Danielle Younge-Ullman (Toronto) (White Pine)

Danielle Younge-Ullman, Toronto. Writers Union Member. Author of two YA novels, Lola Carlyle’s 12 Step Romance and Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined, which is nominated for the Governor General, White Pine Award, ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and Prix de Libraires du Quebec awards.

Danielle's fees are $300 + HST for 1 hour presentation; $500 + HST for 2, $800 for 3, plus travel for locations outside Toronto. She is happy have two neighbouring schools split the fee.  Skype rate: $100 + HST for a 50 minute session.

Danielle is a confident and dynamic presenter who loves talking about books with people of all ages. She attained a BA from McGill, worked for years as an actor before turning to writing, and has had a wild variety of jobs—everything from acting, to dubbing English voices for Japanese TV, to temping, to teaching Pilates, to freelance writing. Danielle lives Toronto with her husband and two daughters.

Presentations:

Because of her background in theatre, Danielle is very comfortable in front of an audience and loves engaging with readers. Though she writes teen fiction, she can also adjust her presentations for groups as young as grade 5 and 6. For smaller groups (25 and under) presentations can be done as workshops if requested, with the exception of How to Pursue a Career as a Novelist, which instead will have extra time built in for questions. All presentations and workshops will begin with a short read, and end with time for a Q&A.

Age range: grades 5 and up, but ideally grades 7-12. Danielle also loves presenting to and working with adult groups.

Topics:

Pantsters, Plotters &Making Soup: A discussion of the essential elements of fiction, and explanations of some of the different techniques used by writers to craft story and write fiction.

Turning Real Life Into Fiction: How to mine your experiences and then apply them to fictional circumstances to create works of fiction, using Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined as an example.

How to Pursue a Career as a Novelist: A presentation that explains the process of becoming a professional writer, from beginning writing through searching for an agent, to going through the process of being published. This presentation is great for students who are interested in the arts, and in the process of making decisions about their futures.

Equipment: podium or desk, microphone for groups larger than 40

Maximum group size: 40-60for optimum interaction, but Danielle is also comfortable in front of larger groups. 25 or fewer for workshops.

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Fonda Lee (USA) (White Pine)

Born and raised in Calgary, Fonda Lee is now a US resident residing in Portland, OR.  For this reason, Fonda cannot provide a Canadian VSS clearance. She will, however, obtain an Oregon background check if that is required by a booking host.

Fonda Writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Multiple awards including Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton finalist, ALA Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, White Pine Award nominee. Grades 8-12.

$325 plus local travel expenses for one session, $500 for a half day, $1000 for a full day (max 4 sessions). 30-minute Skype visits for $100. Booking visits during the week May 14 - 18.

Fonda Lee is the author of Zeroboxer and the Exo series, both Junior Library Guild Selections and shortlisted for multiple honors including the White Pine award. She is also the author of the Green Bone Saga, an epic fantasy series for adult readers. Fonda’s books have been praised for their intense action, moral complexity, immersive world building, and appeal to reluctant readers. Fonda is a black belt martial artist and former corporate strategist.

About Fonda’s Presentations:

An experienced and dynamic public speaker, Fonda Lee has made appearances at conferences and conventions around the country. She speaks to students in grades 8-12 about the writing and publishing process, the role of research, and the science and scientific issues in her novels. She also conducts writing workshops on idea generation, story planning, and writing action scenes. She is happy to work with educators to adapt presentations for their needs.

From Spark to Shelf

A behind the scenes look at the writing and publishing process, from an idea in the author’s head to a book on the shelf. Fonda will take the audience through her own experience and those of other authors, examining how books are inspired, written, sold, and published, with an emphasis on research, revision, and perseverance. She’ll talk about why she writes science fiction and fantasy, how she made a dramatic career change in becoming an author, and answer student questions.

 Science and Science Fiction

An author talk that can easily fit into the science curriculum as well. Fonda discusses the scientific issues, ideas, and ethics she explores in her fiction, including space travel and planetary colonization, genetic engineering, and other future technologies. Fonda will talk about the role of science fiction and why she writes it, the importance of doing research and getting the science right, and interesting new advancements science fiction writers are tackling today.

The Story Only You Can Write

A creative writing focused lecture and workshop on how to generate ideas and turn those ideas into unique and personal stories, how to plan a piece of irresistible writing, and the good habits writers need to have. Includes short writing exercises and student participation in sharing their creative ideas.

Presentation Requirements:

Fonda speaks to audiences of all sizes. She will bring her own computer and adapter. Please provide a projector and screen, audio system, a bottle of water, and a microphone for large rooms or audiences.

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Shelly Becker (Toronto) (Blue Spruce)

Toronto. Author of rhyming picture books.

 

 

 

 

$250 for one 45-60 minute session, $450 for 2, $650 for 3, $850 for 4. (Plus HST.) For younger kids, I'm happy to substitute 2 shorter sessions in place of a full session.

No travel expenses in Toronto.

Skype visits available

Shelly Becker is the author of Sterling’s EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS  KIRKUS called “an action-packed romp,” and MINE! MINE! MINE!, which has been included in many “top 5” and “top 10” lists of books to teach the concept of “sharing” over the years. In addition, Shelly is the author of more than 15 children’s novelty books.

Presentations:

FINDING OUR INNER SUPERHERO: HOW WE REACT WHEN WE DON'T GET OUR WAY

Based on Shelly's newest book, Even Superheroes Have Bad Days.

