Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Toronto. 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 within 30 kms of Toronto. Standard kilometrage applies outside that area.

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.


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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David Carroll (Toronto)

DavidCarrollwp1Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Award-winning author, ultra-marathoner and motivational speaker. Fiction.

$250 for a 1-hour session, $450 for 2, $600 for 3 and $800 for 4 (no HST). No travel charge within the GTA.

David offers lively, often hilarious, interactive presentations for students in grades 3-8. With his larger-than-life personality, wild sense of humour and genuine passion for reading and writing, David motivates students to aim high and dream big. He often talks about how he transformed himself from a non-athlete into an ultra-runner, and from a couch potato into an acclaimed sports novelist.

Both of David’s novels feature kids taking on seemingly insurmountable physical tasks – and succeeding. His presentations usually hit on the following themes: self-esteem, perseverance, physical fitness and mindfulness.
David tailors his presentations to the needs of each particular group, so no two presentations are ever alike. That said, here’s a rough sketch of what David’s presentations can look like. Note: all of these feature time for Q&A.

Grades 3 – 8: Re-Imagine Your Possible
One in seven Canadians lives with a disability. One of those people is David’s best friend.
Years ago, that friend got some terrible news. After visiting his eye doctor, he was told that he had a rare eye condition that would soon leave him legally blind. At the time, David’s friend loved playing soccer, riding his bike, and jamming in a garage band. As his vision deteriorated, he had to give those hobbies up.
That event was the inspiration for David’s second novel, ‘Sight Unseen.’ In this presentation, David talks about the many sacrifices that ‘other-abled’ people are forced to make – but how, with some assistance, that needn’t slow them down.

Grade 3 - 6: Impossible Doesn’t Exist
How is it possible to run 100 miles without stopping? What inspired the events in the novel Ultra?
In this highly interactive presentation, David draws on his racing experience to reveal some of the wilder aspects of long-distance running: i.e. meeting bears and wolves on the trail, running at night, hallucinating, and “hitting the wall.” He also discusses practical matters like nutrition and good health, and the all-important matter of training your mind. Finally, he discusses the word impossible – and how there really isn’t any such thing.

Grades 3 – 8: Write What You Know
Both of David’s novels, Ultra and Sight Unseen, feature kids who are placed under enormous pressure. The main character in Ultra is running from grief. The protagonist in Sight Unseen is coping with a visual impairment and bullying.
Learn about the actual people (and events) that inspired these stories. Find out how they were transformed into fiction.

Grade 3 – 6: WORKSHOP: "Ultra Fit"
Includes fitness, adventure style running, and games along with a great shot of encouragement and inspiration. Maximum: 30 students

Grade 7 – 8 WORKSHOP: “Writing Through the Wall”
Writing is re-writing. To prove it, David shares some of his original manuscripts, rewrites, rejection letters, radio game show scripts, and explains how each of his novels began and evolved. Maximum: 30 students

NOTE: If the weather’s good, and if time allows, David loves to go running with the students after his presentations (i.e. during recess or after school). Ask about this at the time of booking.

Presentation Specifics:
Maximum group sizes: 200 for regular sessions, 30 for workshops
All venues, library preferred.
Equipment required: data projector (or SmartBoard) and screen. A small table or cart on wheels.

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