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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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

Writers’ Union Member. Niagara, ON. Teacher. Nominated for a 2017 Silver Birch Nonfiction award. Grades 3 to 8. $250 for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three, $800 for four. Happy to do multiple visits in the same school or area in a day. Sessions are 45 to 60 minutes long. Skype visits $150 (45 to 60 min).

Sue Irwin enjoys every step of the writing process. A proud Canadian and avid hockey fan, she’s especially interested in the lives of her fellow-citizens, both famous and not-yet-famous. And she loves to share newly discovered facts with kids. Her work has appeared in AppleSeeds and Highlights for Children magazines. She has also written for Reading A-Z. Safety Stars: Players who fought to make the hard-hitting game of professional hockey safer is her first book.

An elementary school teacher, Sue is comfortable doing presentations with children from JK to Grade 8, but the subject matter of her book Safety Stars is most suitable for students in Grades 5 to 8. (Resource Guide.)

Having been a fan of the sport for as long as she can remember, Sue thought she knew the game well. But as she conducted her research for the book, she was excited to learn more about the history of the game, its rules, and the competitors themselves. All of the hockey players featured in Safety Stars are Canadian citizens, and many grew up in Ontario. When Sue comes to your school, she’ll highlight the hockey heroes from your hometown, whenever possible. Prepare to be surprised by the fun facts that she’ll share!

Sue’s presentation topics include:

– how she became interested in hockey. She’ll share memories of her first (embarrassing!) game experience.

– the exciting world of nonfiction

– the process of writing for publication (includes researching, writing, and revising)

– Ha, Ha! Hockey Talk (includes hockey trivia and funny quotes from professional players)

– how students’ actions can make a difference in the lives of others

– concussion safety (includes ways to reduce injury risk, concussion symptoms, the importance of reporting injuries, and treatment of concussions)

Sue enjoys interacting with her audience, and will intersperse opportunities for Q & A throughout her presentation.

Equipment and Other Requirements

Venues: Flexible, but the library or a classroom is preferred.

 

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Hazel Hutchins (Canmore AB)

Blue Spruce nominee for Snap. Writers' Union Member. $500 for two sessions, $725 for three sessions and $900 for four sessions plus HST and a flat fee for travel and accommodation of $100 per day. Hazel's spring 2017 Ontario schedule is now FULL.

Hazel enjoys giving lively presentations to students from kindergarten through grade six. She is an experienced author whose award winning picture books and middle grade novels (over fifty titles in all) have taken her to schools, libraries, young writer's conferences, literary celebrations and young reader programs all across Canada. Carefully adjusting her presentation to the ages, interests and attention levels of the students before her at any given time, Hazel's lighthearted approach passes along useful information while building enthusiasm for reading and writing of all kinds.
“.... we all learned something – children and adults alike!” Taleblazers Festival, 2012.

Ages: Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Please keep students within one or two grade levels of each other in any one session.

JK and K are best together, without older grades, and for 45 minutes rather than the full hour.

Numbers: 60 to 100 students per session works best. Larger numbers negotiable but please ask.

Location: A library, music room or multiple-use room always works better than a gymnasium if at all possible. Please seat students on the floor, carpet or mats rather than in chairs. Thank you!

Equipment: A screen (or white wall), an extension cord, a table, and two ordinary chairs.

If it is necessary to use the gym then a sound system is needed please. (Try to avoid the gym if possible.)

Presentation Descriptions:

Story Fun for K - Grade 2

What makes a story special? How do stories become books? Using engaging visuals and lively storytelling—as well as chants, finger plays and active involvement from the students themselves—Hazel gives a fun introduction to story building for this youngest of audiences.

Tips, Tricks and Keeping it Real for Grades 3 - 6

By sharing her writing experiences from creating stories of all kinds—picture books, chapter books, a YA novel and beyond—Hazel helps readers and writers in the middle grades see the stories within themselves in new light. Topics include discovering ideas that work, building stronger characters, coming up with great endings, the painful necessity of rewriting, unusual research and enjoying the process along the way.

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Kate Blair (Toronto)

kateblairwp1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Debut novel Transferral gathering rave reviews.

$200 for 1 session, $375 for 2, $500 for 3, $600 for 4 sessions. Limited to visiting schools accessible by public transit, or where a teacher is able to provide transport from the nearest transit stop/station - no travel costs within Toronto; actual transit cost elsewhere in the GTA.

