Fonda Lee (USA) (White Pine)

Born and raised in Calgary, Fonda Lee is now a US resident residing in Portland, OR.  For this reason, Fonda cannot provide a Canadian VSS clearance. She will, however, obtain an Oregon background check if that is required by a booking host.

Fonda Writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Multiple awards including Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton finalist, ALA Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, White Pine Award nominee. Grades 8-12.

$325 plus local travel expenses for one session, $500 for a half day, $1000 for a full day (max 4 sessions). 30-minute Skype visits for $100. Booking visits during the week May 14 - 18.

Fonda Lee is the author of Zeroboxer and the Exo series, both Junior Library Guild Selections and shortlisted for multiple honors including the White Pine award. She is also the author of the Green Bone Saga, an epic fantasy series for adult readers. Fonda’s books have been praised for their intense action, moral complexity, immersive world building, and appeal to reluctant readers. Fonda is a black belt martial artist and former corporate strategist.

About Fonda’s Presentations:

An experienced and dynamic public speaker, Fonda Lee has made appearances at conferences and conventions around the country. She speaks to students in grades 8-12 about the writing and publishing process, the role of research, and the science and scientific issues in her novels. She also conducts writing workshops on idea generation, story planning, and writing action scenes. She is happy to work with educators to adapt presentations for their needs.

From Spark to Shelf

A behind the scenes look at the writing and publishing process, from an idea in the author’s head to a book on the shelf. Fonda will take the audience through her own experience and those of other authors, examining how books are inspired, written, sold, and published, with an emphasis on research, revision, and perseverance. She’ll talk about why she writes science fiction and fantasy, how she made a dramatic career change in becoming an author, and answer student questions.

 Science and Science Fiction

An author talk that can easily fit into the science curriculum as well. Fonda discusses the scientific issues, ideas, and ethics she explores in her fiction, including space travel and planetary colonization, genetic engineering, and other future technologies. Fonda will talk about the role of science fiction and why she writes it, the importance of doing research and getting the science right, and interesting new advancements science fiction writers are tackling today.

The Story Only You Can Write

A creative writing focused lecture and workshop on how to generate ideas and turn those ideas into unique and personal stories, how to plan a piece of irresistible writing, and the good habits writers need to have. Includes short writing exercises and student participation in sharing their creative ideas.

Presentation Requirements:

Fonda speaks to audiences of all sizes. She will bring her own computer and adapter. Please provide a projector and screen, audio system, a bottle of water, and a microphone for large rooms or audiences.

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Nadia L. Hohn (Toronto)

The Writers Union member. Picture book. All ages. $250 for 1 session (60 min) $450 for 2, $350 for 2 x 30 minute sessions (great for JK to 1). Full day (4 sessions) $800. + kilometrage.

Malaika’s Costume (2016) and Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017).

Nadia L. Hohn B.A. (Hon.), B.Ed., M.Ed. is an author and illustrator who delivers interactive presentations with arts and culture.

Toronto-born of Jamaican parents, Nadia L. Hohn is passionate about diversity in the children's book industry.  Nadia L. Hohn is a teacher and the author of two picture books-- Malaika’s Costume (2016) and Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher and published by Groundwood Books.  She is also the author of Music (Grade 5) and Media (Grade 6) books in the Sankofa Black Heritage Collection series published in 2015 by Rubicon Publishing Inc.  Nadia has an upcoming early reader about Harriet Tubman to be published by HarperCollins in 2019 and she is currently working on other books.

Presentation Details

Caribbean Playground (Malaika’s Costume/Malaika’s Winter Carnival)      K to Grade 3, Educator version also available, 30-90 minutes

Explore Caribbean songs, rhymes, and games that Malaika would learn and play in her schoolyard. This is an interactive, lively and musical workshop featuring a reading of Malaika’s Costume or Malaika’s Winter Carnival, musical instruments, and storytelling as well.  Educators will gain African-Caribbean songs, rhymes, and games that you can share with your Kindergarten to Grade 3 students.

Carnival Adventure (Malaika’s Costume/Malaika’s Winter Carnival) K to 12, 60-150 min                      

Come join the Carnival!  Learn about the history of Carnival in the Caribbean through dance, costume, a slideshow, and music.  Who can’t forget the limbo?  Depending on group size, we’ll even get to design our own costume as a group or individually or design your own Carnival headpiece.  This is an interactive, lively and musical workshop featuring a reading of Malaika’s Costume or Malaika’s Winter Carnival.  (Materials cost is extra for crafts.)

