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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Natasha Deen (AB)

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. In Canada, Natasha’s family found refuge from the political and racial violence of Guyana, South America. Her experiences as a child of two nations are the foundation for her dynamic presentations, which help students find the story and power that lives inside them. She routinely speaks to an entire school during the course of a half day, and travel costs are included in her fee. $500 + GST for half day, $1000 + GST for a full day.

“You captured the attention of over 500 students in grades 4-8 from the moment you said your first sentence. You did not simply give a talk, but a gift, to our children.” ~ Kari-Ann Ellery, Teacher-Librarian

Natasha Deen’s books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).  Students enjoy her sessions because she makes them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.

PRESENTATIONS

"Don't split your infinitives, careful of dangling participles, i before e -- except after c, know the difference between its and it's." Writing is difficult work, and often, by the time students are done learning the mechanics and rules, they've forgotten the best part of writing: it delivers STORY and stories change the world!

Natasha's dynamic sessions celebrate the funny, sometimes sad, moments of being a kid and being part of an immigrant family. She uses her experiences to connect with students on the universal moments of growing up: feeling different, wanting friends, being bullied, and hilarious moments when the grown-ups act more like kids.

During her visit, she also talks about why Canada is the most amazing country to live in (her family moved to Canada from Guyana to escape the country’s political and racial violence), falling in love with the book she assured her mother she would hate, and her hilarious (and often, disastrous!) attempts to make friends in school. Through the presentation, she weaves in literacy tips as well as themes of inclusion, diversity, resiliency, and embracing individualism.

Students will come away with two important lessons:

  1. Writing is a way to deliver the part that's most fun: STORY
  2. In life, just as in writing, it's not about where you start, but where you end.

Natasha has specific presentations for FDK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, as well as presentations for mixed-age audiences (i.e. K-8). She is also happy to customize her presentations/workshops per your students' needs.

 

Equipment Needs:

A speaker, projector, and microphone for presentations or large rooms/audiences

Whiteboard/smartboard, projector for writing workshops

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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 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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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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Deborah Kerbel (Thornhill ON)

dkerbelWriters’ Union Member. GG finalist. MG, YA Fiction. $325 for one presentation, $575 for two, $850 for three, $1000 for four, + travel (no travel costs within GTA). Full day fee can be split between two neighbouring schools. Out of town visits require two or more bookings.

Deborah Kerbel was born in London, England, but moved to Canada before she was old enough to cultivate a posh accent or a love of marmalade. She is the author of six acclaimed novels for kids and teens. From school groups to large events and international festivals, she’s an experienced presenter and enthusiastic speaker who uses humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Deborah loves visiting schools and meeting readers and writers of all ages. Based in Thornhill, Ontario, she’s the proud mom of two book-loving children, both of whom continue to inspire many of her story ideas.

Presentations

Deborah’s 60 min presentation consists of:
-details about her Middle Grade and/or Young Adult novels (depending on ages present)
-motivation, rejection, determination, and the rocky road to publication
-interactive PowerPoint quiz about famous children’s authors
-discussion about where ideas come from
-personal anecdotes about writing
-reading and Q&A session
-each student receives a signed bookmark

Grades: 4 - 8

Maximum number of students per session: 60-80 (flexible)
Venue: All acceptable, but library preferred.
Equipment requirements: Projector and screen, glass of water, microphone for larger groups

Workshop details:

Deborah enjoys mentoring emerging writers through workshops, library visits, and short-story competitions. Her interactive workshop is designed to help emerging writers take their craft to the next level. Participants can expect to come away with a variety of creative new ideas and material for their writing as well as the tools to implement them. During the final part of the workshop, participants will take several minutes to write a scene using some of the character traits, setting ideas, and action scenes that were collectively brainstormed within the group.

Maximum workshop size: 15

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Lana Button (Burlington)

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Burlington. Lana charges $300 for one session, $500.00 for two, $750.00 for three and $900.00 for full day, plus travel from Burlington. Writers’ Union Member.

