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)

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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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Dave Atkinson (PEI)

Dave Atkinson. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  Writers' Union Member. Dave is a fun and funny Hackmatack-nominated Middle Grade author, journalist, and broadcaster.

One session is $225, two for $400, three for $550 and 4 for $700. Plus HST and local travel.

Dave Atkinson is a children’s author, journalist, columnist, and broadcaster. His first novel for middle-grade readers, Wereduck, was nominated for the 2016 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award. Dave is a multiple award-winning journalist whose work for the CBC has appeared on The Current, Atlantic Voice, Tapestry, Maritime Magazine, and regional radio programs across the country. He and his wife are homeschooling their three silly kids in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Dave’s presentations are fast paced, funny, and a lot of fun. A professional broadcaster, he is able to freely flow from animated readings of his books to discussions about writing, publishing, and how to take the mystery out of the creative process. Dave can grab the attention of students and pull them into his stories, but still allow for a fluid, student-led conversation with lots of questions. Discussions often touch on where ideas come from, how to turn those ideas into tangible stories, and how to learn to love the red ink of a teacher or editor. Dave is available year-round in the Maritimes. He tours through Ontario in the fall and spring. Contact him for dates or to make special arrangements.

Dave’s presentations are geared towards Grades 3 through 6. He is comfortable with individual classes and groups as large as 90. Dave requires a bottle of water and a microphone when speaking to larger groups.

Dave will facilitate workshops for adults on writing for kids, getting noticed by a publisher, working with an editor, and promoting your work in traditional and social media. Fees are adjustable by the length of the workshop.

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R.J. Anderson (Stratford ON)

Silver Birch nominee. Writers' Union Member. Author of thrilling yet thought-provoking speculative fiction for children and teens. $300 for one hour-long session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for a full day, plus mileage for visits outside local area. Willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius from Stratford (which includes most of the GTA); open to travelling further if accommodation and meals are provided.

R. J. (Rebecca) Anderson was born to missionary parents in Uganda, grew up in various parts of Ontario, and has become a bestselling author in England, to her great surprise and delight. Having endured years of bullying in primary school, she loves to encourage creative young minds and inspire readers to think deeply about prejudice and discrimination.

 

Presentations and Workshops:

Rebecca is a dynamic public speaker with 20+ years’ experience. Her passion is to inspire and educate young and upcoming writers, helping them find their creative voice and take their storytelling to the next level with practical, down-to-earth advice. She also gives lively dramatic readings — no droning or mumbling here!

Although she writes fantasy, Rebecca’s stories are grounded in real-world history, folklore and science, and many of her books feature distinctly Canadian characters and settings. Ultraviolet is set in Sudbury, its companion novel Quicksilver in Kitchener-Waterloo; and A Pocket Full of Murder and its sequel A Little Taste of Poison take place in an alternate-universe version of Toronto during the Great Depression. Her books also touch on serious discussion topics such as prejudice and discrimination (Pocket), disability (Knife), mental illness and neurodivergence (Ultraviolet), and Quicksilver has been widely praised for its frank but sensitive portrayal of asexuality.

In addition to visiting numerous schools, libraries, festivals, and after-school book clubs in person and via Skype, Rebecca has taught writing workshops at a wide variety of events including Packaging Your Imagination, SCBWI Canada East, Write!Canada, Book Camp London, and the Young Authors’ Conference. She is able to tailor her content to the needs and interests of her audience, including Christian and other conservative religious schools, and is happy to work with any age group from Grade 5 to adult.

Sample presentations for general school and library audiences:
- From Brainstorm to Bookstore: The Life Cycle of a Novel
- I Became an Author – You Could Too!
- The Real-World Roots of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Sample writing workshops:
- Finding Your Character’s Voice
- Revision: The Magic Key to Successful Writing
- Writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
- Get (Un)Real: Writing Authentic Fantasy and SF
- Time Management and Motivation for Struggling Writers

Further topics available on request.

Needs:

Microphone for large audiences or rooms with poor acoustics. A small podium or note-stand and a table for books and other items used in the presentation. Bottled water or hot tea appreciated, and for full day bookings, a simple bagged or cafeteria lunch.

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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch nominee. Middle grade author. $250 for one session, $450 for two sessions, $650 for three sessions, $800 for four (a full day). (Each session is approximately 1 hour.)