JK-SK

Presentation includes a reading of Even Superheroes Have Bad Days with discussion, props, and role-play. Students learn that superheroes make SUPER choices. The Superhero Calming Kit helps Little Superheroes calm themselves when feeling mad or sad. Shelly also shares the incident that inspired her to write the book, and a fun secret hidden in the illustrations.

Grade 1-3

Includes everything in the JK-SK presentation, more in-depth, more interactive. Students also gain an overview of the process of picture book development. Shelly shares and compares early drafts of text and illustrations and shows the color proofs. Q&A.

Grades 4-6

Building on the presentations for younger students with more mature, more in-depth discussion and activities. Q&A.

Workshop for grades 4-6: Writing With Rhythm And Rhyme. This covers the elements of rhythm and rhyme, a study of bad rhyme vs. good rhyme, and hands-on practice,  instruction, and encouragement.

Other Topics Available: custom workshops on any aspect of writing and the path to publication, including practical information and inspiration.

Required equipment: Projector for PowerPoint & stand, table for props, water, microphone, if necessary for group size and room size, Shelly brings her laptop but please have a laptop available as backup, if needed. (Even laptops have bad days!)

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Heather Camlot (Toronto) (Silver Birch Fiction)

Writers’ Union Member. 2018 Silver Birch nominee for Clutch. Writing for Children Competition winner. Heather’s rates are $250 for one session, $450 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four/full day (may be shared with a neighbouring school). $150 for a virtual visit. HST applies. No travel costs within Toronto.

Clutch has been called “powerful, moving, and wonderful” by Kirkus and a “superb story” by Quill & Quire. A veteran journalist who is passionate about children’s literature, Heather writes about books for leading publications, volunteers with the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP), and works with children’s bookstore Mabel’s Fables. In her presentations, she aims to entertain and educate, leaving the audience interested in writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as looking into their own history for inspiration.

PRESENTATIONS

Set in the heart of Montreal's impoverished Plateau neighbourhood in 1946, Clutch follows 12-year-old Joey Grosser, who vows to make money any way he can after his father dies and leaves the family with nothing more than a money-losing corner grocery store. But when he turns to the wrong man for help, Joey may lose more than just the opportunity of a lifetime to see Jackie Robinson play ball. Clutch explores ideas around family, friendship, poverty, racism, dreams and disillusionment, and of course baseball.

Heather engages students with a fun and interactive presentation. She starts by discussing the pressure to succeed – how it affects the lives of her characters, herself, and her audience. She shares the rather odd way she came to be a writer (both journalist and novelist), how she was inspired to write Clutch by delving into family history, and the lengthy process to becoming a published author. She also touches on the basic elements of a story, how to give it life through research, and why historical fiction is so important.

Presentations are one hour with question period and suitable for Grade 3 and up. They can be adapted to audience and interest; possible topics as related to Clutch include 20th-century art history, baseball history and Jewish immigration to Canada.

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are available for 16 or so participants.

Topics include:

  • Page one, line one: Students will listen to a few examples to learn the basics of crafting the all-important first line, first paragraph, and first chapter, and then write their own.
  • Ready, set, research: Students will learn about the research process, including primary vs. secondary sources, fact vs. fake news, where to look, and how to pull it all together.
  • All the news: Students will learn about different types of articles and structure, and will write their own journalistic work.
  • Getting down to business: After discussing the 10 business basics Joey follows in Clutch, students will work on a business idea and marketing plan.
  • Customized topic: Heather can tailor a workshop to your needs and audience, including adults and educators. Please contact her for more details.

All venues, library preferred

Equipment required:

  • Table and water
  • Flip chart and markers
  • Screen and projector (depending on presentation)
  • Microphone and podium (for large rooms)
  • Paper and pencils (for workshops)

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Melanie Fishbane (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Author of the young adult novel, Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery.

Melanie’s rate is $250.00, two is $450.00, three is $700.00 and four is $900.00, plus travel. Skype visits available.

An experienced teacher, lecturer and presenter, Melanie has internationally presented on children’s literature, historical fiction and the life and work of Canadian author L.M. Montgomery to people of all ages. Her presentations are adaptable to the skill and knowledge of the group and she incorporates her experience as an English college teacher to engage students in writing about what they are interested in.


Book Talks

Melanie is an animated speaker who enjoys bringing props to her presentations, which may or may not include her first writings (and most definitely not her journal from when she was 12-years-old). Geared to grades 5 and up, her presentations can be adapted to the grade level and/or size of group. All presentations discuss path to publication, writing life, with a focus on research best practices, and the writing process. Depending upon the length of the book talk, details to be explored can also include any or all of the following:
• The life and times of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables
• L.M. Montgomery as Teen Writer
• History of women during late-19th century Canada – L.M. Montgomery and her contemporaries
• Larger discussion on how to write historical fiction

Writing Workshops

Writing Historical Fiction: This 1 to 2-hour writing workshop provides an outline and framework on best practices in writing historical fiction, including the difference between primary and secondary sources, important questions to consider, as well as focusing on plotting, character, structure, description and dialogue. Workshop can be adapted for time requirements.

Journal Writing: Many writers, such as Anne Frank and L.M. Montgomery, used journal writing to explore their feelings about the world and work on their writing. This workshop shows how journal writing can not only be the first step in the writing journey, but it also be a tool for self-exploration and examination. This 1 to 2-hour writing workshop gives students the opportunity to tap into their creativity, while also exploring freewriting, discussions on the inner critic and strategies for writer’s block.

Equipment and Other Requirements

For lectures and talks, 30 to 50 students, but will take larger groups for lectures. For writing workshops, 16 or so.

