Adrienne Kress (Toronto)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Writers’ Union Member.Middle Grade, YA.Winner Heart of Hawick Award (UK). Adrienne Kress’s The Explorers has been optioned by Walt Disney Film Studios.

$300+HST for a single session; $500+HST for two sessions; $900+HST for a full day. Prices for larger groups, workshops, panels, etc., to be negotiated*. Outside the Toronto area, add kilometrage and accommodation as necessary.

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto-born actor and author with six novels to her credit, as well as essays, plays and short stories. She has spoken to children and adults in a large variety of circumstances, from school assemblies and classroom workshops to writers’ associations and conference panels. Her presentations have taken her across Canada, the United Kingdom and the US. Adrienne is a dynamic, skillful speaker, insightful, knowledgeable and fun to be with.

READINGS:

Readings based on middle grade books are geared towards children in grades 4, 5, 6 and 7.  They are 45 minutes to 11⁄2 hours in length depending on needs.  The preferred group size is up to 60 children, and the preferred site is the library, but Adrienne can speak to larger groups in other venues.  She has spoken to small groups in a cozy huddle on the floor in a library and to large groups of a couple of hundred in gyms and auditoriums.

As a passionate author, professional actor and teacher, Adrienne brings a large array of skills to her readings.  She starts with a short talk about “how a book gets published” and “working with your editors is like working with your teacher,” continues with a dramatic reading from one of the books and ends with a question period and a book signing opportunity. When her session arises from one of her more swashbuckling books, Adrienne is happy to add a fencing lesson.

PRESENTATIONS:

Presentations can be geared to any audience, for example, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs.   The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group, but is most often 1 to 11⁄2 hours in length.  The content can be individualized to suit the interests of the group, but usually covers topics like the trials and tribulations of getting published (including how to get a literary agent), the writing process, working with an editor, identifying your audience, trends in modern literature and the importance of studying past works and authors.

WORKSHOPS:

Workshops can be geared to any audience, for example, elementary school students, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs. The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group but is most often 11⁄2 hours to 3 hours in length, though it can be expanded.  The content usually covers topics like honing your writing skills, creating your own voice, creating a “world” for your writing, the use of dialogue, humour – its types and where to use it­­– identifying your audience, etc.

AWARDS:

Shortlisted for Red Cedar (BC), Audie (US audio book awards), Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, The Quill Awards. Winner of The Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award (UK)

WORKS:

Middle Grade Novels:

The Explorers – The Door in the Alley (Delcourte Random House) (optioned by Disney)

Hatter Madigan – Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X. (Automatic Publishing, with Frank Beddor)

Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate(Scholastic)

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman(Scholastic)

Young Adult Novels:

Outcast (Diversion Books, Paranormal Romance)

The Friday Society (Dial Penguin, Steampunk)

Short Stories: In Wow! 366 (UK) and Corsets and Clockwork(USA/UK)

 Essays: Collected in The Girl Who Was On Fire,The Secret Loves of GeekGirls, and CompleteGuide to Writing for Young Adults

 Plays: Sleepy Hollow (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)  A Weekend in the Country (Adult – TorontoSummerworksFestival  and Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

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Etta Kaner (Toronto)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Group size: two classes at one time

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

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

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

 

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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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Ishta Mercurio (Brampton)

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Writers' Union Member. Red Maple Non-Fiction Nominee. Writer of non-fiction science books for kids and picture books.

Fees: $200 for one one-hour presentation, $375 for two on the same day, $550 for three on the same day, $650 for a full day (four presentations). No travel costs.

Skype Visits: $75 for 1/2 an hour; $100 for one hour.

Ishta Mercurio has been an actor, an environmental activist, a behaviour therapist, and is now a children’s author of both fiction and non-fiction. The daughter of a Philippine mother and an American father, she has lived in three different countries, and brings an appreciation of diversity and sense of adventure to her writing and her presentations.

Presentations:

Everything is Connected: JK-SK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

In this presentation, Ishta uses anecdotes about her own early writing attempts, her experiments while researching her books, and her travels throughout the world to foster curiosity about the world around us, and develop the understanding that it is the connections between everything in the world that can lead to good stories. Presentations are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta expands upon the theme of finding unexpected connections, and incorporates traditional idea-generating writing and drawing exercises with improvisational theatre techniques to explore ways that an idea can grow into a story. Workshops are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Non-Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

How do we get ideas? Once we have a good idea, how do we find out more? Ishta works with children of all ages to discover how exploring the real world around us can lead to new and exciting discoveries. Workshops with Grades 7-8 include an interactive discussion about using the internet for research and how to distinguish a good, accurate source of information from a poor or inaccurate source of information.