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.

Casey is the author of the middle grade mystery series, Howard Wallace, P.I. She 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.

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 three and up. Each presentation is approximately 1 hour with time allowed for student Q&A throughout.

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. Please contact her for more details.

 

 

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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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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 London, England, but moved to Canada before she was old enough to cultivate a posh accent or a love of marmalade. She is the author of six 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 humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Deborah loves visiting schools and meeting readers and writers of all ages. Based in Thornhill, Ontario, she’s the proud mom of two book-loving children, 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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Diane Carmel Léger (New Brunswick)

D.C. Léger-1Writers’ Union member. Award-winning Acadian author, who does her own translations. Former French Immersion Teacher. Primary, middle grade and intermediate presenter. Three 60 min. presentations a day: $325 for 1, $575 for 2, $775 for 3. For K-1, two 30 min. presentations count for 1.  Plus travel expenses.

Diane is eager to share her latest picture books, My Two Grandmothers and Mémére Soleil, Nannie-Lune, which are playful and loving comparisons of her Acadian and Scottish grandmothers.
A polished presenter in both languages, Diane has toured schools and libraries in Canada and the U.S, since 1991. All of her presentations prove that it is easier to write about what you know.

1-K-1 30 min. / 30 students max.

My Two Grandmothers or Mémére Soleil, Nannie Lune
-Reading with projected illustrations
-Q&A

2- Gr. 2-4   60 min. / 60 students max.
 
a) Maxine’s Tree, Who’s in Maxine’s Tree? or L’arbre de Maxine, Qui est dans l’arbre de Maxine ?
-Reading of one of the books with projected illustrations
-Slide show of the real Maxine’s Tree* depicting her family’s efforts to save a rainforest
-Q&A
-Comical excerpts from My Two Grandmothers

b) Emily Carr’s Attic or Le grenier d’Emily Carr
-Reading with projected illustrations
-Brief slide show of Emily Carr’s menagerie, attic art, and paintings
-Author’s experiences living in Emily Carr’s house
-Q&A
-Comical excerpts from My Two Grandmothers or Mémére Soleil, Nannie Lune
 
3- Grades 5-6   60 min. / 60 students max.

Piau’s Potato Present or La patate cadeau ou la vraie histoire de la poutine râpée
 
Since studying Acadian History at the Université de Moncton, Diane’s passion has been to make this little known part of our history more accessible. She succeeded in doing so with La butte à Pétard, which has  been continuously published and studied in Canadian and Cajun schools for over 25 years. Recently, this novel has been optioned for a film.

-Brief reading
-Dynamic interactive version of Acadian History, with slides of historical sites such as Port-Royal, Louisbourg, Fort Beauséjour, Île-à-Piau and the butte à Pétard hideout.
-Q&A

4- Gr. 7-8 60 min. / 60 students or 100 if in an auditorium

La trilogie de la butte à Pétard  à  La patate cadeau
 
-An adapted version of the Gr. 5-6 presentation
 
Requirements: Projector or smart board, table for books and props, lapel microphone

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Rene Schmidt (Trenton)

ReneSchmidtwp1Trenton ON, Writers' Union Member. Canadian Disasters series, Red Maple Honour Book, Fiction, Canada’s little known best-selling author.

Rene will charge $175 for one session, $300 for two, $500 for three and for $650 for four sessions. Free mileage within 100 km of Trenton.

Rene Schmidt is a man of wide experiences, from hard-rock mining to truck driving, construction work, crewing on freight ships, acting, teaching, and travels extensively by bicycle, motorcycle, canoe, or truck through Canada. Rene is an award-winning author and engaging story-teller. Reluctant readers and book-shy individuals will find themselves drawn to his stories, of both fictional and true events.

Rene’s books on Canadian Disasters are likely already in your school library.  These best-selling books by Scholastic Canada have accurate and compelling stories of Canada’s dangerous past, written in brief and high-interest format. Rene’s school-setting fiction novel, Leaving Fletchville traces the heart-warming tale of a boy who defies authority to act as surrogate father to his siblings.  Leaving Fletchville was a Red Maple honour book. As a retired teacher, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents.  The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men.  Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic 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, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents. The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic 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.

