Heather Camlot (Toronto) (Silver Birch Fiction)

Writers’ Union Member. 2018 Silver Birch nominee for Clutch. Writing for Children Competition winner. Heather’s rates are $250 for one session, $450 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four/full day (may be shared with a neighbouring school). $150 for a virtual visit. HST applies. No travel costs within Toronto.

Clutch has been called “powerful, moving, and wonderful” by Kirkus and a “superb story” by Quill & Quire. A veteran journalist who is passionate about children’s literature, Heather writes about books for leading publications, volunteers with the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP), and works with children’s bookstore Mabel’s Fables. In her presentations, she aims to entertain and educate, leaving the audience interested in writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as looking into their own history for inspiration.

PRESENTATIONS

Set in the heart of Montreal's impoverished Plateau neighbourhood in 1946, Clutch follows 12-year-old Joey Grosser, who vows to make money any way he can after his father dies and leaves the family with nothing more than a money-losing corner grocery store. But when he turns to the wrong man for help, Joey may lose more than just the opportunity of a lifetime to see Jackie Robinson play ball. Clutch explores ideas around family, friendship, poverty, racism, dreams and disillusionment, and of course baseball.

Heather engages students with a fun and interactive presentation. She starts by discussing the pressure to succeed – how it affects the lives of her characters, herself, and her audience. She shares the rather odd way she came to be a writer (both journalist and novelist), how she was inspired to write Clutch by delving into family history, and the lengthy process to becoming a published author. She also touches on the basic elements of a story, how to give it life through research, and why historical fiction is so important.

Presentations are one hour with question period and suitable for Grade 3 and up. They can be adapted to audience and interest; possible topics as related to Clutch include 20th-century art history, baseball history and Jewish immigration to Canada.

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are available for 16 or so participants.

Topics include:

  • Page one, line one: Students will listen to a few examples to learn the basics of crafting the all-important first line, first paragraph, and first chapter, and then write their own.
  • Ready, set, research: Students will learn about the research process, including primary vs. secondary sources, fact vs. fake news, where to look, and how to pull it all together.
  • All the news: Students will learn about different types of articles and structure, and will write their own journalistic work.
  • Getting down to business: After discussing the 10 business basics Joey follows in Clutch, students will work on a business idea and marketing plan.
  • Customized topic: Heather can tailor a workshop to your needs and audience, including adults and educators. Please contact her for more details.

All venues, library preferred

Equipment required:

  • Table and water
  • Flip chart and markers
  • Screen and projector (depending on presentation)
  • Microphone and podium (for large rooms)
  • Paper and pencils (for workshops)

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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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