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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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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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

Writers’ Union Member. Niagara, ON. Teacher. 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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Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Toronto. 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 within 30 kms of Toronto. Standard kilometrage applies outside that area.

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. 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.)

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.

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 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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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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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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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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Philippa Dowding (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction writer. JK to 8. Philippa’s rate is $300 per session, $550 for two, or $750 for three sessions, + travel expenses outside GTA (for example, GO Bus and GO Train).

Philippa is an award-winning copywriter, a poet, and an acclaimed children’s author. She is a lively and entertaining presenter, often accompanied by her guitar and gargoyle puppet. Her presentations and writing workshops have been promoted and endorsed by the Toronto Public Library. Her children's books have been nominated for numerous literary awards, including the White Raven commendation from the International Youth Library in Munich.

Philippa can talk to groups large or small, from grades JK to 8, and will tailor her 1-hour presentation to your needs and students, as follows:

Lost Gargoyle Series (ages 8-12): includes a powerpoint presentation, textbook images, a gargoyle puppet, music, and author reading.  Students discuss gargoyles, medieval times, loneliness, friendship, homelessness, inclusion and difference, the writer's craft and more.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? (All ages): Philippa combines the top 10 questions she gets asked by students into one interesting and colourful powerpoint discussion which answers questions like: when did you know you wanted to be a writer, who gets to pick what goes on the cover of your books, what does a manuscript look like and more.

Any presentation includes audience participation, Q&A, and for younger grades Philippa can also bring her guitar.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 60 for JK to grade 2. 100+ for everyone else.

Writing Workshops work best wish 16 or so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Be the Beanstalk: Grow a story. How to tell a story which is more than just who, what, where and when.

Who is this character really? Techniques for character development beyond hair and eye colour!

Book covers, blurbs, bookmarks and bios. How to write like an artist and think like a copywriter.

Games, games, games: Let your students explore their creativity through these guided (and hilarious) writing games.

All Venues, including library, school, bookstore or outdoor event.

Equipment required: laptop to run powerpoint presentation if possible (she will provide the memory key), projector and screen (or suitable wall or surface). A table and microphone for larger groups or in the gym. A glass of water, cup of tea or coffee.

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Gary Rasberry (Kingston)

 

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

 

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

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

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

presentations/workshops

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

Concerts

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

Workshops

Workshop I   Right Off the Page! Creating Audio Books

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

Suitable for Grade 4-8

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

Workshop II  Songwriting

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

Suitable for Grades 6-8

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

Workshop III   Creating Across the Curriculum Using Audio Soundscapes

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

Suitable for Grades 1-8

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

Workshop IV   Participatory Sing Song Session

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

Suitable for JK/SK

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

Set-up requirements

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

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Andrew Larsen (Toronto)

Toronto ON. Picture book author, Blue Spruce nominated, award winning, inspiring.

Andrew’s rate is $300 + HST for a single session or $500 + HST for an entire morning (multiple sessions). He charges for travel only when visiting locations outside of Toronto.

Andrew is convinced that we all have stories to tell and our own way of telling them. His presentations inspire students to believe they have what it takes to discover their own stories and to share them.

Presentation Details

Grades JK – 3: (approximately 40 minutes) We’re all storytellers. We’re born that way. We tell stories when we play, pretend, squiggle and dream.

Andrew encourages students to recognize that they are surrounded by stories just waiting to be told. Some of those stories are made up. Some are based on real events or real people. He talks about how ideas grow into stories and, in turn, stories can grow into books.

This year marks the first year that Andrew will be able to talk about writing non-fiction as he is presenting his picture book biography The Man Who Loved Libraries; The Story of Andrew Carnegie. A biography is essentially a retell of someone’s life history. It does not depend on imagination. Anyone can do it.

Using show and tell, an unforgettable magic trick, and an engaging style, Andrew inspires the belief that we can all be authors. He demonstrates how a single piece of paper can be turned into a book, ready to be filled with words or pictures. He reads one of his own books and, finally, he welcomes questions.

Andrew leaves students wanting to make their own books and share their own stories.