She shares her stories Willow’s Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, and Willow's Smile, and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

Lana is an Early Childhood Educator and former actress who feels at home when surrounded by a group of young children. She loves reading, singing and interacting with her audience! Her lively presentations are sure to keep the attention of young children learning about picture books, about themselves and about each other. Her goal is to leave her audience cheering!

Presentations:

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Lana introduces Willow.

She shares her passion for picture books and her journey of bringing Willow to life. Her story is not only a literary step-by step lesson in how a picture book is made it’s a lesson in personal perseverance and determination, told in an engaging age appropriate way.

She shares her story Willow’s Whispers and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Bullying Awareness

Lana focuses on bullying awareness and prevention with her story, Willow Finds a Way. She reads the story and engages the children in discussion around recognizing bullying behavior and in finding ways to stand up to bullying.

Lana loves audiences big and small. She can present to as many as 120 children per session, and will present in classrooms, libraries and gymnasiums.

She just needs a microphone for large groups.

Lana loves family literacy events! She aims to entertain and inspire the whole family with her writing experiences and her stories.

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Karen Krossing (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. YA and middle grade fiction. White Pine. Crystal Kite Winner. Writing workshops. Grade 4 and up.

KarenKrossingwpKaren’s rate is $225 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto. Mileage within Toronto may be waived.

Karen Krossing is the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens, and she regularly mentors emerging writers through workshops for kids, teens, and adults. She’s been conducting book talks and workshops since 2002, including TD Canadian Children’s Book Week in 2005 and 2014. She loves meeting readers and writers of all ages.

Book Talks
The purpose of Karen’s book talks is to promote literacy. Her talks usually include how she evolved as a writer, the writing life, an introduction to the work, a short reading, a discussion of issues raised by the reading, an oral storywriting exercise involving the audience, and questions and answers. She introduces her books by discussing how they were written, how a story is structured, and the writing techniques used. Her goal is to inspire audience members to share her passion for reading and writing.

For grades 4 to 6, Karen will showcase her middle-grade novels: Bog, The Castle Key, and possibly Cut the Lights. Issues such as tolerance and believing in oneself may be discussed.

For grades 7 to 12, Karen’s novels and short stories for teens will be highlighted, including Punch Like a Girl, Cut the Lights, The Yo-Yo Prophet, Pure, and Take the Stairs. Issues such as bullying, depression, social justice, and prejudice may be explored. Performance and visual arts are also featured in these titles.

Writing Workshops
Karen delivers customized writing workshops for all ages – children, teens, and adults. Workshops typically include a discussion of specific story-writing techniques as well as inspirational writing exercises designed to generate story ideas and practise particular techniques. Her technique promotes intuitive writing using a variety of stimulating activities, including word games, masks, story dice, photos, and character games. Writing is then shared through peer critiquing, using positive and constructive feedback techniques. Workshops can include:

  • How to Create a Believable OtherWorld.
  • Stories Inspired by Real-Life.
  • How You Can Get Published and Other Mysteries Solved.
  • Character Development.
  • How to Revise a Work-in-Progress.
  • How to Structure a Story.

Karen will present to grades 4 to 12. Maximum number of students is 100 per session for book talks and 30 per session for writing workshops, although she will accommodate more in an auditorium situation.

Equipment and Other Requirements
Karen is comfortable presenting in a classroom, library, or auditorium. She requires a microphone for large spaces or audiences, a bottle of water, and a table to display books. She may require a screen for presentations. She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.

 

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Lorna Schultz Nicholson (AB)

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. Fiction and NF. Red Maple Nominee.Multi nominations and awards.K-12.Adults.

$300 plus HST for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4. Travel will need to be negotiated. She always has accommodations in Toronto and Niagara.