I’ll require a table, water, laptop & projector for PowerPoint, and access to a microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

For writing workshops, a white board or flip paper with markers. Students should come with a notebook and pencil or pens. No laptops or cell phones, please.

 

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Amanda West Lewis (Perth, ON)

Booking Nov 7 to 9, 2017. Writer’s Union member. Writer of YA, Middle Grade, Poetry, Picture Books, Plays, Fiction & Non-Fiction.

Amanda’s rate is $300 for 1 workshop/presentation, $500 for 2, $750 for 3, plus HST. Travel costs from Perth. Travel and accommodation costs negotiable for multiple day residencies.

Amanda combines careers as a writer, theatre director and calligrapher. Over the course of 30 years, she has combined these skills to present workshops and readings to children, youth and adults in schools and libraries across Ontario.

PRESENTATION DETAILS

Readings/Presentations: Grades 5 – 12. Audience up to 300. 50 – 60 minutes.

Workshops: Grades 1 – 12. Participants up to 30 per session. 1 – 2 hours.

READINGS/PRESENTATIONS:

 “War From Both Sides” tells the story behind the story, revealing the true events and people that inspired the novels September 17 and The Pact. Slides show the children from England and Germany that are represented in the books, illustrating the challenges faced during wartime. The focus is on an empathetic understanding of World War 2 from a child’s perspective view. Topic discussed include propaganda, indoctrination, racism, and survival. Readings from both books are followed by a Q & A.

“Jazz and The Tempest” explores the creation of a novel in verse and prose. Manuscript examples explore how sound and rhythm can reflect character and pace. Slides show historical influences and aid a discussion on research. A reading from a work-in-progress, These Are Not the Words, is followed by a Q&A.

Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible with a MAC or a computer for a memory stick.

WORKSHOPS:

“The Look and Sound of Words”: Working with sound and visual clues, and drawing on aspects of theatre improvisation, the workshop moves participants into character creation, point of view and dialogue. The workshop focuses on playing with words as the basic building blocks of writing.

“Illuminated Letters”: The workshop starts with writing exercises to create simple poems based on participants’ names. Participants are then shown how to draw Versal letters in the style of 15th Century Books of Hours. Small accordion fold books are created using the poems as text, starting each with an illuminated letter. The workshop helps to develop a love and passion for letters, combining writing skills with artwork.

“The Story Behind the Picture”: A picture can tell you a lot about a person. But it’s the writer who discovers who that person is and how they fit into a story. This workshop will use photographs and pictures to get participants creating characters and inventing unique and vibrant stories.

Workshop Equipment And Other Requirements: Students require paper and pencil/pen. Amanda will bring markers, coloured pencils, additional paper and handouts as appropriate.

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Marty Chan (Edmonton) AB)

Booking for May 2018 Writers Union Member. A professional liar since 1988, Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. He’s also a keynote speaker, television screenwriter, radio dramatist, and raconteur.

Marty charges $400 plus HST for one hour-long session, $600 for two presentations, and $825 for three. He charges $1,000 for a full day visit, which allows you to schedule as many sessions as you like into the regular school day. Marty’s fees cover his travel and accommodation from Alberta, and he will offset travel costs through The Writers Union of Canada’s reading program.

If you book a full-day visit and want a family literacy event on the same day, Marty will waive the costs for the evening presentation.

The son of immigrants, Marty grew up in a French-Canadian town where he was the only Chinese kid at school. Bullied and friendless, he found sanctuary in the school library where a teacher-librarian inspired this reluctant reader to fall in love with books. Using his sense of humour, Marty turned bullies into buddies and transformed his passion for literacy into a lifelong career as a writer.

A versatile presenter with a background in theatre, Marty can present to any age and any size audience. He tailors his presentations according to grade levels, creating a unique experience for each group he visits. His sessions incorporate storytelling, humour, games, stage magic, and improv that ignite a passion for literacy in audiences from age 5 to 55. Marty has presented keynote speeches for teachers and librarians, led writing workshops for adults, performed at children’s festivals, and emceed large-scale cultural events.

Venues: Marty is able to present in any venue, but he prefers the library.

Some of his sessions include:

JK to 1: For the price of one full session ($400 plus HST), Marty will deliver two 30-minute storytelling sessions featuring Chinese folktales and stage magic. He’ll also reveal the real-life cats behind his hilarious picture book, True Story. (Maximum audience: 50.)

Grades 2 – 3: With a dose of humour, Marty recounts the real-life childhood experiences that inspired The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and improvises a scene with a few students as the stars of the story. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 4 – 6: Keep the lights on for this thrilling talk about Marty’s scary series, Keepers of the Vault, which was inspired by his haunted elementary school. This session is sure to make a few kids jump out of their seats. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Grades 7 and up: Marty reveals the research he did to write The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, a steampunk fantasy series featuring magician and escape artist Harry Houdini as the protagonist. Marty will show kids all types of shackles as well as a regulation straitjacket, from which he will attempt to escape. (Maximum audience: 100+)

Keynote sessions: Marty can present a keynote session for mixed grade levels or a family literacy night. His keynotes incorporate elements of humour, storytelling, stage magic, and inspiring stories of overcoming discrimination. (Maximum audience: 400).

Writing workshops: Want to go behind the scenes? Marty shares tips on writing thrillers, creating conflict, and crafting plays. He presents workshops for grades 3 – 12 as well as writing seminars for adults. (Maximum audience: 30.)

Virtual visits: $100 plus HST for a half-hour Skype session.

