aker’s Writing Workshops

Inside Story: Writing Fictional Narratives
We Are Our Stories: Writing Personal Memoir
Writing Poetry: Distilling the Essence of Experience
Image Is Everything: The Art of Writing Screenplays
Writing Strong Essays: The Power of Persuasion

Professional Development Workshops

A former educator with 33 years of classroom experience that includes teacher-mentoring as well as instruction at the university level, Don offers a number of half-day and full-day professional development workshops for teachers of students in grades 5 to 12. Fees for his half-day and full-day PD workshop bookings are the same as those for his author bookings.

A Sampling of Don Aker’s PD Workshops

Strategic Reading: Making Meaning of Text
The Poetry Roundtable: Talking Toward Meaning
Team-ing With Success: Cooperative Learning in the Classroom
Managing the Bundle: Responding to Students’ Writing
Polishing the Lens: The Power of Point of View

Virtual Visits: $150 + HST, 60 minutes, Skype

 

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Ted Staunton (Port Hope)

Ted Staunton 2016-08-31Port Hope, ON.  Writers’ Union Member. Fiction & non-fiction, multi-award nominee & winner. All ages.

$350 for 1 session, $575 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1,000 for 4. Family Literacy events are $575. Fees for multi-visit workshops vary by project.

Writer and musician Ted Staunton is the author of over forty books, from picture book favorite Puddleman to the award-winning YA novel Who I’m Not and titles in the Seven series. A funny, enthusiastic, and vastly experienced presenter for all ages, he’s performed and led workshops from Inuvik to Addis Ababa, often with an instrument in hand. Ted also teaches writing to adults at George Brown College.

Presentations & Workshops

Ted has presentations and workshops for all ages and grades, K-12 and adult. Frequently he covers an entire school in two or more sessions during a day. Fast paced and funny, he looks at how events in real life are imaginatively transformed into the stuff of his stories, and then shared through the writing process. He tells and read stories, plays music, leads imagining activities, demonstrates the writing and editing process with computer files and other show and tell material, and leaves time for audience Q&A.
Optimum group size is 70-100, but reasonable grade groupings for primary, junior, intermediate and senior presentations are more important than group size.
Preferred venue is the library, but Ted has spoken in lots of gyms.
Presentation times are 45 minutes for primaries, around an hour for all others.
For set-up Ted requests a table for show and tell material, an armless chair, and for middle grades and up, a screen and projector he can connect his laptop to. Audio is not needed. For extra large groups or venues a microphone may be required.

Ted leads a variety of multi-visit workshop projects. Building Books is a series of five weekly visits to multiple classrooms in which students write and create picture books using professional techniques, and finish with a book launch party. For grades 1-12.
The Wrong Magic, for middle grades -12, is co-presented with author Richard Scrimger over four visits. Pairs of students learn story structure by writing situations in which a super hero makes things worse with “the wrong magic”. Lots of one on one with Ted and Richard. The Stories CD has students collaborating on “fractured” fairy tales which they script and record with Ted. The stories are then anthologized on CDs which they decorate and package. Adaptable to grades 1-12

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Gary Rasberry (Kingston)

 

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Kingston. Philosopher. Poet. Imagination Consultant. Musician. Artist. Educator.  Juno-nominated children’s artist.  Award-winning classroom creativity workshop facilitator.

 

Workshop rates: $250 for one, $450 for two, $650 for three,$850 for four.  Concert rates: Same as above for divisional concerts (JK, Primary, Junior, Intermediate).

Full school performance: $550. Combo day: three workshops plus full school performance: $1000, plus travel.

Gary Rasberry. Philosopher. Poet. Imagination Consultant. Musician. Artist. Educator. Ph.D. in Education, Over 20 years experience as an artist and  educator, Gary has held artist-in-residencies internationally (California, Barcelona, Amsterdam), nationally (British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario) and locally (his hometown Kingston, Ontario). JUNO-nominated children’s artist offers Song, Story & Sound Workshops and Concert Performances in schools everywhere.

presentations/workshops

What’s the Big Idea at your school? Gary Rasberry helps students discover and explore ideas both Big & Small through the Art of Song & Story & Sound.  Explore curricular elements of music, digital recording technology, drama and literacy-based learning in hands-on workshops or enjoy a highly participative musical concert.