Beyond Black History Month: African-Canadian Experiences through the Arts (Sankofa Media and Music, Malaika’s Costume, Malaika’s Winter Carnival) Grade 5 to 12, Educator, 45-120 min

Songs, images, and other forms of media create windows into the Caribbean peoples who have made contributions to Canada.  Through the Sankofa series books, Music and Media, as well as Malaika's Costume, students will take part in dramatic arts activities such as role playing and readers’ theatre.  In addition, they will deconstruct video and audio clips that explore the history and experiences of African descended people in Canada and the diaspora and enhance their understanding of the book.

Write-Your-Own or Customized Workshops available upon request, Grades 1 to 12, Adults 60-180 min

Have you ever wanted to write your own children’s book?  Song?  Rap?  Or an alternate genre?  I can help you.  This workshop helps you to come out with a finished piece.

African-Caribbean OR Diverse Children and Young Adult Authors Panel, Adults 60-90 min

This would be a panel of 3 to 5 children and young adult authors discussing such questions.  What is the importance of diverse kidlit in 2017?  What are some barriers for diverse children and young adult authors (if any)?  What are your books about?  Do your main characters deal with issues of diversity (e.g., racism, identity, prejudice, islamophobia)?  What diverse books do we need in 2017?

Malaika’s Costume and/or Malaika’s Winter Carnival STEAM Day

STEAM or STEM are existing programs and curricula that integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math into critically engaging with students and helping them to reach their full-potential.  The workshop includes Carnival arts and history, drafting, design, exhibition/community sharing, and discussion.

IDEAL AUDIENCE SIZE: 10-60

MAXIMUM AUDIENCE SIZE: 200

GRADES: Kindergarten-Grade 12, staff-specific workshops

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Not required but it is often the most fun if we have a flip chart. For larger audiences, a projector and screen is very helpful.

You will also require a stereo-system or CD player to play music that will be part of the presentation.

A table for display purposes.

Voice projection is needed for larger groups, especially if the presentation is in a gymnasium.

For arts and crafts workshops, the materials will need to be provided by the school.  Otherwise, the author can provide these for a nominal material cost.

Regretfully, because she is a TDSB employee, Nadia is not currently able to accept visits within that school board, but she welcomes all other inquiries.

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Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

Booking for May 2018 Writers Union Member. A professional liar since 1988, Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. He’s also a keynote speaker, television screenwriter, radio dramatist, and raconteur.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of his sessions include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment needs:

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

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Ella Burakowski (Toronto)

ella-burakowskiwp1aToronto. Writer’s Union Member. Red Maple Honour book. Middle grade. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session which includes a question and answer period, is approximately 1 hour.) Author of Hidden Gold, A True Story of the Holocaust. Regular columnist for The Canadian Jewish News.

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

Ella's book Hidden Gold won the Ontario Library Association's 2017 honour book award in the Forest of Reading Red Maple Non-Fiction category.

Ella’s presentation includes two parts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Author of books for grades K - middle grade. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). Each session is approximately 1 hour and for younger grades, two 30 minute sessions = a single session fee.

Besides being the author of a range of stories for children, Casey is a library branch assistant experienced in running programs for both elementary and high-school-aged students. Casey aims to entertain and inform while leaving her audience excited about creating their own stories.

Writing Workshops: $400. (Approximately 90 minutes each.)

Virtual Visits: 60 minute Skype visits are also available for $150 a session.

Travel fees: No travel fee if booking within 100km of London, or 150km if booking for a full day. Neighbouring schools can split the full day cost.

Presentation Details:

Casey takes students on an in-depth, behind the scenes look at her path to publication. She shares every part of the process: elementary school writing, failed projects, rejection and editorial letters, as well as revised and finished manuscripts. She offers tips and tricks for finishing a story and how to tackle the dreaded revisions. Other topics Casey will touch on include developing characters, the elements of a mystery, writing with humour, surviving rejection, the value of persistence, and how to find your voice as a writer.

Casey is a very flexible presenter and will adapt her program to suit any audience of grades K and up.

Writing Workshops are also available for smaller groups and run for approximately 90 minutes. (Maximum size is one class.)

Workshop topics available:

Building Your Story - focus on creating a story arc, writing dialogue that crackles, and developing characters and setting.

Making Your Story Shine – focus on pacing, building tension, deepening relationships between characters, and sticking the ending. (Students should have an in-progress story to work on during the session.)