Teachers and librarians have this to say about Marty’s sessions:

“Wow! What a performance! It is hard to say who enjoyed it more, the students or the staff. We were all captivated with Marty Chan and his engaging, entertaining, and informative presentation. The students were asking for him to come visit us again minutes after the presentation ended. From the moment he began to speak, he enthralled us with details of his journey to become an author. His interactive presentation style and use of humour made his writing process come alive for the students, and murmurs of “I want to become a writer” could be heard rippling through the audience…pure gold to a teacher’s ears!” - Nikki Haight, Prince Philip Public School

“Marty engaged a very difficult group of junior high students the ENTIRE presentation. We have never had a presenter come in who was able to capture and hold their attention. This was awesome. Students were even commenting on their way out the room how amazing he was. It was so great to hear them excited about something related to learning. Students were talking about his presentation for days after. The students say he was the best author they have ever seen.” – Janet Kraft, Ralston School

Marty Chan was able to mesmerize children from kindergarten to grade three with his combination of magic, sketching, story-telling and total body language. His inclusion of Chinese folk tales was a good fit for our grade threes, as they were studying different cultures and traditions as part of the Social Studies curriculum.  In choosing children from the audience to act out his tales, the performance aspect of the Language Arts curriculum was enhanced. All the students were willingly engaged in listening, another component of the language arts curriculum. Our staff were delighted by his revision demonstration, using his “magic book”. The next day when a student was asked to add details to his story draft, he smiled and said,” Just like Marty Chan, right?” – Susan Schneider, I.F. Cox School

Equipment needs:

Marty needs a table to set his props and a glass of water. In a larger venue like the gym, Marty will need a microphone and stand as well as a projector and screen.

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Adrienne Kress (Toronto)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Writers’ Union Member.Middle Grade, YA.Winner Heart of Hawick Award (UK). Adrienne Kress’s The Explorers has been optioned by Walt Disney Film Studios.

$300+HST for a single session; $500+HST for two sessions; $900+HST for a full day. Prices for larger groups, workshops, panels, etc., to be negotiated*. Outside the Toronto area, add kilometrage and accommodation as necessary.

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto-born actor and author with six novels to her credit, as well as essays, plays and short stories. She has spoken to children and adults in a large variety of circumstances, from school assemblies and classroom workshops to writers’ associations and conference panels. Her presentations have taken her across Canada, the United Kingdom and the US. Adrienne is a dynamic, skillful speaker, insightful, knowledgeable and fun to be with.

READINGS:

Readings based on middle grade books are geared towards children in grades 4, 5, 6 and 7.  They are 45 minutes to 11⁄2 hours in length depending on needs.  The preferred group size is up to 60 children, and the preferred site is the library, but Adrienne can speak to larger groups in other venues.  She has spoken to small groups in a cozy huddle on the floor in a library and to large groups of a couple of hundred in gyms and auditoriums.

As a passionate author, professional actor and teacher, Adrienne brings a large array of skills to her readings.  She starts with a short talk about “how a book gets published” and “working with your editors is like working with your teacher,” continues with a dramatic reading from one of the books and ends with a question period and a book signing opportunity. When her session arises from one of her more swashbuckling books, Adrienne is happy to add a fencing lesson.

PRESENTATIONS:

Presentations can be geared to any audience, for example, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs.   The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group, but is most often 1 to 11⁄2 hours in length.  The content can be individualized to suit the interests of the group, but usually covers topics like the trials and tribulations of getting published (including how to get a literary agent), the writing process, working with an editor, identifying your audience, trends in modern literature and the importance of studying past works and authors.

WORKSHOPS:

Workshops can be geared to any audience, for example, elementary school students, Writer’s Craft classes, writers’ groups, book clubs. The length of the presentation varies according to the needs of the group but is most often 11⁄2 hours to 3 hours in length, though it can be expanded.  The content usually covers topics like honing your writing skills, creating your own voice, creating a “world” for your writing, the use of dialogue, humour – its types and where to use it­­– identifying your audience, etc.

AWARDS:

Shortlisted for Red Cedar (BC), Audie (US audio book awards), Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, The Quill Awards. Winner of The Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award (UK)

WORKS:

Middle Grade Novels:

The Explorers – The Door in the Alley (Delcourte Random House) (optioned by Disney)

Hatter Madigan – Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X. (Automatic Publishing, with Frank Beddor)

Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate(Scholastic)

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman(Scholastic)

Young Adult Novels:

Outcast (Diversion Books, Paranormal Romance)

The Friday Society (Dial Penguin, Steampunk)

Short Stories: In Wow! 366 (UK) and Corsets and Clockwork(USA/UK)

 Essays: Collected in The Girl Who Was On Fire,The Secret Loves of GeekGirls, and CompleteGuide to Writing for Young Adults

 Plays: Sleepy Hollow (Solar Stage Children’s Theatre)  A Weekend in the Country (Adult – TorontoSummerworksFestival  and Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

To book Adrienne, contact Cynthia Kress:

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Natasha Deen (AB)

Natasha Deen

Available Oct 16 to 20. 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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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Author of books for grades K - middle grade. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). Each session is approximately 1 hour and for younger grades, two 30 minute sessions = a single session fee.

Besides being the author of a range of stories for children, Casey is a library branch assistant experienced in running programs for both elementary and high-school-aged students. Casey aims to entertain and inform while leaving her audience excited about creating their own stories.

Writing Workshops: $400. (Approximately 90 minutes each.)

Virtual Visits: 60 minute Skype visits are also available for $150 a session.

Travel fees: No travel fee if booking within 100km of London, or 150km if booking for a full day. Neighbouring schools can split the full day cost.