 

Lorna is a passionate, energetic and experienced presenter who will make sure that every presentation suits each group. She is the author of picture books, (Puckster is always a hit with the primary grades), middle grade fiction and non-fiction, YA fiction and reluctant readers. She loves writing about diversity. She also loves speaking to adult groups and leading writing workshops for grades 4 to adult. FragileBones

Presentations by Grade: Lorna’s presentations and workshops are lively and fun and can be tailored to fit the age and the group. She can present to all age groups, is open to groups of 100 or less and is definitely open to travel. Lorna’s books deal with many aspects of the school curriculum.

K-2 - Lorna will discuss her Puckster characters (they’re all animals), and how she gets her ideas for her stories. She will work with the students on story comprehension, (and fun), by having the children pretend they are at hockey game. Using her characters, she will talk with the students about family and friend dynamics and how to resolve conflicts. She would prefer two 30 minutes story sessions for the price of one full session.

Grades 3-8 - Lorna will talk about her middle grade fiction books and her characters and their problems and relationship choices and ups and downs. We all have them, right? Then she’ll discuss the process of getting a book published. How she goes from idea to finished product, including editing and editing and editing. Yup, editing.She will encourage the students to listen to their teachers and edit their own work. Yeah!!!! A reading and Q and A will end the session.

High school classes - Lorna will engage the students by discussing Fragile Bones and how the world is full of diverse people. For this group, (depending on the size, location and if school has technical needs), she has a fun but enlightening Power Point presentation to keep the students engaged. She will also discuss how she develops a story, moves from idea to finished product and different research techniques. Students will be encouraged to rewrite their work. A reading (yes, she loves to read to high school students) and Q and A session will end the presentation.

All questions will be answered except, “How old are you?”

Writing Workshops (grades 3-12, adults) $500 for a half day (two hours). Or can be negotiated depending on group and needs.

Let’s Make a Story – Every student gets to pick a character and a setting out of a hat. Then the trade game begins. If the student wants to trade either setting or character they can, but the game is controlled and only one trade is allowed. This gets them thinking about a story to write about, and if they really do want to trade, makes their brains start working. Of course, every story also needs a problem. This workshop is hands on. If time permits the students will read their stories aloud!

Creating Cool Characters - Let’s develop some cool characters through an interactive workshop. It’s all about pretending to be someone else. In this workshop, students will learn how to create characters that will jump off the page. Lorna brings a suitcase full of costumes and students will get to put them on and pretend to be a character. Then the entire class will write sentences to describe the characters being portrayed. Emphasis will be on creating a picture using description. This workshop is for grades 3-6.

Mystery Writing - This hands-on workshop is all about the Who-dunnit. Emphasis will be on developing the main sleuth and his/her supporting cast. Plus, Lorna will work on the pace of a mystery story and adding red herrings to make a plausible mystery that will keep readers guessing. This workshop works for grades 3-8. Time permitting, stories will be read aloud.

Telling Tall Tales - Are you interested in true stories? Do you like reading about fascinating people? Writing non-fiction is just as creative as writing fiction. In this class you will learn how to interview, gather information and write incredible stories that will keep your reader turning the page. Be prepared to have fun writing about someone else! This is a great workshop for junior and high school students.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 50 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) Skype

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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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Valerie Sherrard (NB)

Valerie Sherrard Miramichi NB. Writers' Union Member. GG nominated, award-winning children's and YA author. Tours Ontario April or May most years - ask about dates.

$325 for a single presentation, $575 for two or $775 for three. No added travel costs within 200 kms of Toronto. For younger grades, two 30 minute presentations may be booked at a single session rate.

Valerie is an experienced presenter who uses humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Feedback from her school and library visits has been enthusiastic. 

Presentations by Grade

I distribute a signed bookmark or postcard to each student at all presentations.

Grades K – 3: Fun and interactive talk about expressions and language, and students’ own creative abilities. Reading with audience participation. I end with a short Q & A.