Venue: Casey prefers to present in a classroom or library space.  Maximum group size per session is 3 classes or approximately 100 students. A librarian, teacher, or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation (or workshop if the group is a full class.)

Equipment required: a glass/bottle of water and a table. A microphone for larger groups if the room acoustics require it. Lunch if booked for a full day presentation.

Casey will also deliver presentations for adult writers as well as educators looking to start a student writers’ workshop. Listed pricing would apply.

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Darren Groth (Vancouver)

Darren Groth 3Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member. YA. Aussie adopted by Canada; GG Finalist,  BC Book Prizes, multi awards in Australia. Fees: $300 for 1 session, $500 for 2, $700 for 3, $850 for 4 (plus HST). Because. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools.

For the GTA (and Toronto bookings near GO stations), Darren can GO TRAIN (not buses or subway) travel both ways all day; he requires pick up and drop off at the GO stations. Where GO Trains are not feasible, car or taxi pick-up from Darren’s hotel is requested.

Bio: Darren is a Canozzie (Canadian-Australian), ex-PE teacher, proud ASD parent and author of five novels, including the acclaimed YA work ‘Are You Seeing Me?’, winner of the 2016 Adelaide Festival Award for YA Literature (Australia) and finalist for seven major prizes on both sides of the Pacific including the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the BC Book Prizes.

Presentations: Despite his occasional confounding accent and Aussie-isms, Darren is a brilliant speaker and presenter for schools, libraries and writing organizations. Presentations include:

  • ‘Seven Pieces of Priceless Advice from Perry’; an entertaining insight into the decorated YA novel ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ and an exploration of life lessons provided by protagonist, Perry Richter; includes two interactive games with prizes: ‘AYSM Numbers’ and ‘Jackie Chan or Ogopogo’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.
  • ‘Coming to Canada’; a reflective and humourous look at cultural difference in Darren’s fiction, teaching and real life; includes one interactive game with prizes: ‘Aussie Interpretations’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.

Workshops: Darren is a facilitator highly skilled in co-operative learning techniques. His sessions are designed to not only produce great writing, but also great collaboration. Workshops include:

  • ‘Authorship: The FAQ’; a comprehensive and interactive overview of ‘insider’ author knowledge; includes five co-operative group exercises; half-day, only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Seeing is Believing’; a flyover of the ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ journey, from conception to publication; includes two co-operative group exercises; 60-90 minutes; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Small Stories, Big Dreams: Adventures in Flash Fiction’; a deep dive into the world of flash fiction, its craft, its creation and its publishing opportunities; includes multiple writing exercises, an open mike session, and a competition/prizes; half- or full day; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.

Equipment requirements: Water, tea, lunch (Vegemite sandwich lol) if staying for the day. A screen and projector for Power Point.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 30 minutes; $150 plus HST, 60 minutes Skype.

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L. E. Carmichael, PhD (Trenton)

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

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

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

Presentations:

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

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

Grades K-3: Laura and the Locusts

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

Grades 3-6: Decoding Domestication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Karen Bass (Hamilton ON)

 

Hamilton. Writers' Union Member. MG + Teen fiction, Canadian history, Indigenous folklore, WWII, German perspective, YA, Geoffrey Bilson, CLA YA, multiple award-winner.

$275 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions), plus HST and mileage.

Skype rate: $100 + HST for a 45 minute session.

Karen is passionate about reading and loves making history come alive for readers. She frequently shares her broad WWII knowledge with groups of people from 10 years old to seniors. And she has done workshops with students as young as grade three, though usually focuses on secondary students and adults. She not-so-secretly loves action and adventure, with a splash of fantasy.

Presentations:

Karen is an enthusiastic presenter and likes to interact with students. She brings props and costumes, and loves to bring her historical knowledge to life by showing students what they would have experienced, during WWII and in pre-Confederation Canada. Almost all presentations touch on the writing process and, especially, the importance of revising.

Examples of presentations by grade:

3 to 6: Writing Workshop – Details & Descriptions. A sixty-minute interactive romp that encourages students to improve their storytelling using metaphors and strong verbs & adjectives.

Two Times a Traitor: (4 to 8) pre-Confederation, history, Canadian history, 7 Years War, life in 1700s, identity, French & English conflict. Powerpoint pictures with costume/props.