 

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Maggie De Vries (BC)

maggiedevries Vancouver, BC. Writers' Union Member. Fiction & NF. 2016 White Pine nominee. Multi awards. All ages.

$350 plus HST for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4 (can be shared between two schools in the same area). No additional cost for travel or accommodations.

Available in the Guelph area, May 9 to 13, and in Toronto, May 16 and May 18 to 20.

Maggie writes YA and middle-grade novels, narrative non-fiction and picture books. She is sought after for her rich, dynamic presentations for all ages. Maggie can do up to four presentations in the same school or area in a day. As an experienced editor, a lecturer in UBC’s Creative Writing Program and the author of an adult memoir, she also loves speaking to adult groups and giving writing workshops to adults and young people.

RabbitEars
Presentations

Maggie tailors her presentations to the needs of each audience.

Grades 8 to 12: 60 minutes. Maggie has written two books for teens: Rabbit Ears (a White Pine nominee for 2016) and Hunger Journeys, a historical novel set in the Netherlands in WWII. She is also often asked to speak to teens about her adult memoir, Missing Sarah: a Memoir of Loss, which is about her sister who is one of Vancouver’s missing women. She speaks about research and the writing process, about the challenges of writing for young readers about war, and about the difficult issues that arise in Rabbit Ears. A talk on both Missing Sarah and Rabbit Ears works very well for older teens.

Grades 3 to 7: 60 minutes, a 3-grade spread at the most. Maggie’s three animal stories—Tale of a Great White Fish: a Sturgeon Story, Fraser Bear: a Cub’s Life and Big City Bees— and her two linked middle-grade novels—Chance and the Butterfly and Somebody’s Girl—form the focus for a presentation that mixes science (learning about sturgeon, black bears, Chinook salmon,honeybees and butterflies) and research and writing tips. This presentation is rich in photos from Maggie’s research.

Workshop Topics, Grades 5 to 12 (and adults): Sources of Story in Everyday Life. Growing Ideas into Stories. Transformative Revision. Building Stories Using Scenes. Or a different idea proposed by the hosting school. The smaller the group, the better, and groups for workshops should not be larger than 30.

All venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch (a sandwich or salad and a piece of fruit) if she’s staying for the day. 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.

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Natale Ghent (Toronto)

author photo colour Toronto, ON. Writers' Union Member. Award-winning author and illustrator. Grade 2 to adult.

Natale’s schedule is flexible and she would be thrilled to visit your school or library. Her rate is $350 per session, $600 for two, $850 for three, plus travel from Toronto.

Natale is a high-energy presenter who loves interacting with her audience, from grade 2 to adults. A middle grade and YA author and illustrator, Natale is passionate about both aspects of her craft. She also loves teaching workshops.

Natale’s PowerPoint presentations and workshops are interactive and big on fun with a focus on Q&A, themes, anecdotes, and personal stories about the book being discussed. In each session, Natale explores what it means to be a writer/illustrator—and most importantly, a human being.

Sessions are specifically geared toward the age and unique interests of each audience. Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences with writing, illustrating, and the topics explored in the novels being presented.

Please contact for maximum group size for presentations.

Maximum group sizes for workshops: 16

Workshop topics:

Breaking through Writer’s Block
Fiction Investigation: Elements of Writing Fiction
Illustration Materials and Techniques
Other topics upon request

Equipment required: A microphone for larger groups, table to put things on, computer setup for PowerPoint, materials as needed, water.

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Robert Priest (Toronto)

Robertpriest 7Toronto ON. Writers' Union Member. Poetry, song and Y/A fiction. People's Poetry Award. SOCAN airplay award. Multi-awards All ages.

$300 for one session, $550 for 2, $800 for 3 and $1000 for 4, +travel.

Robert is an experienced and entertaining poet, singer-songwriter, and Y/A novelist for all ages. His ability to do up to 4 presentations in the same school or area in the same day makes him an ideal economic choice. With his repertoire of picture books, children's songs and poems, Y/A novels and adult songs and poems he is comfortable with large groups and can do up to 4 of them a day. For smaller groups he has a variety of workshops in poetry, prose and lyric writing.

Robert is known for his energetic thoughtful and entertaining performances. Interactive songs and poems meant to engage the audience in the process are a feature. A good question and answer session is also a mainstay. Robert's most important job is to make sure to enthuse as many students as possible about writing and reading literature.