Grades 4 and 5: Entertaining and interactive presentation on literacy and a comparison of life today versus the 1940/50s. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

Grades 6 to 9: Engaging and interactive presentation on literacy, believing in oneself and a variety of writing related topics, depending on the interest and grade level of the audience. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

Overview:

I will present to grades K – 9

Preferred Audience Size:

40 for JK to 1

60 for Grades 2 – 5

80 for Grades 6 and up

I am flexible on audience size but in my experience, smaller groups result in the greatest benefit to students. 

I am most comfortable in a classroom or library but will also present in an auditorium or gymnasium.  

I will need a podium or a table and chair if students are going to be seated on the floor. A sound system may be needed depending on audience size, acoustics and the number of presentations booked.  

A bottle of water is always appreciated.

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Robert Priest (Toronto)

Robertpriest 7Toronto ON. Writers' Union Member. Poetry, song and Y/A fiction. People's Poetry Award. SOCAN airplay award. Multi-awards All ages.

$300 for one session, $550 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1000 for 4, +travel.

Robert is an experienced and entertaining poet, singer-songwriter, and Y/A novelist for all ages. His ability to do up to 4 presentations in the same school or area in the same day makes him an ideal economic choice. With his repertoire of picture books, children's songs and poems, Y/A novels and adult songs and poems he is comfortable with large groups and can do up to 4 of them a day. For smaller groups he has a variety of workshops in poetry, prose and lyric writing.

Robert is known for his energetic thoughtful and entertaining performances. Interactive songs and poems meant to engage the audience in the process are a feature. A good question and answer session is also a mainstay. Robert's most important job is to make sure to enthuse as many students as possible about writing and reading literature.

Here is an example of his themes by grade

JK to 2: two 30 min. song/poetry sessions for the price of one. ($300) using material from Day Songs Night Songs and Rosa Rose. Themes of play, cooperation, ecology and mutual respect.

2 to 4: 45 to 60 min. poetry/interactive song session plus Q&A on a variety of curriculum appropriate themes. (Rosa Rose, Day Songs Night Songs, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas plus songs from Summerlong.)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 min. Most of Robert's poetry, children's songs and Y/A novels are for this age group. Poems serious and humourous on topics of social justice, bullying, the environment, technology and fantasy. Can include some poems from his adult books as well. Robert loves to talk about the writing process and where he gets his ideas. (Rosa Rose, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas, Y/A fantasy novels The Paper Sword and Second Kiss.)

7 to 12 Robert has 3 Y/A fantasy novels, a repertoire of poetic rock songs, 2 books of Y/A poetry and selections from his 10 acclaimed books of adult poetry for this age group. Themes of literacy, war, repression, oppression, rebellion, friendship, bullying, the use of power, poetry, military force, coming-of-age and romantic love to name a few.

Maximum group sizes for presentations : one classroom for JK to 3. 100+ for other ages.
Writing workshops work best with no more than 15 participants.

Workshop topics:
Poetic animation—creating fun narratives and characters from real world objects.
How to write a line–some techniques for generating micro-poems and beginning lines of poems and/or lyrics
How to write a fantasy series—a talk with lengthy Q&A on Robert's process writing his Spell Crossed fantasy series.
Song lyric writing—strategies for developing new song lyrics or for writing lyrics to existing melodies. Robert likes to talk about writing his number 1 hit Song Instead of a Kiss and other aspects of the music business. Venues. Library preferred.

Equipment required—solid surface to display books and hold papers. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, a blackboard or other large writing surface.

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Sharon McKay (Burlington)

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Burlington, ON. Writers' Union Member. Sharon travels across Canada several times a year. Sharon E. McKay (Mick-EYE) writes fact-based fiction for young adults. Multi-awards, all ages.

Sharon is available in Ontario, January 1 to April 1, 2018. Flat fee of $900 for a full day, four sessions and includes a free (optional) brown-bag lunch for anyone interested in writing. Flat fee of $600 for an afternoon. Parents and media are welcome in all sessions.