Presentation Details:

Casey takes students on an in-depth, behind the scenes look at her path to publication. She shares every part of the process: elementary school writing, failed projects, rejection and editorial letters, as well as revised and finished manuscripts. She offers tips and tricks for finishing a story and how to tackle the dreaded revisions. Other topics Casey will touch on include developing characters, the elements of a mystery, writing with humour, surviving rejection, the value of persistence, and how to find your voice as a writer.

Casey is a very flexible presenter and will adapt her program to suit any audience of grades K and up.

Writing Workshops are also available for smaller groups and run for approximately 90 minutes. (Maximum size is one class.)

Workshop topics available:

Building Your Story - focus on creating a story arc, writing dialogue that crackles, and developing characters and setting.

Making Your Story Shine – focus on pacing, building tension, deepening relationships between characters, and sticking the ending. (Students should have an in-progress story to work on during the session.)

Venue: Casey prefers to present in a classroom or library space.  Maximum group size per session is 3 classes or approximately 100 students. A librarian, teacher, or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation (or workshop if the group is a full class.)

Equipment required: a glass/bottle of water and a table. A microphone for larger groups if the room acoustics require it. Lunch if booked for a full day presentation.

Casey will also deliver presentations for adult writers as well as educators looking to start a student writers’ workshop. Listed pricing would apply.

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Deborah Kerbel (Thornhill ON)

dkerbelWriters’ Union Member. GG finalist. MG, YA Fiction. $325 for one presentation, $575 for two, $850 for three, $1000 for four, + travel (no travel costs within GTA). Full day fee can be split between two neighbouring schools. Out of town visits require two or more bookings.

Deborah Kerbel was born in a police station, smack-dab in the centre of London, England. She moved to Canada before she was old enough to cultivate a posh accent or a love of marmalade. She grew up in Toronto and is now the author of six highly-acclaimed novels for kids and teens. From school groups to large events and international festivals, she’s an experienced presenter and enthusiastic speaker who uses an interactive style to engage her audience. Deborah loves visiting schools, travelling, sharing her passion for books, and meeting readers and writers of all ages. Based in Thornhill, Ontario, she’s the proud mom of two book-loving kids, both of whom continue to inspire many of her story ideas.

Presentations

Deborah’s 60 min presentation consists of:
-details about her Middle Grade and/or Young Adult novels (depending on ages present)
-motivation, rejection, determination, and the rocky road to publication
-interactive PowerPoint quiz about famous children’s authors
-discussion about where ideas come from
-personal anecdotes about writing
-reading and Q&A session
-each student receives a signed bookmark

Grades: 4 - 8

Maximum number of students per session: 60-80 (flexible)
Venue: All acceptable, but library preferred.
Equipment requirements: Projector and screen, glass of water, microphone for larger groups

Workshop details:

Deborah enjoys mentoring emerging writers through workshops, library visits, and short-story competitions. Her interactive workshop is designed to help emerging writers take their craft to the next level. Participants can expect to come away with a variety of creative new ideas and material for their writing as well as the tools to implement them. During the final part of the workshop, participants will take several minutes to write a scene using some of the character traits, setting ideas, and action scenes that were collectively brainstormed within the group.

Maximum workshop size: 15

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Irene Luxbacher (Toronto)

Irene Luxbacher photoToronto ON,  Author/Illustrator, fiction and NF.  Governor General nominee, USBBY winner and Disney Adventure Awards winner.  Multi awards and nominations

$300 plus HST for 1 session.$500 for 2, $650 for 3 and $800 for 4 + travel. Fees include art supplies.

Irene has more than 17 years experience making presentations and teaching visual art to children and adults.  Her specialty is presenting for primary ages, but enjoys making presentations to all when requested. She tailor makes her presentations to compliment teacher lesson plans and current classroom topics or interest.  As the author and illustrator of both art activity books and picture books, she usually presents to 1-2 classes at one time, with groups ranging from 20-30 children.  Because Irene often brings art supplies for demonstrations and craft projects, it is preferable for classes to rotate over the course of the day if more than one presentation is requested.

Presentations by grade

Irene is easy going and flexible with her presentations. She is understanding, warm and engaging. She always makes sure students are drawn into her world of storytelling and art making. A typical presentation usually begins with a brief introduction and the reading or sharing of one of the books she’s either illustrated or written and illustrated.  After some discussion, a theme or idea is arrived at and an art demonstration or workshop follows.  Irene always tries to leave behind a class art project that will keep kids thinking about her books and leave readers with a reminder of the fun that can be had when inspiration and imagination are at play.

Here is an example of her themes by grade:

JK to 2: A 10-15 minute reading of “The Imaginary Garden” by Andrew Larsen followed Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. gardens, seasons, environment, relationships), Ending with 30 minute group art activity such as a class garden mural project

2 to :4 A 20 minute reading of “Mr. Frank” followed by Q&A on topic of your choice (i.e. different jobs/occupations, fashion history, relationships with elderly family members).  Presentation with students creating a miniature tailor shop of the ages using collage materials.  What time period would you create clothes for? What ages? Why?

4 to 8: A 20 minute reading of “Malaika’s Costume” by Nadia Hohn. Q&A on topics such as immigration, empathy, differing cultures/customs. Presentation ending with the creation of a carnival headpiece reflecting each students own style, interests or emotions.

7 to 12: Irene would do workshops involving students in the art of storytelling through words and images for this age group.  Simplifying text and adding visual content would be discussed and demonstrated.  Some drawing techniques would be shared and students would work on the 32 page format that most picture books come in to be completed in class or at home. Students would have a chance to look through many of Irene’s books and ask questions about the process of coming up with an idea and turning it into a book.