The Hill: identity, Indigenous stories, Indigenous folklore, Cree legend, Cree culture. Indigenous in modern society, cultural conflict, economic disparity. Powerpoint pictures.

5 to 12: The WWII history in Karen’s stories, with age-appropriate anecdotes. With Powerpoint pictures & props.

Uncertain Soldier: identity, immigration, coming to Canada, bullying, racism, WWII, prisoners of war, living in the 1940s.

Graffiti Knight: freedom of expression, protest movements, graffiti as protest, WWII, Soviet Zone, post-WWII Germany, living in war-torn countries.

Run Like Jager: friendship, bullying, student exchange programs, immigration, WWII, Germany, Eastern Front in WWII.

7 to 12 & Adult Workshop Topics: characters, plot, dialogue, writing action. Other topics upon request.

Maximum group size: 40-50 for optimum interaction in talks, 100 with microphone. 16 or so for workshops.

All venues. Libraries preferred.

Equipment required: a table, water, laptop & projector for Powerpoint, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

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Rene Schmidt (Trenton)

Trenton ON, Writers' Union Member. Author of best-selling Canadian Disasters series, RM Honour Book Leaving Fletchville.

$250 for one session, $350 for two, $500 for three and for $700 for four sessions. No travel charge within 100 km of Trenton Ontario. As a retired teacher, René is familiar with curriculum requirements and themes and can direct his presentations to specific topics or subject areas.  Just ask.

René brings wide experiences to your class or large group assembly. He has worked at hard-rock mining, truck driving, high-rise construction work, officer trainee on a lake freighter, acting and teaching, and has traveled by bicycle, motorcycle, canoe and truck through North America and Europe. Recently he taught Senior Drama at a local high school.  René is an engaging story-teller who uses various voices, props, and vivid details to hold his audience’s attention. Large or small groups will find themselves drawn to his accessible and high-interest stories of fiction and non-fiction.

René’s best-selling books on Canadian Disasters have been in school libraries since 1985 and now include four editions. These Scholastic Canada books have many accurate and fast-paced stories of Canada’s dangerous past and present. René’s award-winning fiction novel, Leaving Fletchville, is a heart-warming tale that deals with racism, fatherhood, friendship, courage and dealing with authority. Leaving Fletchville was a Red Maple Honour book. Whatever the topic, small or large groups of students are held spellbound by René’s voices and accents. The recent discoveries of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror open the portal to René’s PowerPoint presentation on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. René has up-to-date details, compelling photos and proof of the accuracy of Inuit theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

Presentation Details

As a retired teacher René know how to engage and hold an audience’s attention. He can easily adapt to any size audience or age group and he loves to answer questions. He will use your Smart Board or data projector to enhance some of these presentations. Students enjoy original verse or poetry he creates to expound on his stories.  The recently discovered wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are the focus of his presentation on Sir John Franklin and the doomed Franklin Expedition. Rene has the little-know details, the gruesome photos and various contradictory theories to share with your class.   Tell René what your curriculum needs are and wait for a pleasant surprise.

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Charis Cotter (NF)

Newfoundland. Writers' Union Member. Multiple award-winner. Silver Birch 2016 Honour Book. Fiction, Newfoundland ghost stories, writing workshops. Grades 4 to 6.

Her rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two sessions, plus HST and kilometrage.

Charis has an engaging, playful approach to writing and storytelling that draws an enthusiastic response from students. She has toured schools and libraries across Canada, thrilling audiences with her Newfoundland ghost stories and her unique, imagination-based writing workshops.

Haunted Newfoundland: Ghost Stories from the Rock
For some reason, Newfoundland has more ghosts than anywhere else. Ghosts in the ocean, ghosts on the barrens, ghosts in lighthouses, and ghosts at kitchen parties. Using stories she has collected herself, Charis takes her audience on a creepy tour of that very haunted island. Some stories go back hundreds of years, like the Old Hollies, said to be the victims of shipwrecks, who are heard screaming in the wind just before a bad storm. Charis tells the mysterious true story of her book, The Ferryland Visitor, about a family who has just moved to a lonely lighthouse. Then she describes an unsettling experience she had herself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night. She finishes the performance with a dramatic story about ghostly footsteps in Bay de Verde in the 1920s. At the end of the presentation, Charis talks about her books and answers questions about writing and ghosts.
75 minutes. Grades 4 to 6. 125 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Table. Chair.