Presentations suitable for grades 3 to 12.
kateblairwp2
Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park, she has lived in four countries on three continents. Her young adult novel, Transferral, explores ideas around justice, punishment and class in an alternate version of London, England. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

Kate loves to share her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and finding your place in the world. Presentations are tailored to meet the needs of the age group, and are flexible, responding to the curriculum and the interests and curiosity of the students. She has years of experience in museums leading school workshops and presentations with all age groups, keeping students engaged and entertained.

Kate draws on her own struggles with concentration and fitting in at school to connect with students. She presents on the importance of passion and time - rather than talent - inspiring students to pursue what they love and to put the work in, rather than believing they should only focus on what they've been told they are 'good at'.

Kate’s presentations can cover a variety of topics, adapted to suit the audience and their interests, including the following:

The importance of failing; how no-one is any good at anything when they first start.

Why being the odd one out at school is a good thing.

Writing a book: what does it take and how do you get started? Including: how to spark ideas; how to create characters; how to keep your reader reading; how to edit and how to research.

Topics related to Transferral: Crime and punishment – what is the purpose of justice? A brief history of crime and punishment in London. Democracy and other ways to change the world around you.

All venues, library preferred.
Maximum group size: 200
Equipment and other requirements:
A microphone and podium for larger groups, or if the presentation is in a gym or auditorium.
A flip chart.
A glass of water.
Lunch (a sandwich is fine) if Kate is booked for morning and afternoon.

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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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Gisela Sherman (Dundas)

giselashermanDundas, Ontario. Writers' Union Member. YA, middle grade, early chapter, junior reluctant reader fiction. Writing workshops.

Gisela’s rate is $250 for one session, $200 for each following session, in the same school or area, plus travel beyond 30 km.

 

Gisela is an experienced presenter who really enjoys meeting her readers and makes sure they have fun too. As a former elementary school teacher and teacher-librarian, and creative writing instructor at Mohawk College and McMaster University, she tailors her presentations and workshops to suit each group, and any teacher requests.

 

As the author of a variety of ages of books, she can present to every grade in a school. For schools wishing to include younger grades (including JK and K), she has prepared a short, fun reading and activity.

She also enjoys talking or giving workshops to adult groups.

Presentations by Grade

Gisela is a flexible, easy presenter who adapts her presentations and workshops to any grade, teacher requests and student interest. She aims to instruct, entertain, and involve her audience, to help them share her love of reading and writing. All presentations allow time for questions.

Her presentations and workshops include:

JK -2: two 30 minute story reading and follow-up sessions for the price of one full session.

2- 4: presentation about writing, a reading and an activity, using King Of The Class, and perhaps There’s A Snake in the Toilet. (possible themes - friendship, research, competition.)

4 - 6: presentation including writing and research tips, a reading, and an activity, using There’s A Snake in the Toilet. (possible themes - bullying, bravery, snakes, animal treatment, friendship.)

6 - 8: presentation including writing and research tips, a reading, and an activity, using Grave Danger. (possible themes – mystery, ghosts, spreading rumours, family history.)

8 and up: presentation including writing and research tips, a reading, and an activity, using The Farmerettes. (possible themes – World War II, contribution of women during WWII, farming, adjusting to new situations, friendship.)

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 40 for JK to 3. 90+ for everyone else.

Workshops

Writing Workshops work best with 8 to 20 or so participants. For larger groups or a whole class, the teacher’s participation makes it better.

Each of these workshops will be geared to the age and ability of her audience.

Writing Workshop Topics:

How to make your characters write their story.  Hands on method for making characters 3 dimensional, interesting and believable – and how to plot with them.

Editing and the joy of second drafts. Tips, examples, and techniques of editing, plus hands on editing session – for those who bring in a piece of written work.

Setting - descriptions, mood, imagery.  Tips, examples and activities to make writing stronger and more vivid.

Other topics upon request.

Venues – classroom or library preferred. Any other as needed. Open areas with people passing through make visits distracting and difficult.

Equipment required:  A large table on which to spread books and materials, a chair, a microphone for larger groups or in the gym, a glass of water, a simple lunch (if she’s staying for the day.)

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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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