Sharon would like to hear about your hopes for an author visit as well as the special needs of individual students. She has done two tours of Afghanistan. Sharon has had a child in the classroom who had lost a family member in Kandahar. Another student had an uncle who was severely injured. War Brothers, a novel and a graphic novel, is about child soldiers in Uganda. She has had a child soldier in a classroom. The list goes on…

In January 2008 Sharon was accepted into the Canadian Forces (War) Artists Program or CFAP. She is the first children’s writer to hold the title. In 2009 and again in 2013 she went to Afghanistan to, in the words of the program description, “capture the daily operations, personnel, and spirit of the Canadian Forces.”

The content of presentations is adaptable although all are tailored to the needs of the classroom/school.  All grades, 1 hour writing workshop. ‘Beat the Blank Page.’ Maximum group size: 45 for JK and 100, or three classes for the rest.

Length: 60 min. or one class period.
Venues: Classroom, Library, Gym and Theatre
Equipment and other requirements: To be discussed with teacher.
Notes: Students do not have to read the book in advance. Teacher’s Guide’s available for most books.

Venues: Classroom, Library and Theatre
Visits kindergarten and grade one during breaks. Fifteen minutes Focus: fun.

Grade 1-2 Read-a-loud. 30 min. Focus: Story telling vs story reading.

Grade 2-4 The Boy-Girl Challenge. 30 min. “Would a boy read a book dubbed Our Canadian Girl? Let’s vote.”
Focus: Judging a book by its cover.
End of the Line, hidden children, Amsterdam, WW2. 1939-45
Focus: Courage, loyalty, WW2.

Grade 5 -6 Charlie Wilcox, flexible time
Focus: literacy, history, role of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WW1 in changing Canadian history. Teacher’s Guide available.

Grade 7 and up, flexible time
Thunder Over Kandahar, girls in Afghanistan
Prison Boy, street kids, worldwide. (Amnesty International)
War Brothers, child soldiers worldwide
War Brothers the Graphic Novel, with Dan Lafrance
Esther, Jews in New France. Canadian history.
Whispers from the Ghetto, Hiding, Camps. With Kathy Kacer.

Virtual Visits: $150, 60 minutes, Skype.

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Shane Peacock (Cobourg)

Cobourg, ON. Writers' Union Member. Fiction, Governor-General’s Award nominee, 3 x TD Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.

His fees are: $400 for one presentation to a small to medium sized audience, $550 for two presentations or one to a large audience, $750 for three presentations, and $950 for four.

Shane is the author of the critically-acclaimed, bestselling “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series and “Last Message” in the groundbreaking “Seven, the Series.” His first picture book, “The Artist and Me,” the first novel in his YA horror trilogy, “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim” and “Separated,” the prequel to the “Seven Series,” are his latest works. He is also a playwright, documentary screenwriter and journalist.

Shane has a well-known reputation as a dramatic and effective speaker, and has appeared more than a thousand times in schools, at conventions and in seminars across Canada, the U.S., and Europe. He offers upbeat presentations about why reading and writing are among the most exciting things a kid can do. They appeal to all ages and genders, though teachers say they have a particularly positive effect on boys and reluctant readers.

During his visits, he usually discusses why it took him a while to get interested in reading as a kid, how he became a writer, and the wild and crazy things about which he’s written. He shows students how to tell stories by telling a few good ones – a favorite is his account of The Great Farini’s high-wire duel with Blondin over Niagara Falls, first told in his biography of the former. He also describes how he conceived and wrote the “Boy Sherlock Holmes” series, was involved in the “Seven Series,” and created the dark novels in “The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim.” He also reveals a few secrets of his trade and delivers a short, dramatic reading.

Sometimes, caught up in the strange stories he’s telling (and has told in print), Shane gives lessons in high-wire walking and sumo wrestling … believe it or not.

Though until this year his presentations have been for grades 4 to 12, beginning in early 2016 with the publication of “The Artist and Me,” he will offer a talk for Kindergarten to grade 3.

Shane also does workshops, Creative Writing seminars for high school students, and Skype presentations.