Concerts

Concert Performances, featuring Juno-nominated music, offered as an entire school concert, as divisional concerts or for one particular grade level (e.g. several Grade 4 classes combined)

Workshops

Workshop I   Right Off the Page! Creating Audio Books

Ever wonder what Dr. Seuss might do with an iPad and some recording gear? Come Play, Improvise, Experiment & “Mess Around” with Song Story & Sound in a workshop where ‘Hi-tech’ multi-tracking software (Garage Band) meets ‘No-tech’ read-aloud books. In a workshop Alive with Literacy we’ll pull stories Right Off the Page to bring our creations to life and record them as audio-books.

Suitable for Grade 4-8

Group Size:  20-30 (An entire classroom of students OR with a group of students selected from different classes.)

Workshop II  Songwriting

Explore the art of songwriting through hands-on experience in a workshop setting. Develop and hone your ability to work with ideas, lyrics, melody & groove. Create & Record a Demo of your song.  Choose to focus songwriting on curricular areas and topics of the teacher’s choosing. (Math Songs: e.g. Even Odd Numbers, Skip Counting, Common Fractions; Social Studies: Early Civilizations)

Suitable for Grades 6-8

Group Size:  15-20.  Best suited for students who ‘self-select’ and have a desire to experiment with songwriting (rather than an entire classroom group).

Workshop III   Creating Across the Curriculum Using Audio Soundscapes

Create soundscapes—multi-tracked sound collages—that include songs, stories & sound-bites using recording software (Garage Band) and high-quality recording equipment. The soundscape can be curriculum/subject area-based.

Suitable for Grades 1-8

Group Size: Choose a select groups of students (15-20) who would like to work in a particular subject area or topic OR a classroom of students (30) already exploring a curricular topic. (e.g. First Nation Peoples, Canadian landforms)

Workshop IV   Participatory Sing Song Session

This highly participatory session weaves story and song through active, invitational and playful singing.

Suitable for JK/SK

The session is shorter to match the attention span of younger children. (20-30 minutes). Enables you to book 2-3 KG groups in an hour.

Set-up requirements

Workshops can take place in the classroom, resource centre/library or other common area. Data projector and audio speakers required. (Smart board a bonus.) Concerts:  gym or resource centre/library.

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Aubrey Davis (Toronto)

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Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction picture book storyteller multi-awards all ages.

Aubrey’s rate is $375 for one session, $600 for two, $850 for 3 and $1,000 for four plus HST plus travel from Toronto.


For over 35 years, Aubrey has presented to people of all ages across North America. He loves to tell and rewrite traditional tales that make people think. Bottomless and often very funny, these ancient stories have endured because they’ve helped us understand our selves and our world. They still call to what’s best within us all. Perhaps this why his books have received so many glowing reviews and awards.

"Aubrey Davis defies superlatives. His repertoire is amazing and his ability to hold the audience’s attention is legendary. He can tell stories to preschoolers and elementary school students as well as their parents….He is very creative and chooses his stories to match the audience in front of him. The adults (teachers, parents, older students) were as mesmerized as were the children."   Penny Fransblow, Head: Norman Berman Children’s Library, Montreal, April 2012

Presentations: Aubrey tells stories from his books together with other traditional tales to people of all ages. He adapts his programs to suit the listener. With younger children, he tells simple, enticing participatory tales together with lively poems, chants and language games. For older audiences he tells more thought provoking stories, often laced with humour. With Jewish audiences he tells the tales unique to Jewish culture and those they share with other peoples.

Workshops: Humans are storytelling creatures. At all times and places people have told stories to communicate, understand and learn. It’s our nature to do so. Aubrey’s workshops build on innate, often unrecognized abilities to teach participants how to tell, write or learn through oral narrative. He adapts his workshops to suit the audience.

No limit on audience size, but I may have to adjust fees for groups over 75. I’ll need a small display table or stand, armless chair or stool and water. With large audiences I’ll need a microphone: headset, lapel or on a stand. Not handheld.

Aubrey is also available for virtual visits. Contact him to discuss details.

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