Skype Visits: Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta offers Skype visits that cover the same ground as her presentations, but including a tour of her office and an interactive discussion about a typical day in the life of an author.

Ishta prefers to speak to groups of no more than 100 children, but she can be flexible if necessary. Writing workshops are limited to one classroom (approximately 30 children or fewer) at a time. Ishta requires a whiteboard/chalkboard or a flip chart for presentations and workshops of all sizes, and a microphone for large groups.

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Hazel Hutchins (Canmore AB)

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

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

Ages: Kindergarten to Grade 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presentation Descriptions:

Story Fun for K - Grade 2

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

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

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

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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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Karen Patkau (Toronto)

KarenPatkauwp1Toronto ON. Writers’ Union Member. Author and illustrator, nonfiction and fiction, multi-awards, JK to 6.

Karen’s fee is $275 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto.

As an author and an illustrator, Karen shares two passions in her presentations. One is her love of learning about nature. The other is the art of the picture book. Karen aims to educate and entertain, as well as to give children and teachers insight into her research method and creative process.

 

Presentation Topics
READING / RETELLING / DRAWING
JK to Grade 1 with Reading Buddies
This session includes a reading of One Hungry Heron and a retelling/drawing activity that incorporates math, language and visual art ­– OR – two half-session readings for two groups of students without reading buddies.

WHO NEEDS AN ECOSYSTEM?
Grades 2 to 5 PowerPoint Presentation
This session includes a presentation based on Karen’s Ecosystem Series: Who Needs a SWAMP?, Who Needs an ICEBERG?, Who Needs a JUNGLE?, Who Needs a DESERT?, Who Needs a PRAIRIE? and Who Needs a REEF? Students will discover how each ecosystem is a remarkable community of living things interacting with its unique environment and a contributor of life-sustaining services for the whole planet.

HOW A PICTURE BOOK IS MADE
Grades 3 to 6 PowerPoint Presentation
This session includes a presentation about the picture book illustration process and a drawing activity. Students will learn what it takes to illustrate picture books and the specifics of illustrating nonfiction. They will then analyze the composition of a landscape, draw their own scene and add imaginary elements to make a Magical Landscape. Pencils, erasers, paper and clipboards are required.

Venues, Equipment and Details
– Karen can present in a classroom, library, auditorium or gymnasium.
– Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes in length.
– PowerPoint presentations for Grades 2 to 6 are on a USB Flash Drive.
– A dark room, computer, digital projector, screen, display table and chair are required for PowerPoint presentations.
– Maximum group size for a PowerPoint presentation is 100.
– Presentations to Grades JK to 1 are without AV equipment. Chart-paper, a stand and a wall to tape up drawings are required. Students need copies of handouts, drawing materials, tables and chairs.
– Maximum group size for a Grades JK to 1 presentation is 30.
– Karen has her own voice amplifier for small rooms, but prefers a microphone for large venues.
– A ten-minute alert before the end of a session is requested.
– Please note that Karen’s surname is pronounced PAT-co.

 

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Willow Dawson (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Author / illustrator of Graphic Novels, Picture Books. Multi Awards. All ages.

550 for two sessions, $750 for three, and $900 for four plus HST and travel outside of the downtown Toronto core. Willow requests a minimum of two sessions, can be shared between two schools or libraries.

Willow Dawson has lots of experience giving presentations and workshops to kids and adults of all ages. Infact, she often presents to several different grades at the same school or library in a single day. She loves speaking about her books and more generally about comics and graphic novels, writing techniques and the illustration process. Each presentation is tailored to the needs of the group and is lively and educational with questions encouraged throughout!

Presentations by grade:

Willow likes to work with a general framework for her presentations informed by the teachers or librarians but which is open enough to accommodate the needs of the audience in the moment. She likes to let people ask questions throughout so that she is able to gauge interest areas and adjust as necessary. When she can, Willow tries to work in how she overcame the reading and writing difficulties she faced as a child only to become both an author and illustrator today! Teachers and librarians love her because her presentations are lively, informative and inspiring.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to grade 2 – two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($375+HST) using The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 2 to 3 – 60 minutes: Storytelling session plus Q&A on The Wolf-Birds.