Libraries or auditoriums with theatre-like areas are the best venues, but Shane will also speak in your gym if that makes the most sense in terms of availability and audience size.

The only equipment Shane requires is a projector or Smart Board of some sort, with speakers, to which he can hook up his laptop.

There is no limit on audience size, though a single presentation to a very large audience will have a slightly higher fee.

 

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Vikki VanSickle (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Dynamic writer and children's publishing professional. Interactive presentations, customization available. All ages.

$280 + HST for 1 presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

Vikki is a dynamic and engaging presenter who mixes funny anecdotes with interactive activities to connect with audiences of all ages. She grew up in Woodstock, ON where she spent her childhood reading, figure skating, and watching the X-Files in the dark. In addition to writing, Vikki works in marketing at Penguin Random House and is an award-winning bookseller, playwright, former camp counsellor and musical theatre nerd.

Presentations:

JK- Gr 2

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable, but when a dragon sneezes it's a fire hazard! In this presentation students are asked to consider 5 objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in the book. Teacher's guide and printed activities available as well. A fun introduction to mythological creatures.

Works best in a classroom or library situation.

Offering 2 30-35 minute presentations for hourly rate of $280 + HST. Some travel costs may apply.

Gr 4-8

Vikki presents her journey from library kid to published author including a behind the scenes look at publishing, writing tips, and her famous backpack activity, which demonstrates how simple it is to spark a story.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Summer Days, Starry Nights Presentation

Gr 6-8

This presentation focuses on music and culture of the 1960s and includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Req: projector, surface to project onto

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

 

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Gail Sidonie Sobat (AB)

GailSidonieSobatwp1Alberta, Writers’ Union Member. YA, New Adult, 2x White Pine Honour. Multi-awards. Grades 4-adult.

$375 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, plus travel and accommodation.

Gail Sidonie Sobat is an award-winning author of eleven books, and many educational and academic articles. She is the creator/coordinator of YouthWrite®, camps for kids who love to write…just about anything!©. A dynamic performer, speaker, international workshop presenter and writer in residence, she has toured across Canada, the US, and has worked in Helsinki, Finland; Doha, Qatar; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Istanbul, Turkey and with the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries.

Presentations and Workshops

When Gail presents or gives a reading, she chooses and performs excerpts that are dramatic in nature. She has a background in performing arts, professional speech and singing training, and often peppers presentations with personal anecdotes and music, sometimes inviting the students to join in.

As an award-winning arts educator who has worked in elementary, junior high, high school and university settings, and as writing mentor and writer in residence, Gail has worked extensively with people of many ages and from diverse backgrounds, including at-risk youth.

Gail is comfortable with large groups or workshops with smaller groups, and is very familiar with the rigours and requirements of the elementary or secondary school teacher (Grades K-12). An ideal workshop size is 15, but she can work with groups of 20-30 people.

She is very familiar with Writer’s Workshop and 6+1 Trait® Writing.
Any workshop, reading or presentation can be tailored to meet your needs or requests. E.g. Presentations may consist of a 20-30-minute reading, followed by Q&A (total of one hour) OR of a 20-30 minute reading, followed by Q&A, culminating in creative writing exercises (half-day). Discussions may include the writing process from brainstorming to writing drafts to finished product, and/or may focus on young adult markets and requirements for student submissions.

Readings/discussions can be tailored to fit within current English/Language Arts area of study, matching objectives for curricula (K-12), or appropriate to AP or IB English studies.
Longer sessions may include several classes to a full-week or longer residency (writing creatively, incorporating drama into the creative process, working on editing and proofing skills, working one-on-one, facilitating student/staff anthology creation, or facilitating a culminating activity such as café readings or school-wide student presentations.

Gail is also happy to work/meet with any staff interested in writing and/or publishing or PD presentations.

