Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of his sessions include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment needs:

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

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Lisa Lawrence (Edmonton, Alberta)

White Pine nominee for YA novel Rodent. Writers' Union Member. Available for school or library visits (accessible by public transit) in the Toronto area on May 15, 17, 18, and 19, 2017. $200 for a 45 – 60 minute session and $150 for subsequent sessions in the same school. No travel costs. Available Fridays for Skype visits ($100 for 45 – 60 minutes).

Lisa grew up as a free-range kid in small towns in British Columbia and Alberta. She could often be found in the library during summer vacations or hammering away at an old typewriter. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in Romance Languages, an MA in Italian Studies, and a B.Ed in Secondary Education. She currently works as a teacher and writer in Edmonton, where she lives with her husband and three children. Rodent is her first novel.

Lisa’s presentations are intended for students in grades 7 and up (ages 12 to adult). They include a reading and discussions with students about finding the writing spark, the writing and editing process, tips for aspiring writers, and any other questions or interests students have. As a relatively new writer, she engages with youth who someday hope to publish their work, those who enjoy reading, or those who are simply curious about the behind-the-scenes process.

Class sizes can be negotiated, with preference to groups of 40 students or less at one time.

All venues.

Needs: A bottle or glass of water while presenting, for the teacher to be in attendance, and lunch if presenting to classes in the morning and afternoon at the same school.

 

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Mike Deas (Salt Spring Island, BC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Judith Graves (Alberta)

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Writers Union Member. Golden Oak Nominee. Award-winning author and screenwriter, entertaining and engaging speaker utilizes multi-media in presentations, drawing on clips from music videos, TV and film to illustrate the concepts covered.

$350 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3, and $1000 for 4, plus travel and accommodation. Visiting Ontario around the time of the Golden Oak Award, May 27 to June 3rd.

Judith is also the co-publisher of a small press and works as a library technician in an elementary school. She sees the publishing industry and literacy promotion from many perspectives and her presentations reflect this. Judith has presented writing workshops and keynote addresses to teachers, library staff, students, and writer groups – during conferences, professional development events, author panels, as well as through numerous school and library visits. She also writes new-adult fiction under the pen name, Judith Tewes.

Judith offers a variety of workshop topics that can be modified to suit the intended audience.

Super Heroes With or Without Capes (Grades 3-6)

Super stories need super heroes – characters willing to take risks, embark on epic quests, and face their greatest fears. Capes are completely optional. Discover the various types of characters that already exist in books, film, and TV, and how you can use these to develop your own heroes worthy of fandom.

Screenwriting to Die For (Grade 7-12 and Adults)
Novelist and screenwriter, Judith Graves offers a general introduction to screenwriting by examining story structure, character development, and the art of sharp dialogue. From gripping logline to epic showdown, Graves features tips and tricks from the world of screenwriting that apply to creating fiction in any format.

Horror Fiction to Die For (Grade 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, helps you dig deep and unearth the killer themes lurking in your horror and thriller fiction. This genre isn’t just writing tales of blood and guts – it’s creating fiction to DIE for. Learn how to get under your reader’s skin, play on their primal fears, and hold mirrors up to their own inner monsters. These FANGtasic tips will keep your readers turning the page…to the dire end.

Fan Fiction to Die For (Grades 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, explores the origins of fan fiction, its appeal for youth and adults alike, and how teachers can use this growing format in the classroom. Learn how fanfic writing challenges and mashups can spark interest in creative writing, as well as build and stretch student writing muscles.

Author Visits to Die For (Adults/Teachers/Library Staff)
Judith Graves offers an overview of what makes a virtual author visit successful, the technology basics, and how to connect students or library patrons with authors willing to provide this wonderfully interactive (and inexpensive!) service.

Publishing Tips to Die For (Adults)
Join middle grade/young adult author and co-publisher of Leap Books, Judith Graves, for a look at the dynamic worlds of middle grade and young adult fiction. She’ll share tips for navigating the various roads to publication and how to market your work once it’s out in the world. If you’re writing children’s fiction and want more information about the publishing industry, query process, book marketing, etc…this is the session for you.

Library or classroom and an audience size of 30-60 is preferred. Equipment required: display table, projector and speakers, microphone and PA system for larger groups or gym presentations.

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Kira Vermond (Guelph)

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Guelph. Writer’s Union Member. Silver Birch (Non-fiction) nominee 2017. Kira Vermond is an award-winning author of four non-fiction children’s books and 1,500+ articles for adult and children’s magazines, newspapers and websites.