Here is an example of his themes by grade

JK to 2: two 30 min. song/poetry sessions for the price of one. ($300) using material from Day Songs Night Songs and Rosa Rose. Themes of play, cooperation, ecology and mutual respect.

2 to 4: 45 to 60 min. poetry/interactive song session plus Q&A on a variety of curriculum appropriate themes. (Rosa Rose, Day Songs Night Songs, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas plus songs from Summerlong.)

4 to 8: 45 to 60 min. Most of Robert's poetry, children's songs and Y/A novels are for this age group. Poems serious and humourous on topics of social justice, bullying, the environment, technology and fantasy. Can include some poems from his adult books as well. Robert loves to talk about the writing process and where he gets his ideas. (Rosa Rose, The Secret Invasion Of Bananas, Y/A fantasy novels The Paper Sword and Second Kiss.)

7 to 12 Robert has 3 Y/A fantasy novels, a repertoire of poetic rock songs, 2 books of Y/A poetry and selections from his 10 acclaimed books of adult poetry for this age group. Themes of literacy, war, repression, oppression, rebellion, friendship, bullying, the use of power, poetry, military force, coming-of-age and romantic love to name a few.

Maximum group sizes for presentations : one classroom for JK to 3. 100+ for other ages.
Writing workshops work best with no more than 15 participants.

Workshop topics:
Poetic animation—creating fun narratives and characters from real world objects.
How to write a line–some techniques for generating micro-poems and beginning lines of poems and/or lyrics
How to write a fantasy series—a talk with lengthy Q&A on Robert's process writing his Spell Crossed fantasy series.
Song lyric writing—strategies for developing new song lyrics or for writing lyrics to existing melodies. Robert likes to talk about writing his number 1 hit Song Instead of a Kiss and other aspects of the music business. Venues. Library preferred.

Equipment required—solid surface to display books and hold papers. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, a blackboard or other large writing surface.

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Vikki VanSickle (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. Dynamic writer and children's publishing professional. Interactive presentations, customization available. All ages.

$280 + HST for 1 presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

Vikki is a dynamic and engaging presenter who mixes funny anecdotes with interactive activities to connect with audiences of all ages. She grew up in Woodstock, ON where she spent her childhood reading, figure skating, and watching the X-Files in the dark. In addition to writing, Vikki works in marketing at Penguin Random House and is an award-winning bookseller, playwright, former camp counsellor and musical theatre nerd.

Presentations:

JK- Gr 2

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable, but when a dragon sneezes it's a fire hazard! In this presentation students are asked to consider 5 objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in the book. Teacher's guide and printed activities available as well. A fun introduction to mythological creatures.

Works best in a classroom or library situation.

Offering 2 30-35 minute presentations for hourly rate of $280 + HST. Some travel costs may apply.

Gr 4-8

Vikki presents her journey from library kid to published author including a behind the scenes look at publishing, writing tips, and her famous backpack activity, which demonstrates how simple it is to spark a story.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Summer Days, Starry Nights Presentation

Gr 6-8

This presentation focuses on music and culture of the 1960s and includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project.

Works best with groups under 60, can present in gym with mic for 300

Req: projector, surface to project onto

Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers' groups,) writers' craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details.

 

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Catherine Austen (Ottawa)

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National Capital Region. Writers’ Union Member. YA, MG and Picture Book author. Multiple awards. All ages.

$250 for one session, $450 for two, $600 for three, plus HST (plus travel if outside of Ottawa/Gatineau).

Catherine Austen writes funny, sad, award-winning fiction for all ages. Her school presentations divulge everything she has learned about writing books, accompanied by dramatic readings and adorable cat photos. Catherine has led presentations and writing workshops for the MASC Young Authors’ and Illustrators’ Conference, the TD Children’s Book Week, the Hackmatack Author Tour, the Gaspesie Bookfest, and the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival.

Presentations:
Catherine offers the following presentations for different ages:

“10 Tips for a Fearless Writing Life.” Everything Catherine has learned about becoming an author summed up in an hour and accompanied by cartoons, memes, and fun facts about phobias. Learn how to spot a good story idea, face years of rejection, and take grammar tips from Yoda. With personal anecdotes, Q&A throughout, and a reading in a devil voice. Adaptable to grades 3-7. One hour.

