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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Mike Deas (Salt Spring Island, BC)

Silver Birch Express Nominee. Mike Deas is an author/illustrator of graphic novels. Writers' Union member. Available May 15-19, 2017. His rate is $275 for one session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $950 for four plus travel from downtown Toronto.

Mike has illustrated over 14 Graphic Novels and books for young readers including Tank and Fizz and the Graphic Guide Adventure series. His passion for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Mike also works as a concept artist in the Video Game industry.

Mike’s presentation for grades 3-8 takes the audience through the production of his work (from doodles to publication), he provides drawing advice, tips on story development and hands on artistic demonstrations.

Through humor, Mike offers an inspirational glimpse into the creation of a graphic novel and the ongoing journey of education, trial and error, and experience in the world of illustration. Mike does an interactive multimedia presentation which details a step by step description of Liam O’Donnell and his joint process creating the Tank and Fizz series including; story, character design, thumbnail sketches, pencils, inks, color and finally publication. Several live drawing demonstrations with audience participation highlight the power of visual story telling and an open imagination.

His interactive presentation encourages literature through the Graphic Novel medium to even the most reluctant readers. The one hour (flexible) presentation includes time for questions and answers.

Set up Requirements: projector (to connect to a PC laptop), screen, easel or flipchart for drawing demonstrations and table to display books.

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Sharon Jennings (Toronto)

sharonjenningswp1Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction. All ages. Blue Spruce Winner. Governor General finalist. Multi-nominations and honours.

$375 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + HST and travel.

Sharon is an experienced and enthusiastic presenter who gears her visit to the needs and interests of each group. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and novels for the reluctant reader, she appeals to a wide audience, and often does four author visits in the same school or area in a day. Sharon also delights in conducting writing workshops.

Sharon has a lively, fun, interactive presentation for children and adults of all ages, and claims her mission is to teach and entertain. She reads several of her books (or passages from many) and explains the ideas behind the stories, and demonstrates to her audience that they, too, can be writers with great stories to tell. She is a relaxed and flexible presenter, and creates immediate rapport with kids and teachers.

JK- Grade One: using the Jeremiah and Mrs. Ming trilogy, The Bye-Bye Pie, several Franklin titles (she is a ghost-writer of over 40 Franklin books), Sharon involves the children in dramatic recital of the actions and choral response.

Grade Two-Four: as a former language arts editor, Sharon is mindful of using the terminology that can be helpful to teachers – brainstorming, word-webs, drafts, revision – in order to strengthen student writing. Using many of her chapter books (Bats and Burglars) and reluctant readers (Bats on Break) as well as a few picture books (C’Mere Boy!), Sharon demonstrates the writer’s craft, and explains how text and illustration work together. She also displays the manuscript she wrote in grade 4!

Grades Five and Six: Sharon discusses the writing process at length and shares information about publishing. Using her novels Home Free and its sequel Connecting Dots, she explains how students can use events from their own lives to create stories, and leaves teachers with several ideas for writing projects.

Grade Seven and up: The focus is on the writer’s craft – plot, dialogue, character, description, the ‘elasticity’ of time – using material from all of her books. She provides insight into research and editing, and shares personal experiences (and some gossip).

Teachers: Sharon often conducts a lunch-time mini session for teachers longing to get published. Sharing her experience as a manuscript evaluator and Ryerson teacher, she highlights common dos and don’ts.

Maximum group size: about 50 students, (usually 2 classes combined) to facilitate lots of Q&A.

Library venue preferred.

Equipment: a table for book display; chalkboard or flip chart; microphone for venue with difficult acoustics (gym).

 

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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.

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