$250 for one hour-long session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. (Outside local area, multiple presentations preferred and can be shared with partnering school.) Writing workshop rate is $400 + HST for a two hours. No travel charges within the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area.

Kira received her first (friendly) rejection letter from a kids' magazine when she was 11, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to be a writer. Today, she’s a busy author, journalist and winner of last year’s Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. Her favourite part of being a writer? Talking to kids (and adults) about writing! Those who have attended her sessions have described them as, “amazing, informative, entertaining, cool, educational and fun.” She didn’t even have to pay these people (much)….

Presentation: We’re all liars! (And that’s normal) 

You were probably taught that honesty is the best policy. So why do your parents ask you to pretend you like all your birthday gifts, even Aunt Dora’s knitted dinosaur sweater? Does “being polite” mean lying? And aren’t card players encouraged to bluff when they play poker? Talk about mixed messages! This fun and thoughtful presentation will guide students (grades 4-6) through the ethically complex maze we call deception.

From the moment we jump out of bed in the morning until we climb back in at night, we’re living with so many different sneaky lies, cheats, frauds, and deceptions, we don’t even realize they’re there! We’ll cover food fraud, bogus advertising, the placebo effect, online trickery and cheating at school (plus how to stop). Finally, we’ll prove there’s a 100% accurate lie detection method (about 50% of the time).

From spaghetti farmers in Switzerland, to rattlesnakes in ball pits (eek!) and compulsive liars who just can’t stop, this interactive and fascinating session based on Half-truths and Brazen Lies will give students something to think about long after it’s over. (Honest!)

Special for Forest of Reading! As a way to celebrate reading, drawing and their book’s Silver Birch nomination, Kira Vermond and illustrator Clayton Hanmer will present together to a select number of schools in 2017! Clayton has a decade of experience “live drawing” in front of an audience. See how their engaging and hilarious rapport on the page translates to real life. Please book at least two months in advance to accommodate combined schedules. Contact for fee details.

For other presentation topics (money, bullying and cliques, why we live where we live, writing non-fiction, adult writing workshops, Q&A, etc.) please inquire using the contact form below.

Maximum number of students per session: Up to 80 students. Smaller groups (20-35) tend to work best. I’m comfortable presenting in the classroom, library, auditorium, and gymnasium. Please provide a glass of water and access to a black or white board with writing supplies. I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be present throughout presentations.

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R.J. Anderson (Stratford ON)

Silver Birch nominee. 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 5 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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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

Writers’ Union Member. Niagara, ON. Teacher. Nominated for a 2017 Silver Birch Nonfiction award. Grades 3 to 8. $250 for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three, $800 for four, plus travel. Happy to do multiple visits in the same school or area in a day. Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes long. Skype visits $150 (45 to 60 min).

Sue Irwin enjoys every step of the writing process. A proud Canadian and avid hockey fan, she’s especially interested in the lives of her fellow-citizens, both famous and not-yet-famous. And she loves to share newly discovered facts with kids. Her work has appeared in AppleSeeds and Highlights for Children magazines. She has also written for Reading A-Z. Safety Stars: Players who fought to make the hard-hitting game of professional hockey safer is her first book.

An elementary school teacher, Sue is comfortable doing presentations with children from JK to Grade 8, but the subject matter of her book Safety Stars is most suitable for students in Grades 5 to 8. (Resource Guide.)

Having been a fan of the sport for as long as she can remember, Sue thought she knew the game well. But as she conducted her research for the book, she was excited to learn more about the history of the game, its rules, and the competitors themselves. All of the hockey players featured in Safety Stars are Canadian citizens, and many grew up in Ontario. When Sue comes to your school, she’ll highlight the hockey heroes from your hometown, whenever possible. Prepare to be surprised by the fun facts that she’ll share!

Sue’s presentation topics include:

– how she became interested in hockey. She’ll share memories of her first (embarrassing!) game experience.

– the exciting world of nonfiction

– the process of writing for publication (includes researching, writing, and revising)

– Ha, Ha! Hockey Talk (includes hockey trivia and funny quotes from professional players)

– how students’ actions can make a difference in the lives of others

– concussion safety (includes ways to reduce injury risk, concussion symptoms, the importance of reporting injuries, and treatment of concussions)

Sue enjoys interacting with her audience, and will intersperse opportunities for Q & A throughout her presentation.

Equipment and Other Requirements

Venues: Flexible, but the library or a classroom is preferred.