Grades 4, 5 and 6: (approximately 50 minutes) Andrew believes that a story is a story is story, whether the story is told in a picture book or in a chapter book. Building on his conviction that we all have stories to tell, Andrew talks about the value of a writer’s journal. Keeping a journal reminds us that we are all writers! Andrew talks about how the seed of an idea, jotted in a journal, can grow into paragraph. A paragraph can grow into a chapter and a chapter can grow into a book. We are all authors! He reads from Dingus, his newest middle-grade chapter book.

Family Literacy Events: Andrew loves to engage families and to instill a sense of fun in the stories we share together. Some of the best stories begin at home with our families. Andrew talks about most of his own stories began at home. Some even began as handmade, homemade books. Andrew’s family literacy events are fun! Most all, they’re inspiring.

Andrew will present to grades JK - 6.

He will happily present to any number of students. He has presented to as few as 6 and as many as 250.

Andrew will present in a classroom, library, gym or under a tree.

He loves to do presentations for Family Literacy Events (fun for the whole family!)

If it is a large group Andrew will require a laptop and projector.

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Cary Fagan (Toronto)

Cary Fagan Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Award-winning author of novels and picture books who delights audiences with stories, inspiration, and music.

$350 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2 sessions, $850 for 3 sessions, $1,000 for 4 sessions. Plus travel.

Cary Fagan has been awarded the Vicki Metalf Award for Children’s Literature, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Award, and the Mr. Christie Silver Medal. He has been nominated for the Silver Birch and Blue Spruce Awards many times.

Among his most popular novels are The Boy in the Box and its sequel The Show to End All Shows, the Kaspar Snit trilogy, Danny Who Fell in a Hole, and The Banjo of Destiny. His picture book Mr. Zinger’s Hat has been chosen for the 2015 TD Grade One Book Giveaway. His other picture books include I Wish I Could Draw, Thing-Thing, and Big Book of Brothers. Cary is also a much-acclaimed writer for adults who has been nominated for the Giller Prize.

Cary loves visiting schools and is well known for his natural rapportwith kids. He encourages questions and interaction throughout his sessions. Wanting to encourage kids to find their own stories, he reveals his writing “secrets” and the origins of his own work. He reads carefully selected passages and stories that will inspire and open the imagination.

In sessions with younger kids (usually up to grade 3) he will often bring a musical instrument (sometimes home-made) so everyone can join their voices in a musical version of his story. He will sometimes bring a homemade instrument for the older kids.

Cary can also hold writing workshops of one hour in length.

Presentation information

Group sizes: Grades k-3 up to 45. For other grades, preferably up to 100 although larger groups are acceptable.

Requirements: A microphone for large groups or where the acoustics are difficult. The library is the preferred venue. Sessions in the gym (only if no other venue is possible) require a microphone.

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Rebecca Bender (Burlington)

rebeccabenderwp1Author-Illustrator. Burlington, ON. Writers' Union Member. Blue Spruce winner. K to 5.

$350 plus HST for 1 session, two for $600, three for $800 and four for $1000, + travel for destinations further than 50 km.

Rebecca has been working as an illustrator, designer, and art director in children’s publishing for the past 10 years. She brings her expertise of book and story creation to her talks in hopes to inspire children to create their own picture books. She is the author/illustrator of the popular Giraffe and Bird books. Her newest title is a primary concept book called How Do You Feel? (November 2016).

Presentation
Rebecca’s goal is to inspire children to imagine their own characters, write their own stories and craft their own books to share with others. Through drawing and discussion, children will take part in creating illustrations that may be a springboard for story writing. She shares her journey of becoming an author-illustrator and her process for coming up with ideas. Rebecca requires an easel, chart paper, and a chair and prefers a maximum of 65 students per presentation.

Rebecca is happy to visit high schools and colleges as well, to speak about the creative process in both writing and illustrating.

Workshop
Rebecca also offers an art lesson/workshop that explores how to tell a story with pictures. In this workshop she focuses on using expressions, body language, and other visual clues to build strong characters. For this presentation format, tables and basic art supplies are necessary for the children.

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Helaine Becker (Toronto)

Helaine Becker

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. National Bestseller. 2+time Silver Birch winner. Multi awards. K-8. Please note:

Helaine’s rate is $750 + HST for two sessions, $1000 + HST for three and $1200 +HST for four, plus travel from Toronto.

