Natasha Deen (AB)

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, $700 + GST for a full day. Writers' Union Member.

“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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Ella Burakowski (Toronto)

ella-burakowskiwp1aHiddenGold_cover2.inddToronto. Writer’s Union Member.2017 Red Maple non-fiction nominee for Hidden Gold, A True Story of the Holocaust. Regular columnist for The Canadian Jewish News.

Middle grade author. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session which includes a question and answer period, is approximately 1 hour.)

Ella is a second-generation survivor, whose mother and father both suffered through the Holocaust. Ella’s mother died when she was 14 years old, before she could share her story. Ella's uncle David Gold, her mother’s brother, was able to describe their family’s terrifying struggle during the Holocaust. Ella feels that she is a unique link to the past and the future.

Ella’s presentation includes two parts.

She discusses Hidden Gold by first reviewing the basics of the Holocaust and its historical significance, then segues into how the Holocaust directly affected her family. She also describes how their affliction affected her growing up. Her presentation includes a film,in which Ella’s uncle, David Gold recounts their harrowing story of near misses with death.

The second part of the presentation reviews how Ella went about writing Hidden Gold as narrative non-fiction.She explains the different elements involved in verifying and interlacing her family’s story with historical facts and scientific data. Finally, Ella discusses the emotions of her characters, her family, as they stared death in the face repeatedly.

A question and answer period follows the 40-minute presentation.

The presentation requires audio/visual availability, either by projector, smartboard or television. Ella brings her laptop and has most cabling for connections.

The presentation can be tailored for grades 6 through high school and there is a free Study Guide available on her website, as well as on the Publisher’s website.

Ella has done presentations for children in one classroom, as well as presenting to the entire intermediate division of a school. She does presentations for adults and has spoken at libraries, book clubs, women’s groups and seniors’ residences where other Holocaust survivors were present.

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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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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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