Professional Development Workshops:

Irene loves to involve primary teachers in art making workshops that demonstrate how to make the most of a few supplies and how to ensure a successful lesson.  Ordering art supplies can be daunting and expensive if you’re not sure where to begin. Irene will bring in basic, inexpensive tools and materials and demonstrate their many uses. Irene’s professional development workshops are fun, interactive and lively and will offer teachers valuable information.  Providing a solid foundation of simple techniques that can be applied to any topic will help teachers enjoy using visual art as a teaching and learning tool on a regular basis.

Maximum group sizes for presentations: 20-30.  Workshops are ideal with 7-15 people at a time.

Classrooms or library preferred

Equipment required: A glass of water, A table to organize art supplies and books on.  Irene loves to read her books in a circle, on an open floor area with young children. A large plastic drop-sheet or two to protect desks or work areas from possible paint/glue spills.

*Irene uses art materials that are non-toxic and tools that are age/skill appropriate.

Virtual Visits: $150 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype.

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Darren Groth (Vancouver)

Darren Groth 3Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member. YA. Aussie adopted by Canada; GG Finalist,  BC Book Prizes, multi awards in Australia. Fees: $300 for 1 session, $500 for 2, $700 for 3, $850 for 4 (plus HST). Because. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools.

For the GTA (and Toronto bookings near GO stations), Darren can GO TRAIN (not buses or subway) travel both ways all day; he requires pick up and drop off at the GO stations. Where GO Trains are not feasible, car or taxi pick-up from Darren’s hotel is requested.

Bio: Darren is a Canozzie (Canadian-Australian), ex-PE teacher, proud ASD parent and author of five novels, including the acclaimed YA work ‘Are You Seeing Me?’, winner of the 2016 Adelaide Festival Award for YA Literature (Australia) and finalist for seven major prizes on both sides of the Pacific including the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the BC Book Prizes.

Presentations: Despite his occasional confounding accent and Aussie-isms, Darren is a brilliant speaker and presenter for schools, libraries and writing organizations. Presentations include:

  • ‘Seven Pieces of Priceless Advice from Perry’; an entertaining insight into the decorated YA novel ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ and an exploration of life lessons provided by protagonist, Perry Richter; includes two interactive games with prizes: ‘AYSM Numbers’ and ‘Jackie Chan or Ogopogo’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.
  • ‘Coming to Canada’; a reflective and humourous look at cultural difference in Darren’s fiction, teaching and real life; includes one interactive game with prizes: ‘Aussie Interpretations’; Grades 5-12; 60 minutes; suitable for individual classes or large groups.

Workshops: Darren is a facilitator highly skilled in co-operative learning techniques. His sessions are designed to not only produce great writing, but also great collaboration. Workshops include:

  • ‘Authorship: The FAQ’; a comprehensive and interactive overview of ‘insider’ author knowledge; includes five co-operative group exercises; half-day, only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Seeing is Believing’; a flyover of the ‘Are You Seeing Me?’ journey, from conception to publication; includes two co-operative group exercises; 60-90 minutes; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.
  • ‘Small Stories, Big Dreams: Adventures in Flash Fiction’; a deep dive into the world of flash fiction, its craft, its creation and its publishing opportunities; includes multiple writing exercises, an open mike session, and a competition/prizes; half- or full day; only for creative writing groups (max. 16); suitable for secondary students and adults.

Equipment requirements: Water, tea, lunch (Vegemite sandwich lol) if staying for the day. A screen and projector for Power Point.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 30 minutes; $150 plus HST, 60 minutes Skype.

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Heather Stemp (North Bay)

heatherstempwp1North Bay, ON, Writer's Union Member. Historical fiction for middle grade and YA readers. Red Cedar Nominee

$250 plus HST for 1 session, $450 plus HST for 2 sessions, $650 plus HST for 3 sessions, and $850 plus HST for 4 sessions, plus travel.

Heather is an experienced presenter with small and large groups. Thirty years of teaching have prepared her for settings that include the classroom, library, and auditorium.

What Teachers Can Expect

Heather believes in interactive presentations. She uses her middle grade historical fiction, Amelia and Me, to take grade 3 to 7 students on a trip to Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1932. From there, Amelia Earhart began her solo transatlantic flight. This location was also where she met Heather's aunt, Ginny. Their meeting was the beginning of an incredible adventure.

Students will be offered a hands-on experience in order to explore the geography, history, food, dress, music, and dancing of Newfoundland. Themes such as friendship, family, bullying, conflict, and early aviation can be explored further at the teacher's request. Heather is happy to examine topics that meet the curriculum expectations for a particular grade. Presentations are geared to the interests and needs of each group.

In grades 8 to 12, Heather uses her YA historical fiction, Taking Flight, to examine topics related to aviation, World War II, the Ferry Command, Amelia Earhart, Purdue University in 1936, women in higher education, and men and women in non-traditional roles. The impact of world events on family, relationships, and the community may be included. She is happy to explore the writing process with grade 8 to 12 students as well.

Because of her experience in curriculum writing, Heather is interested in collaborating with teachers. One of her sessions can be a noon hour or after school workshop which focuses on reading and writing strategies. This can be done in conjunction with school readings.

Equipment Required: A glass of water, a cup of coffee. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable. A screen and projector for PowerPoint.

Virtual Visits: $90 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype.