“Making up Stories: My Cat Isis and my cat Isis.” Meet the cat that helped Catherine write a book about ancient Egypt. Learn about all the things every writer needs to succeed. Explore everyday writing opportunities you couldn’t find 3,000 years ago. And discover how a picture book is made. With ancient Egyptian props, cute cat pictures, Q&A throughout, and a reading of My Cat Isis. Adaptable to grades JK-3. 45-60 minutes.

“Writing and Reading Dystopian Fiction.” Share the joys and heartaches of being a writer in this sad and beautiful world. Read cruel statistics about the publishing industry and learn to rise above them. Embrace testimonials to the benefit of books as entertainments, lifelines, and blueprints for a better world. Analyze a scene from the first awful draft to the final excellent polish. Own your love of literature and embrace your inner author. With tips for teen writers, bad puns, Q&A, and a reading from All Good Children. Adaptable to grades 7-12. One hour.

Writing Workshops: Catherine can take students in grades 4 and up through a series of grade-appropriate exercises on a theme discussed in advance of her visit (e.g., writing funny stories; developing an idea into a story; writing dialogue; revising). Writing workshops are tailored to each class in sessions up to 2 hours long.

All presentations require a projector and screen or an HD monitor or a smartboard; writing workshops require a blackboard and/or flipchart.
Presentations are suited to audiences of up to 100 students; writing workshops are for single classes (25 students).
Catherine will present in any venue but prefers a library; writing workshops are best in classrooms.

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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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Don Cummer (Ottawa)

Doncrop1aOttawa. Writers’ Union Member. War of 1812 novels, Bilson nominee, grades 5 to 9.

His rate is $200 for one session, $350 for two, and $450 for three (plus HST). No travel charges within the Ottawa/Gatineau area. Travel outside Ottawa must be coordinated with Don’s schedule in advance, and transportation/accommodation fees may apply.

 

Don’s “Jake and Eli” series tells the story of two boys growing up in the Niagara peninsula during the War of 1812. Jake is the son of a United Empire Loyalist; Eli, part of a family that has recently moved to Niagara from the United States. They swear an oath of allegiance to each other as blood brothers. Then comes the war.

Don’s readings and workshops contain strong elements of both social studies (history) and language arts (elements of story-telling.) He uses PowerPoint to provide historical background and also show a video of how his books got him “arrested” in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The kids love it!

Don is an energetic presenter who can handle groups of various sizes.

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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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Linda Bailey (BC)

Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member and eligible for subsidies. Multiple award-winner across Canada & U.S. including Blue Spruce, Silver Birch and Arthur Ellis (x2) Awards. Linda is a current Blue Spruce and Silver Birch fiction nominee.

Rates: $350 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 (plus HST). Because Linda is from out of province, she must add $60 per session to help with out of province travel and accommodation. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools. Linda prefers to do a maximum of 3 sessions in a day.

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

Linda is the author of more than 30 much-loved Canadian books including the Stanley-the-dog series. (Stanley at School is a 2017 Blue Spruce nominee). Other recent picture books include: If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur, When Santa Was a Baby and If Kids Ruled the World (Blue Spruce winner, 2015!). Her new middle-grade novel, Seven Dead Pirates, received starred reviews in Kirkus and School Library Journal and is nominated for the Silver Birch Award, 2017.

An experienced, dynamic presenter, Linda uses a combination of humour, personal stories, interaction, Q&A and appealing slide shows to engage her audiences. For grades 1 through 3, she tells “the story of Stanley” to explain the writing/publishing processes and asks “what if?” to inspire young readers/writers as they explore ideas and narratives. For grades 4 through 6, she tells the “stories behind” her new ghost story, Seven Dead Pirates, to show how a novel’s elements (character, setting, plot, theme) grow out of the writer’s life experience + active imagination. There is also a chance to explore genre: the characteristics and appeal of ghost stories and adventure stories.

Grades: 1 through 6
Maximum number of students per session: 60 for grades 1 & 2, 80 for older grades
Setting: school library or classroom (no gyms, please!)

Requirements: digital projector, screen or Smartboard, small table. Lunch, thank  you, on a full-day visit.

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