Walk into Your Story: A Writing Workshop
Charis presents a writing workshop based on her novel, The Painting, where 12-year-old Annie walks inside a painting of a lighthouse in Newfoundland. After a dramatized reading from The Painting, Charis leads the students through a series of visualizations, using Annie’s experience of walking inside a painting as a model to illustrate how to imagine a story. Students create the details of an imaginary world, create a character and begin to develop the plot of their story. Along the way, Charis shares some thoughts about her inspiration and writing process for The Painting. At the end of the workshop, she talks about her books and answers questions about the writing life.

75 minutes. Grades 4 to 6. 60 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Easel or whiteboard with markers, table, chair.

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R.J. Anderson (Stratford ON)

Writers' Union Member. Author of thrilling yet thought-provoking speculative fiction for children and teens. $300 for one hour-long session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for a full day, plus mileage for visits outside local area. Willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius from Stratford (which includes most of the GTA); open to travelling further if accommodation and meals are provided.

R. J. (Rebecca) Anderson was born to missionary parents in Uganda, grew up in various parts of Ontario, and has become a bestselling author in England, to her great surprise and delight. Having endured years of bullying in primary school, she loves to encourage creative young minds and inspire readers to think deeply about prejudice and discrimination.

Presentations and Workshops:

Rebecca is a dynamic public speaker with 20+ years’ experience. Her passion is to inspire and educate young and upcoming writers, helping them find their creative voice and take their storytelling to the next level with practical, down-to-earth advice. She also gives lively dramatic readings — no droning or mumbling here!

Although she writes fantasy, Rebecca’s stories are grounded in real-world history, folklore and science, and many of her books feature distinctly Canadian characters and settings. Ultraviolet is set in Sudbury, its companion novel Quicksilver in Kitchener-Waterloo; and A Pocket Full of Murder and its sequel A Little Taste of Poison take place in an alternate-universe version of Toronto during the Great Depression. Her books also touch on serious discussion topics such as prejudice and discrimination (Pocket), disability (Knife), mental illness and neurodivergence (Ultraviolet), and Quicksilver has been widely praised for its frank but sensitive portrayal of asexuality.

In addition to visiting numerous schools, libraries, festivals, and after-school book clubs in person and via Skype, Rebecca has taught writing workshops at a wide variety of events including Packaging Your Imagination, SCBWI Canada East, Write!Canada, Book Camp London, and the Young Authors’ Conference. She is able to tailor her content to the needs and interests of her audience, including Christian and other conservative religious schools, and is happy to work with any age group from Grade 4 to adult.

Sample presentations for general school and library audiences:
- From Brainstorm to Bookstore: The Life Cycle of a Novel
- I Became an Author – You Could Too!
- The Real-World Roots of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Sample writing workshops:
- Finding Your Character’s Voice
- Revision: The Magic Key to Successful Writing
- Writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
- Get (Un)Real: Writing Authentic Fantasy and SF
- Time Management and Motivation for Struggling Writers

Further topics available on request.

Needs:

Microphone for large audiences or rooms with poor acoustics. A small podium or note-stand and a table for books and other items used in the presentation. Bottled water or hot tea appreciated, and for full day bookings, a simple bagged or cafeteria lunch.

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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.

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)

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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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Rona Arato (Toronto)

 

RonaArato2Writers Union Member. Historical fiction, non-fiction and biography. Multiple award winner and accomplished speaker.

Rona’s rate is $250 per one-hour session, $450 for two sessions, $700 for three sessions and $900 for a full day. There is no travel charge within the GTA. For travel outside the GTA, the standard kilometrage applies. Virtual visits are $250 for a one-hour presentation.

Rona is an accomplished speaker. She is comfortable with audiences of children and adults. Rona has spoken at schools, libraries, historical societies, and conferences. She conducts writing classes and workshops for all age groups.

As a former teacher, Rona understands what teachers and school librarians want from an author’s visit. She uses an interactive reading/discussion approach to involve children and excite their curiosity. Rona links her presentations to current issues such as immigration, bullying, and social responsibility. A theme that runs through much of her work is that one person can, and often does, make a significant difference. By involving the children in examining these issues, she helps them think about the way they interact with friends, family and the community at large.

Rona has a PowerPoint presentation for each book, with images that bring the stories to life. For example, for The Last Train, a Holocaust Story, she has pictures taken by the American soldiers who liberated the death train. Her presentation for Working for Freedom, the Story of Josiah Henson, includes pictures that are excellent for Black History month.  For Ice Cream Town, her pictures include historic photos of New York’s Lower East Side, and Ellis Island. For her latest book, The Ship to Nowhere, on Board the Exodus, her presentation includes pictures of the historic ship, the refugees on board and her protagonist, Rachel and her family.