Download Writers-in-the-Schools subsidy form here: WITSApplication

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Karen Bass (Hamilton ON)

 

Hamilton. Writers' Union Member. MG + Teen fiction, Canadian history, Indigenous folklore, WWII, German perspective, YA, Geoffrey Bilson, CLA YA, multiple award-winner.

$275 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions), plus HST and mileage.

Skype rate: $100 + HST for a 45 minute session.

Karen is passionate about reading and loves making history come alive for readers. She frequently shares her broad WWII knowledge with groups of people from 10 years old to seniors. And she has done workshops with students as young as grade three, though usually focuses on secondary students and adults. She not-so-secretly loves action and adventure, with a splash of fantasy.

Presentations:

Karen is an enthusiastic presenter and likes to interact with students. She brings props and costumes, and loves to bring her historical knowledge to life by showing students what they would have experienced, during WWII and in pre-Confederation Canada. Almost all presentations touch on the writing process and, especially, the importance of revising.

Examples of presentations by grade:

3 to 6: Writing Workshop – Details & Descriptions. A sixty-minute interactive romp that encourages students to improve their storytelling using metaphors and strong verbs & adjectives.

Two Times a Traitor: (4 to 8) pre-Confederation, history, Canadian history, 7 Years War, life in 1700s, identity, French & English conflict. Powerpoint pictures with costume/props.

The Hill: identity, Indigenous stories, Indigenous folklore, Cree legend, Cree culture. Indigenous in modern society, cultural conflict, economic disparity. Powerpoint pictures.

5 to 12: The WWII history in Karen’s stories, with age-appropriate anecdotes. With Powerpoint pictures & props.

Uncertain Soldier: identity, immigration, coming to Canada, bullying, racism, WWII, prisoners of war, living in the 1940s.

Graffiti Knight: freedom of expression, protest movements, graffiti as protest, WWII, Soviet Zone, post-WWII Germany, living in war-torn countries.

Run Like Jager: friendship, bullying, student exchange programs, immigration, WWII, Germany, Eastern Front in WWII.

7 to 12 & Adult Workshop Topics: characters, plot, dialogue, writing action. Other topics upon request.

Maximum group size: 40-50 for optimum interaction in talks, 100 with microphone. 16 or so for workshops.

All venues. Libraries preferred.

Equipment required: a table, water, laptop & projector for Powerpoint, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

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Kate Blair (Toronto)

kateblairwp1Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Kate's debut YA novel Transferral was nominated for multiple awards and optioned for a potential TV series. Tangled Planet is set for release in the fall of 2017.

$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.

Kate's presentations are suitable for grades 5 to 12.

Kate Blair has been a museum curator, a clown and a ride operator at a theme park. She holds a degree in history and a masters in museum studies with a specialty in education.

Her first young adult novel, Transferral, is set in an alternative version of modern London, England, where criminals are punished by having the diseases of the innocent transferred to them. It explores ideas around justice, punishment and poverty. Her second, Tangled Planet, is set in the far future, on a generation starship that has just arrived at its destination planet, and deals with the struggles of the crew to adapt to their new home.

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

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.

The importance of failing and how no one is any good at anything when they first start. The role of passion and time in cultivating success, rather than 'natural' talent.

Space colonization: Talking about the research that went into creating a believable, fact-based world in Tangled Planet, and the effort that goes into getting the science of stories right. Explaining issues that face future astronauts and space missions, from the trivial - such as using the bathroom in zero-gravity - to more serious challenges associated with long-distance space travel, exploring exoplanets and finding a home for humanity among the stars.

Crime and punishment: Talking about the research that went into Transferral and the odd and intertwined history of disease, poverty and punishment in England.

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 glass of water.
Lunch (a sandwich is fine) if Kate is booked for morning and afternoon.

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Bill Slavin (Millbrook)

Millbrook, ON, fiction and non-fiction, Award-winning author/illustrator including the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Awards, Grades 2-6

$300 + HST per 1 hour session, and $250 + HST for additional sessions, plus transportation/accommodation.

Bill Slavin has illustrated over one hundred children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. Titles include Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey, winner of the 2004 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and Transformed, winner of the 2006 Norma Fleck Award. Recently he has published the third book in his graphic novel series, Elephants Never Forget. Today he is lives in Millbrook with his partner, Esperança Melo, who is also an artist and book illustrator.

Illustration as Story-telling

Bill Slavin's school presentations revolve around a discussion of illustration as a form of story-telling, with the intention of inspiring students to go ahead and create their own stories. He shares his early work with the kids, including his very first book he did back in Grade 3, Zok the Caveman (possibly the most important thing he shows them, as it gives context!) He also discusses the process he goes through to create a picture book, from manuscript through thumbnails and pencil drawings to finished art and usually includes a reading from one of his books in conjunction with showing the original art. His presentation ends with his doing a character sketch for the kids (which will be left with the school), along with a discussion of some basic drawing principals.

Each presentation lasts for about an hour, with slight change ups in the above description depending upon the age of the audience. His preferred audience is Grades 2 - 6 and audience size can be up to 125 children. During the presentation he shows original book art and sketches and reinforces what he's showing with projections of the art (if the AV equipment is available), leaving room for lots of Q & A.

Bill's aim in the presentation is to demystify kids' relationship with art and make it real, tangible and immediate so they can go forward and have the confidence to create their own stories.

Audience Size:  125 maximum (it's best if the kids are seated on the floor or on mats)
Preferred Grades Grades 2-6
AV Requirements:  A laptop linked to a projector. If available he will bring his presentation as a Powerpoint document on a key.
Venues: All, library preferred
Other Requirements A table to organize his work on and a glass of water to wet his whistle!