Helaine is an experienced and passionate presenter - and so funny that she is often told she should be a stand-up comedian. She can do up to four side-splitting and inspirational presentations in the same school or area in a day. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, non-fiction and YA novels, she routinely presents to an entire school over the course of a day. She also loves speaking to adult groups and showing off her underwear (her underwear puppet, that is).
Helaine is a very versatile presenter. She adapts every presentation to the age and interest level of her audience, and will shift topics on the fly if kids seem especially keen on a particular subject. Every presentation includes both funny bits and serious bits - about the power of literacy and the importance of hard work and determination. Her goal: to make sure every kid leaves with at least one inspiring new idea.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 2: two 30 minute storytelling sessions for the price of one full session ($375+HST) using The Haunted House That Jack Built, Little Jack Horner: Live from the Corner, Ode to Underwear and/or Juba This, Juba That (Christmas books, seasonally) + Q and A

2 to 4: 45 to 60 minutes: How and Why We Write/The Power of the Written and Spoken Word Intro plus free-wheeling Q&A, discussion/reading of assorted titles as per kids interests. (Zoobots, Dirk Daring:Secret Agent, The Insecto-Files, quiz books, and picture books may all feature; Christmas books, seasonally)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 minutes. How and Why We Write/The Power of the Written and Spoken Word Intro plus free-wheeling Q&A touching on Writing Techniques (the dreaded Rough Copy, How to Come Up with Ideas, The Power of Punctuation, Knowing Who Your Audience Is); Dealing with Rejection/disappointment, What Science Is, and Creating Humour.

(Zoobots, Dirk Daring:Secret Agent, Gottika, Trouble in the Hills, quiz books, and picture books may all feature)

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for JK to 3. 100+ for everyone else.

Writing Workshops work best wish 16 so so participants

Writing Workshop Topics:

Funny Business: How to Write, Draw, Direct or Sing Seriously Funny Stuff. This session teaches tried-and-true comic techniques, plus idea development for writers (of any age)

All Venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch and coffee if she’s staying for the day. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable. A chair.

Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST, 60 minutes (may be divided) Skype

 

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Eric Zweig (Owen Sound)

Owen Sound ON. Writers' Union Member. Hockey historian and author, Silver Birch nominee, available for school and library visits.

Eric’s rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, or $650 for three, plus HST. Mileage costs can often be negotiated for multiple bookings, for presentations in the GTA, or for visits to the Barrie/Orillia area.

By the age of ten Eric Zweig was already a budding sports fanatic who was filling his school news books with game reports instead of current events. He’s been writing professionally about sports and sports history since 1985. Eric has also been a guest on many television and radio programs, appearing as a “Hockey Philosopher” in the CBC series Hockey: A People’s History in 2006.

Presentation:
Since 1999, when Eric began writing books for children, he has made many presentations in schools, libraries and bookstores. His presentation is very low-tech and tends to be somewhat informal. His talks have more energy when he doesn’t keep to a rigid script. However, he always has a general plan prepared for each presentation.

Eric likes to emphasize to schoolchildren that writing does not just mean thinking up creative stories. Most of the writing we do in our lives – for school or for work – will be non-fiction. Though he has written two novels, and can speak to that too, for Eric, working mostly on historical non-fiction, writing can be like detective work. Often, he has to do a lot of research to find the truth behind the legends in sports. This is the best part of what he gets to do. He likes to discover things that no one else knows. In talking about research, Eric always explains how the Internet can make this so much easier … but that a researcher has to be very careful about what type of sources to use.

Eric likes to leave a lot of time for questions. If there are a lot of questions, it’s hard to cut off any children. If there aren’t a lot of questions, he can pick up the talk again, or do more readings, with a better idea of what the children want to hear about.

Length of Visit
Generally, Eric’s presentations last for one hour, though they can be shorter to accommodate the time of your school periods. He is happy to do two, or even three talks per school visit, or combine two or three talks between different schools in the same area.

Grades
Eric’s preference is to present to grades 4 to 6, but he’s comfortable with anything from grades 3 to 12.

Venue
Classrooms or libraries with groups ranging from 30 to 90 people are best. Gymnasiums can be difficult due to the acoustics, but Eric is happy to present to larger groups in a school gym or auditorium if need be.
Please note: Eric’s surname is pronounced zwEYEg.

 

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