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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Natalie Hyde (Cambridge)

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ON, Cambridge. Writers’ Union Member. Middle grade and YA author. Fiction and non-fiction. 3x Silver Birch Express nominee. Award nominations in Canada and U.S. Grade 3 and up.

Natalie’s rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, $600 for three, and $800 for four, plus travel from Cambridge.

Natalie Hyde is the author of over forty-five books, from middle grade and YA novels to non-fiction on a wide range of topics. An engaging and enthusiastic presenter, she encourages audience participation with interactive presentations.

"Natalie's warm personality and open smile engage elementary students to listen and learn from her experience creating both fiction and non-fiction material. Her visual presentations allow students to see how a book is compiled from concept ideas to the final product. Natalie's wide range of titles for Elementary students offer the high interest of Non-Fiction for reluctant readers with her works of fiction that entice students to simply enjoy the pleasure of a good book,” says Cambridge Libraries outreach coordinator, Sandra Sydor.

Presentation Details

Setup Requirements: Natalie requires a projector suitable for Power Point hookup. For auditorium or gym presentations a microphone would be appreciated. She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.

Grades 3 – 6: (approximately 40 minutes) Natalie starts by talking about what it’s like to be an author, her writing process and her path to publication including the value of rejections. Then, students are taken on a ‘behind the pages look’ at the research and writing of the text, where they discover the real stories behind the story. Using the example of the seed idea for one of her novels, they have fun learning how to turn everyday happenings in story ideas. She invites and enjoys answering questions.

Grades 3 – 6: (approximately 50 minutes) Writing non-fiction is like going on a treasure hunt to find the truth of a subject. Natalie likes to give some examples of things she has learned about our fascinating world through her own non-fiction research and then present the journey a manuscript goes through from rough first draft through many rounds of revision to finished book using visuals of actual examples of her non-fiction books, Cryptic Canada and Glow-in-the-dark Creatures. Finally, she invites questions.

Grades 5 - 8: (approximately 50 minutes) Natalie likes to start by talking about what it’s like to be an author, her writing process and her path to publication including the value of rejections. Then she likes to reveal the real hockey girls that inspired the novel, Hockey Girl. With the help of a PowerPoint presentation, students look at differences in hockey from the time of the original hockey girls until today. She ends with a question and answer session.

 

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