Some possible themes:

Writing in Role
Finding a Voice
Found Object/ Found Poetry
Wordplay
Poetic Licence
Fantastic Voyages & World Building
Get Cracking! Get Creative
Gimme Goose Bumps
Life of the Writer (or any presentation on any of her titles)
Graphic Novels
YouthWrite

All venues, but library is preferred
Equipment required:

· glass of water
· table for displays
· microphone & sound system for larger groups or in the gym
· LCD projector & speakers
· Internet access during presentations

Virtual Visits: $150, 60 minutes, Skype

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Richard Scrimger (Toronto)

Toronto based. Writers’ Union Member. Funny-serious novelist. Multi awards.

$350.00 for one presentation, $600.00 for two, $850.00 for three, or $1000.00 for four. HST and maybe a rental vehicle (moving back to the city, he gave away his car) extra.

Richard Scrimger has written more than 20 books for children and adults, and been awarded and translated a lot. Recent novels feature a magic camera, an upside-down world visited through a city sewer, a War of 1812 that may be happening right now, and a depressed zombie. (Fortunately, confusion is Richard’s natural state.) Alongside the humour in all his stories are serious life issues. The magic camera helps our hero understand what it is to be gay. The upside-down world unites a grieving boy and his dead dog.  The zombie has to deal with prejudice in school and parent council, national media, and family. The War of 1812 – no, actually, that one’s just wacky.

Richard’s presentation for grades JK-2 suggests a simple formula: experience + ideas = story. The group crafts a story together, and the audience participates in a raucous read-along.

For middle grades (3-5) Richard recounts an event from his own life to model techniques of story-building. Then he and the audience create their own story using some of those techniques. He uses a power-point to show how pictures can tell a story.

Presentations to seniors (6-8) start with the dark places inside us where stories are born. Richard shows how to twist dark truths to make convincing stories. He and the audience put together a story from pieces of truth, and discover how and why it works.

High-school students get a more formal approach. Richard introduces the four kinds of writing necessary to tell a story, the three basic plots, the different types of protagonist and antagonist, the role of the narrator, the importance of voice. If the group is small enough, Richard uses shared exercises to facilitate character and plot.

There is no maximum number of students per session: Typical would be 60-100. Fewer students means more interaction. Over a certain number, Richard might charge more.

Richard is on the faculty of the Humber College School For Writers. He offers interactive workshops and writer-in-residence programs, working with class-sized groups over several sessions to produce a finished product.

He and Ted Staunton – part of the highly successful ‘7’ series of linked novels — have developed a collaborative approach to writing they call Story Team. The 2 authors present in tandem, giving hands-on support to pairs of students crafting narratives together.

Richard offers Professional Development Workshops for teachers, educators, story builders. He has given key-note addresses across Canada, and conducted story workshops on 4 continents.

He is comfortable in any venue – classroom, library, auditorium, gymnasium, concert hall, phone booth.

Richard requires: Coffee.

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Jennifer Maruno (Burlington)

jennifermaruno6.jpeg Burlington, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Asian & Aboriginal historical fiction - Multi Nominations - All ages.

Jennifer's rate is $250 for one session, $400.00 for two, $600.00 for three and $800.00 for full day, plus travel from Burlington.

 

At home, in front of the classroom, camera and podium, Jennifer Maruno's understanding of children and their literature is well known. Former teacher and school administrator, Jennifer has provided years of presentations to audiences of all ages from kindergarten to secondary school and the educational community of librarians, student teachers and school council members. Her presentations include a variety of visual materials, resource materials, artifacts, sometimes songs and poems and many opportunities for interaction and questions.

 

Presentation Details

Gr. 1-3  (to build on emergent writing skills)

Deliciously Descriptive Passages

Sounds, Smells and Sympathy

Gr. 4-6 (to extend writing skills and historical knowledge)

Walk in Another’s Path – The History of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Celebrating Asian Heritage (Japanese)

Gr. 7-12  (to develop historical empathy and understanding)

The Story Behind the Story –Japanese-Canadian Interment in WW2

One Boy's Story - The Underage Soldier

Truth & Reconciliation- The History of Cultural Conversion

Jennifer will tailor her presentations to the age of the group, their cultural diversity and developmental needs and pursue other topics upon request. Maximum group sizes for presentations: 45 for 1-3, 60 for 4-6, auditorium capacity for 7-12

Writing Workshop Topics

The Disappearing Art of Letter Writing

I.O.U. a story, self-editing based on Information, Organization and Use of Convention

Creating a Response Journal -Awakening children's literature skills as they learn how to share thoughts, emotions and reactions.