Grades 4 to 7 – 60 minutes. Presentations include an overview of the book of choice with a bit of historical background and information on how she creates a graphic novel, including: research, writing, illustrating, editing and revising.

Avis Dolphin: World War I, the sinking of the Lusitania, life in the 1910’s, friendship, the power of storytelling, survival. Collaborating with an author.

Hyena in Petticoats: Nellie McClung, The Famous Five, early Canada, feminism, women’s rights, suffrage, enfranchisement, The Persons Case. Life in the 1920’s – 1940’s.

No Girls Allowed: Hatshepsut, Mu Lan, Alfhild, Esther Brandeau, James Barry, Ellen Craft, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, girls dressed as boys, women’s rights. Collaborating with an author.

Grades 7 to 12 – 60 minutes. Biography, autobiography and memoir. Willow uses the above books as well as her ongoing work on 100 Mile House (memoir) to discuss the differences and similarities, challenges and joys of writing biography, autobiography and memoir graphic novels. This presentation includes personal stories and anecdotes, including how she found her voice and became an author and illustrator.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to Grade 3. 100+ for everyone else.
Workshops work best with smaller groups, around 15-20 participants.

Graphic Novel Workshop Topics:

Character Development
Creating Tension and Drama, Creating Humour
Panel Transitions
Words and Pictures
Writing Engaging Dialogue
From Script to Thumbnails
Art Stages: Penciling, Inking, Colouring (includes an overview of design and lettering)
Other topics upon request

These workshops can be adjusted to suit the needs of any age group. They also work well for Writers’ Craft classes.

Writer-in-Residence Program:

3-10 (or more) sessions. 60-120 minutes each. Participants get in-depth, hands on experience with each stage of the process of creating a comic or graphic novel, as well as a window into the worlds of self-publishing (‘zines and webcomics) and publishing (working with Editors, Art directors, and Publishers). Each stage of the process is handled in a separate session with an end goal of developing their stories into finished 1-3 page comics that are then photocopied and bound together as a small, collective comics ‘zine.

All Venues are acceptable.

Equipment required: A glass of water, a table for her presentation materials. A microphone for larger groups. A laptop, screen and projector for PowerPoint.

Willow sends her PowerPoint ahead of time. Please ensure it is set up and ready to go prior to her arrival.

Handouts will be sent for the teacher and/or librarian to photocopy in advance, along with a list of any materials the students may need if there is a workshop. Workshops require desks or tables and chairs for participants.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation or workshop.

 

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Celia Godkin (Ottawa-Kingston)

Frankville ON. Writers' Union Member. Author/illustrator of information story books on natural science, grades K-6.

Fees: $250 plus HST per reading, plus expenses ($0.42/km for travel if driving).

Celia has enjoyed a number of complementary and overlapping careers that combine her love of art and nature. She’s worked as a biologist, a natural science illustrator, and a teacher of studio arts courses. However, the work that gives her the greatest sense of fulfillment and for which she’s best known is as the author and illustrator of award-winning children’s nature books.

BOOK READINGS

Presentations involve reading one of the books listed below, accompanied by projected images of the illustrations. This is followed by a question and answer period and then – depending on the school’s interests and requirements - Celia usually talks about how a book is put together, including the research, writing and illustration process. As an alternative for younger grades (K-2) she tells the story of Flying Lessons with puppets.

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World. The inspiring story of how the peregrine falcon was saved from the brink of disaster.

Hurricane! The impact of severe storms on wildlife and how natural habitats help to protect human communities.

Fire! The Regeneration of a Forest. Forest ecology and the impact of fires on forest plants and animals.

When the Giant Stirred: Legend of a Volcanic Island. Polynesians read the signs of an imminent volcanic eruption and respond appropriately. How life returns to the island after it is destroyed.

Sea Otter Inlet. The kelp forest ecosystem and why sea otters are an essential part of it.

Ladybug Garden. Harmful and beneficial insects and why pesticides may not be the best way to get rid of garden pests.

Wolf Island. A story in which wolves are the good guys. Food chains, food webs and population dynamics.

EQUIPMENT: Setup for power point presentation; laptop, projector and screen.

ROOM: A quiet area such as a library or classroom, where there are minimal distractions. Children attend best if seated comfortably on chairs or carpet. The room should be one that can be darkened sufficiently for good viewing of images.

AUDIENCE: 30 – 60 children, grades K – 6, recommended but negotiable.

 

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