Rona’s presentations are PowerPoint and she requires an LCD projector (provided by the school or library), a screen, and a microphone if speaking in an auditorium or gym. If a laptop is available, she will bring her presentation on a USB flash drive. If not, she will bring her own laptop.

Rona teaches several workshops including one on the difference between fiction and non-fiction and a creative writing workshop that she calls “Painting with Words,” on how to make stories come alive.

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Natale Ghent (Toronto)

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

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

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

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

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

Please contact for maximum group size for presentations.

Maximum group sizes for workshops: 16

Workshop topics:

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

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

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Vicki Grant (NS) (Red Maple)

vickigrant Halifax, NS. Writers' Union Member. YA fiction, mysteries, comic thrillers and high/low novels. Multi awards including Red Maple, Arthur Ellis and CBC Young Canada Reads. Grades 5 through 12.

Vicki's fees are $300 plus local travel and HST for 1 session, $575 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1000 for 4. Neighbouring schools can split discounts for multiple sessions.

Vicki Grant has been called “a superb storyteller” (The Canadian Children’s Book Centre) with “a wonderful sense of comedy” (CM Magazine). She began her career creating award-winning ads for Chiat-Day and McCann-Erickson, moved on to writing for Theodore Tugboat, Big Comfy Couch and her own Gemini–winning series, Scoop & Doozie, before finding her true calling as a YA novelist. Her comic mysteries and high/low novels have been shortlisted for a slew of awards in Canada and the US. Her latest novel, 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You, has been sold to 17 territories worldwide. Vicki has also written, directed and produced three CBC-TV documentaries.

Presentations and workshops

Vicki’s presentations have also consistently won rave reviews from students, teachers and librarians.

“Down-to-earth, funny, and informative.” Dan Rolo, Monsignor Uyen Catholic School

“An excellent combination of telling about a writer's creative journey and sharing some of the practical realities of a writing career.” Colleen Pierce-Price, Gloucester High School

“A wonderful rapport with students of any age.” Tracy Hamilton, Ellenvale Junior High

The idea here is to have fun so Vicki likes to gear presentations to the interests of the class (and sneak in some of the stuff the teacher’s interested in too…) She speaks primarily about novels and what goes into making them funny and/or scary and/or enough to break your heart, but is also delighted to discuss her experience in television, documentary and advertising writing.

Presentations are generally one-hour long and workshops, two hours. Vicki has a particular interest in comic fiction, mysteries and reluctant readers.

Ages: Students Grades 5 through 12. Vicki also gives workshops for educators on teaching creative writing.

All Venues, library or classroom preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water and lunch if staying for the day. A microphone for larger groups. A screen and projector for powerpoint.

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

 

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Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing Workshops

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

Some sample workshops she has designed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Arthur Slade (SK)

Saskatoon, SK. Writers' Union Member.  Fiction & Graphic Novels, Governor General’s Award Winner, TD Children’s Book Award Winner. Grades 4+. $375 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4. Travel fees waived for Toronto bookings. Arthur will travel by Go Transit to venues in the GTA but requests a pick-up/drop-off at the GO station.

Arthur Slade is a dynamic presenter and the author of seventeen novels for young adults and one graphic novel. His books have been sold worldwide and include DUST, JOLTED, MEGIDDO’S SHADOW, and THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS series. He has done over a thousand presentations in Canada, the United States, and Europe both in person and virtually.

Arthur Slade is a self admitted “geek” who is completely committed to entertaining and educating his audience. His audio/visual presentations are a mixture of music, video, images and creativity and, most importantly, content: where do ideas come from? How is a book created? How does one become an author? Arthur has a large variety of books and topics to choose from, everything from steampunk, fantasy and horror to World War One and the creation of graphic novels. He designs his presentations for the specific age ranges and interest of his audience. His books are most popular with grades four to eight, but he has done numerous presentations with higher grades and adult groups. He will speak to any size audience. He has taught workshops in Banff and worked as the Writer in Residence for Regina Public Library so he also enjoys giving workshops to children and adults.

All venues, library preferred.
Equipment required: screen and projector & a glass of water

Virtual Visits: $250.00 + HST, 60 minutes, Skype/Google Talk/iChat

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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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