All Venues, library preferred where possible

Equipment and other requirements

  • Computer and projector for use of data stick
  • Table for artifacts
  • Bottle of water
  • Microphone set up for auditorium presentations with podium for notes
  • Staff assistance in the form of teacher-librarian and/or classroom teacher

Please note: Jennifer will be happy to provide an insert of information regarding her presentation for the school newsletter.

 

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Robin Stevenson (BC)

BC. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winner and GG finalist. Writing instructor and editor. Fiction and Non-fiction. All ages. Available for Toronto visits Jan 30 - Feb 4, and again in May 2017.

Robin’s rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two, $750 for three and $850 for a full-day, plus travel if applicable.

Robin is the award winning author of nineteen novels for children and
teens, as well as the non-fiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity and
Community. She is also a former social worker, a creative writing
instructor, a freelance editor, and an experienced and passionate
presenter. As the author of early chapter books, middle grade books, and
YA novels, she presents to all age levels. She especially loves giving
writing workshops.

Presentation Details- grades 4-12; 45-60 minutes

School Visits

I am available for author visits, school and library presentations, author-in-residence programs, writing workshops and conferences. My school presentations are appropriate for older elementary students (grade four and over), as well as middle school and high school students. I am also available for professional development workshops for teachers and librarians on a number of issues (Creating LGBTQ-Inclusive Schools; Supporting Queer-Straight Alliances; Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers, etc).

All presentations, workshops and programs can be tailored to the needs of the particular group.  Please contact me to discuss your group’s needs and for information about my rates and availability. I am happy to provide reference letters on request.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community (grades 4-12)

For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice, and celebrate a diverse community. The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colorful. But there is a lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it? In this engaging and interactive presentation, Robin draws on her new non-fiction book,Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community. She talks about the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the challenges still faced by LGBTQ people and communities today. Using images and anecdotes from the book, Robin shares historical photographs, stories of contemporary kids and teens, and images of Pride celebrations from around the world. In this presentation, Robin emphasizes the important role of allies and the idea that we all have a part to play in making our world a better place for everyone.  This session would be a good choice for schools focussing on inclusiveness and equality, and for groups working to prevent bullying.

 Becoming a Writer: Finding & Telling Your Stories (grades 4-8; grades 9-12)

In this engaging presentation, Robin shares how she became a writer, where her ideas come from and what her creative process looks like. She discusses some of the challenges she experiences and share some tips for young writers. She also facilitates a group brainstorming exercise to illustrate how to develop a story through an understanding of its characters. Students will work together to develop a character, explore possibilities for conflict, and uncover the myriad of story possibilities that this leads to. In this session, Robin’s goals are to share her passion for the writing process and to inspire students to pursue their own creative interests.

 Creative Writing Workshops (grades 6-12; maximum 30 students):

Robin is available to facilitate hands-on creative writing workshops for small groups. Participants will explore how they can use their own experiences and curiosity to create compelling writing and convincing characters; discuss strategies for finding story ideas; develop their skills at creating complex and believable characters; and discover how well-developed characters can help uncover new story possibilities.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: Any size group. I prefer to have no more than a three-grade spread for a single presentation (eg. Grades 4-6, 6-8, 10-12).

Writing Workshops work best with small groups (maximum size 30)

All venues (classrooms, libraries, auditorium, gymnasiums etc.)

Equipment and other requirements: I like to use power point if possible– can bring my own laptop but need will need a projector and screen.

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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.

To book Rebecca, please email us:

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