Bernice Hune (Toronto)

Bernice Hune. Toronto.  Storytellers of Canada.  金山Gold Mountain Stories. Traditional Asian folklore & Canada’s immigrant history (FDK - 12). Per session, 80-100 students. Three Sessions $625 + travel from Toronto.

 

A seasoned performer, Bernice has presented at 1001 school and festival events, from Vancouver Island for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week Tour to Halifax for the Canadian Museum of Immigration - Pier 21, as well as at the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

Bernice shapes each presentation to the listeners. What languages are students hearing at home?  In Bernice’s childhood Toronto home, voices talked in Cantonese. Elders told enchanted fables as well as personal stories about the railway, the head tax and the struggle for the rights of full citizenship.  Her performances delight and inform audiences of all ages.

“Excellent stories - younger students appreciated the humour, enjoyed opportunities to join in on story chants and movement. Great multicultural emphasis!!” - Tamara Clark, Literacy Coordinator, Warren Park

Bernice displays an iron spike, silk cocoons, moon calendar animals, sumie brushes & other items for interactive programming. K to gr 8 guide:

    • The Magic Paint Brush & other enchanting tales for celebration
      Leung! -- chant in Chinese to wake up a wondrous creature
      12 Animal Calendar -– folklore for the lunar new year
      Li-Shi & the Mulberry Tree -- discovery & invention along the ancient silk trade route
      Ghost Train -- Canadian classic by Paul Yee, tells of building the railway with Chinese workers
      BaBa’s Blue Shirt – social justice & hidden head tax papers
      Three Generations under one Roof - heartfelt collisions

For youth and adults, Bernice tells historical stories with fictional characters that she has created, including:

  • Mr. Yip’s Laundry -- enfranchisement, a right that came with a fight for World War II veterans named Wong, Chu & Yip
    Shoes for Suyin in the Chinese Exclusion era, an opera performer with luck & pluck enters Canada

"Outstanding and thought provoking -our history of Canada includes such diversity and should be embraced. Students were completely engaged and very excited to hear the stories. "Ghost Train" gave a captivating backdrop of Canadian Chinese history during the CPR creation.  Thank you for sharing your own personal stories also!"- Jennifer Mohamed, Teacher-Librarian, Donview Middle School, Toronto

Each Session tailored to the participants.  Three Session Fee $625.

  • JK/SK                    45 min.  (about 75 students)
  • grade 1-3             55 min.  (4 classes, max. 80 )
  • grade 4-8             60 min.  (3 classes, max. 100)
  • grade 9-12 varies with venue

Solo concert, family literacy evening, workshop and guest speaking engagements available, the fee for these specialty events varies with venue.

Bernice is a storyteller, actor, radio broadcaster and arts educator. Her presentations highlight the Autumn Moon Festival, Lunar New Year & Asian Heritage month in May.

Prefers a Library setting, but adapts to any space.

Needs a table, chart board with a ledge (marker & masking tape), world map and microphone for some settings.

 

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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. $550 + GST for half day (2 sessions, or entire school in one), $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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