 

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Ellen Schwartz (Burnaby, BC)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Nominated for 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards. Writers Union member. Passionate about sparking an interest in Science. $275 for one session, $475 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four (full day). Full day price can be split between neighbouring schools. Travel fee waived for Toronto and GTA.

Simon majored in Math, Applied Math and Computer Science and later completed an MBA at York University. After retiring from a career as an Information Technology professional, one of his interests has been writing books for children. He believes that it’s important for students to be STEM-literate (Science Technology Engineering and Math). He loves to spark kids’ interest in Science.

 

Presentations

Simon’s latest book, Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas that Transformed Sports, nominated for both 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards, and is also a finalist for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2017 SB&F Prize, shows kids that basic science concepts are highly relevant to sports. He tells fascinating stories of people who came up with bright ideas which had a huge impact on various sports. For each innovation, he explains the science of why the innovation was so effective.

Some innovators were athletes, many of them quite young (the youngest was twelve!) But other backgrounds include scientists, a farmer and a security guard. The human interest in the stories is compelling and inspirational. A clear message is that being inquisitive and exploring can result in significant discoveries.

By telling the story of several innovators, a presentation can be tailored to demonstrate the widespread significance of basic scientific concepts such as:

  • Energy and the conversion between kinetic, elastic and potential energy.
  • Fluid resistance (air and water).
  • Centre of gravity.

Other themes that can be highlighted:

  • Disabled sports. The inventors of the sports wheelchair and the blade prosthetic were both young adults who were injured in sporting accidents. They were both determined not to let their injuries prevent them from active lives. They were dissatisfied with the quality of wheelchairs and prosthetic legs, respectively. And both came up with radically new inventions to meet their own needs.
  • Innovation as a result of crossing fields of expertise. Examples include using fiberglass fishing poles to develop vaulting poles; hang gliding technology for wheelchairs; aircraft technology for skis.

For all presentations it would be extremely helpful to have computer projection available to show a Powerpoint presentation and / or images and video. Simon will bring these on a USB (‘thumb’) drive.

The scientific concepts are best for grades 7 and up.

 

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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch nominee. Middle grade author. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session is approximately 1 hour.)

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.

Casey is the author of the middle grade mystery series, Howard Wallace, P.I. She 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.

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 three and up. Each presentation is approximately 1 hour with time allowed for student Q&A throughout.

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. Please contact her for more details.

 

 

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Hazel Hutchins (Canmore AB)

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

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

Ages: Kindergarten to Grade 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presentation Descriptions:

Story Fun for K - Grade 2

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

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

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

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Michelle Barker (Vancouver)

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

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

Michelle offers the following presentations for different ages:

  1. K1 30 minutes / 30 students max.

A Year of Borrowed Men

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

A Year of Borrowed Men

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

What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

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

Poetry for the Terrified

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

The Beggar King

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

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

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

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NEWS: 2016 White Pine winner Jeyn Roberts available for Ontario visits

JeynRoberts White Pine winner 2016 & 2013. Young Adult: ages 12 and up. Jeyn is located out of Windsor, Ontario for the next six months and will be happy to travel around the province for school and library visits.

Jeyn's fee: $500 for a half day. $800 for a full day + travel. Multiple school visits - Price negotiable for more than one location to a school district. The more schools involved, the lower the cost.

Jeyn has done school visits and talks for over five years. She comes highly recommended and can provide references on request. She’d been a regular speaker for the Vancouver Library Book Camp and has done events such as ComicCon, the ALA, and the AWP.
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Jeyn Roberts (pronounced Jen - the Y is silent) started writing at an early age, having her first story published when she was 16. When she was 21, she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. She also lived in England where she received her MA from the prestigious Creative Writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier and tree planter.

Jeyn mainly does talks to students ranging from 12+. She focuses on discussions on her life as an author, how publication works, and how she got involved in writing. She likes to include her audience with a Q&A system and has never had trouble getting students to engage with her.

She will do workshops on request. She’s done events focusing on plot development, character centered writing, and how to come up with original ideas when everything’s been done to death.

She’s worked with both small groups and large audiences.

Coffee is always appreciated.

$300 an hour for Skype visits.

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Irene Luxbacher (Toronto)

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

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

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

Presentations by grade

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

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

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

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

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

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

Professional Development Workshops:

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

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

Classrooms or library preferred

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

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

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

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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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Allan Stratton (Toronto)

AllanStratton1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Internationally awarded YA and Middle Grade author, educator and traveller, published in over twenty countries

Rates:
Allan’s rate is $375 plus HST for one session, $575 for two, $825 for three and $1000 for four, plus travel from Toronto. Out of town bookings require two or more bookings.