Signed Books
A signed book can be a chance for kids to make a lasting connection with a visiting author. If any of the kids would like to order a book before the visit, Bill can put you in touch with his local book distributor who would be pleased to provide order forms and make arrangements to have books shipped to your school prior to the presentation.

Please note: Bill's surname is pronounced SLAY-vin.

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Melanie Florence (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Winner of the TD Children's Literature Award! Author of novels, non-fiction and picture books and recent winner of the Second Story Press Aboriginal Writing Contest.

Melanie’s rate is $300, two is $550, three is $800 and four is $1000, plus travel from Toronto. (No costs for travel within the GTA.)

Melanie tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Groups can choose one of her books for her to do a short reading from and she discusses her experience as a writer, what led her to become a writer and where she gets her ideas. She also talks about the process of writing … from idea to publication.

Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about what drove her to write books with Aboriginal characters and issues, such as residential schools, racism and teen pregnancy.

Melanie can also gear her presentation to discuss Aboriginal issues, such as residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Melanie’s most popular visit is a serious but enlightening history of residential schools and introduces students to what life in the residential schools was really like, which is a great addition to the Aboriginal studies curriculum.

Melanie’s books include a strong element of her Aboriginal roots and she encourages discussions and questions on Aboriginal history, residential schools, and especially diversity.

Melanie can tailor a writing workshop to your group but her favourites are Exploring Your Culture Through Writing where the group will  explore their own unique stories and The Importance of a Good First Line, where Melanie and your students will look at famous first lines and talk about what makes them strong. Using a list of strong first lines, the workshop participants will choose one to start their own story.

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 will need a projector and screen.

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Mahtab Narsimhan (Vancouver)

MahtabNarsimhanDLPSWriters' Union Member. Silver Birch winning author available for school, library and conference visits.

Mahtab’s rate is $250 plus HST for one session, $475 for two, $700 for three and $925 for four sessions, plus travel per Canada Council mileage rates.

Mahtab, in Persian, means moonlight. She won the Silver Birch award for her debut novel, The Third Eye. Mahtab enjoys connecting with her readers in interactive presentations and encourages discussions about diversity. She’s comfortable with an adult audience as well as Grades 1-3 for her picture book and Grades 4-8 for her middle-grade/YA novels. As Writer-In-Residence at the TDSB (2014-2016) and presenter at TPL (Sophie’s Studio workshops 2011 and 2016), she has given numerous writing workshops and loves it!

Presentations:

Mahtab tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Her talk is peppered with personal anecdotes about the challenges she faces when she writes, as well as tips and tricks she uses to meet her daily goal of 1500 words.  Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about the catalyst that took her from a high-powered corporate executive to becoming a writer.

Mahtab’s books include a strong element of her Indian roots and she encourages discussions and questions on world cultures, and especially diversity.  She immigrated to Canada in 1997 and is happy to  share the struggles she faced while trying to fit into Canada.

She describes the research and planning that goes into each book. She’s writing one about Mars at the moment and hopes to get funding to do first-hand research.

Writing Workshop Topics:

  • Creative writing - Fiction
  • The Danger of a Single Story
  • New Immigrant and Fitting into Canada
  • Myth and Magic

Equipment: A mike, table, projector screen and multi-plug power socket. Flip-chart and markers for workshops.

Venue : All, though libraries and classrooms preferred.  

Maximum number of students per session:  100 for presentations and 16 for workshops. This is slightly flexible so please contact her to discuss.

Virtual Visits:  $150 plus HST, 60 minutes, Skype

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Rene Schmidt (Trenton)

Trenton ON, Writers' Union Member. Author of best-selling Canadian Disasters series, RM Honour Book Leaving Fletchville.

$250 for one session, $350 for two, $500 for three and for $700 for four sessions. No travel charge within 100 km of Trenton Ontario. As a retired teacher, René is familiar with curriculum requirements and themes and can direct his presentations to specific topics or subject areas.  Just ask.

René brings wide experiences to your class or large group assembly. He has worked at hard-rock mining, truck driving, high-rise construction work, officer trainee on a lake freighter, acting and teaching, and has traveled by bicycle, motorcycle, canoe and truck through North America and Europe. Recently he taught Senior Drama at a local high school.  René is an engaging story-teller who uses various voices, props, and vivid details to hold his audience’s attention. Large or small groups will find themselves drawn to his accessible and high-interest stories of fiction and non-fiction.

René’s best-selling books on Canadian Disasters have been in school libraries since 1985 and now include four editions. These Scholastic Canada books have many accurate and fast-paced stories of Canada’s dangerous past and present. René’s award-winning fiction novel, Leaving Fletchville, is a heart-warming tale that deals with racism, fatherhood, friendship, courage and dealing with authority. Leaving Fletchville was a Red Maple Honour book. Whatever the topic, small or large groups of students are held spellbound by René’s voices and accents. The recent discoveries of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror open the portal to René’s PowerPoint presentation on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. René has up-to-date details, compelling photos and proof of the accuracy of Inuit theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

Presentation Details

As a retired teacher René know how to engage and hold an audience’s attention. He can easily adapt to any size audience or age group and he loves to answer questions. He will use your Smart Board or data projector to enhance some of these presentations. Students enjoy original verse or poetry he creates to expound on his stories.  The recently discovered wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are the focus of his presentation on Sir John Franklin and the doomed Franklin Expedition. Rene has the little-know details, the gruesome photos and various contradictory theories to share with your class.   Tell René what your curriculum needs are and wait for a pleasant surprise.

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