Personal:
Allan was raised by a single mother in the 1950s. He identifies strongly with at-risk kids as well as special achievers. He has lived in Switzerland and New York and travelled through Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Presentations:
Allan's presentations focus on direct interactions with students from grades 5 - 12. A trained teacher, Allan begins with a short dramatic reading -- he began his career as an actor so his readings are extremely animated. Then he invites students into an open-ended Q&A session. Typical questions include: "Where do you get your ideas?" "How do you create characters?" "How do you make up stories?" "What do you do if you're blocked?" are typical questions.) Allan is also very willing to talk about the travels that inspired his work and the day to day life of a writer.

Some of Allan's YA novels have dealt with social issues such as date rape, bullying, HIV/AIDS (whether in Africa or North America), discrimination; and has had leading characters from broken homes and with violent fathers. His novels have also included characters who are gay, Muslim and from other countries. He is open to addressing these situations, and to serving as a role model in those areas that have affected his own life. (Or he can just be plain fun for younger students.)

Class size: maximum 90 students, however rates for full assemblies can be negotiated

All venues. (Library preferred, although with no other classes present during the presentation)

Needs: A glass of water and a microphone if speaking to a larger group. (No podium) Lunch if presenting to classes in morning and afternoon.

Virtual Visits: $150 + HST up to 30 students (larger groups to be negotiated), 60 minutes, Skype

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Jeyn Roberts (Windsor ON)

JeynRoberts White Pine winner 2016 & 2013. Young Adult: ages 12 and up. Jeyn is located out of Windsor, Ontario for the next six months and will be happy to travel around the province for school and library visits.

Jeyn's fee: $500 for a half day. $800 for a full day + travel. Multiple school visits - Price negotiable for more than one location to a school district. The more schools involved, the lower the cost.

Jeyn has done school visits and talks for over five years. She comes highly recommended and can provide references on request. She’d been a regular speaker for the Vancouver Library Book Camp and has done events such as ComicCon, the ALA, and the AWP.
BodiesWeWear_9_24

Jeyn Roberts (pronounced Jen - the Y is silent) started writing at an early age, having her first story published when she was 16. When she was 21, she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. She also lived in England where she received her MA from the prestigious Creative Writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier and tree planter.

Jeyn mainly does talks to students ranging from 12+. She focuses on discussions on her life as an author, how publication works, and how she got involved in writing. She likes to include her audience with a Q&A system and has never had trouble getting students to engage with her.

She will do workshops on request. She’s done events focusing on plot development, character centered writing, and how to come up with original ideas when everything’s been done to death.

She’s worked with both small groups and large audiences.

Coffee is always appreciated.

$300 an hour for Skype visits.

Email to book Jeyn:

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Elly MacKay (Owen Sound)

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

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

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

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

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Nikki Tate (Victoria BC)

Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch Non-fiction. Nikki Tate is an award-winning author of more than 30 books for children and teens ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Nikki loves writing non-fiction for all ages.  Single presentation: $300.00, 2/$550.00, 3/$750.00 +HST - no maximum group size but a maximum 3-grade spread in a single session. Workshops: $250/60 minutes, max 24 student.

Nikki Tate was born in England, but spent her childhood roaming the globe. Nikki has always enjoyed both writing and telling stories, as well as camping, kayaking, climbing and horseback riding. Nikki splits her time between Vancouver Island and Canmore in the Rocky Mountains and loves to travel, particularly if she can find some rock or ice to climb or an ocean to sail.

Nikki is a dynamic presenter who is equally comfortable speaking to primary students, middle grades, teenagers, or adults. Standard presentations include: The Magic of Non-fiction; How a Book is Made; and When Fact Works as Fiction. Each is 45-60 minutes with some time at the end for questions and discussion. Where Stories Come From is a shorter presentation (30 minutes) suitable for K-2. Though there is no maximum group size, the maximum grade spread is three (e.g. one session may include classes in grade 3, 4 and 5 or 7, 8, and 9). For small groups, a table (for books and props), glass of water, and projector are needed (Nikki travels with her own laptop as well as copies of her presentations on a thumb drive). For larger groups or where acoustics are poor, she will also need a microphone.

Nikki’s writing workshops range from 60 minutes to half-, full-day and multi-session programs. Maximum group size for workshops is 24 students. Minimum age: students should be proficient in producing written work (or, scribes should be available). A white board or flip chart, projector, and table are needed for workshops. Students need pen and paper (or appropriate electronic device) with which to produce written work.

 

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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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