Nadia L. Hohn (Toronto)

The Writers Union member. Picture book. All ages. $250 for 1 session (60 min) $450 for 2, $350 for 2 x 30 minute sessions (great for JK to 1). Full day (4 sessions) $800. + kilometrage.

Malaika’s Costume (2016) and Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017).

Nadia L. Hohn B.A. (Hon.), B.Ed., M.Ed. is an author and illustrator who delivers interactive presentations with arts and culture.

Toronto-born of Jamaican parents, Nadia L. Hohn is passionate about diversity in the children's book industry.  Nadia L. Hohn is a teacher and the author of two picture books-- Malaika’s Costume (2016) and Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017), illustrated by Irene Luxbacher and published by Groundwood Books.  She is also the author of Music (Grade 5) and Media (Grade 6) books in the Sankofa Black Heritage Collection series published in 2015 by Rubicon Publishing Inc.  Nadia has an upcoming early reader about Harriet Tubman to be published by HarperCollins in 2019 and she is currently working on other books.

Presentation Details

Caribbean Playground (Malaika’s Costume/Malaika’s Winter Carnival)      K to Grade 3, Educator version also available, 30-90 minutes

Explore Caribbean songs, rhymes, and games that Malaika would learn and play in her schoolyard. This is an interactive, lively and musical workshop featuring a reading of Malaika’s Costume or Malaika’s Winter Carnival, musical instruments, and storytelling as well.  Educators will gain African-Caribbean songs, rhymes, and games that you can share with your Kindergarten to Grade 3 students.

Carnival Adventure (Malaika’s Costume/Malaika’s Winter Carnival) K to 12, 60-150 min                      

Come join the Carnival!  Learn about the history of Carnival in the Caribbean through dance, costume, a slideshow, and music.  Who can’t forget the limbo?  Depending on group size, we’ll even get to design our own costume as a group or individually or design your own Carnival headpiece.  This is an interactive, lively and musical workshop featuring a reading of Malaika’s Costume or Malaika’s Winter Carnival.  (Materials cost is extra for crafts.)

Beyond Black History Month: African-Canadian Experiences through the Arts (Sankofa Media and Music, Malaika’s Costume, Malaika’s Winter Carnival) Grade 5 to 12, Educator, 45-120 min

Songs, images, and other forms of media create windows into the Caribbean peoples who have made contributions to Canada.  Through the Sankofa series books, Music and Media, as well as Malaika's Costume, students will take part in dramatic arts activities such as role playing and readers’ theatre.  In addition, they will deconstruct video and audio clips that explore the history and experiences of African descended people in Canada and the diaspora and enhance their understanding of the book.

Write-Your-Own or Customized Workshops available upon request, Grades 1 to 12, Adults 60-180 min

Have you ever wanted to write your own children’s book?  Song?  Rap?  Or an alternate genre?  I can help you.  This workshop helps you to come out with a finished piece.

African-Caribbean OR Diverse Children and Young Adult Authors Panel, Adults 60-90 min

This would be a panel of 3 to 5 children and young adult authors discussing such questions.  What is the importance of diverse kidlit in 2017?  What are some barriers for diverse children and young adult authors (if any)?  What are your books about?  Do your main characters deal with issues of diversity (e.g., racism, identity, prejudice, islamophobia)?  What diverse books do we need in 2017?

Malaika’s Costume and/or Malaika’s Winter Carnival STEAM Day

STEAM or STEM are existing programs and curricula that integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math into critically engaging with students and helping them to reach their full-potential.  The workshop includes Carnival arts and history, drafting, design, exhibition/community sharing, and discussion.

IDEAL AUDIENCE SIZE: 10-60

MAXIMUM AUDIENCE SIZE: 200

GRADES: Kindergarten-Grade 12, staff-specific workshops

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Not required but it is often the most fun if we have a flip chart. For larger audiences, a projector and screen is very helpful.

You will also require a stereo-system or CD player to play music that will be part of the presentation.

A table for display purposes.

Voice projection is needed for larger groups, especially if the presentation is in a gymnasium.

For arts and crafts workshops, the materials will need to be provided by the school.  Otherwise, the author can provide these for a nominal material cost.

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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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Casey Lyall (Strathroy ON)

Middlesex County and London, ON. Writers’ Union Member. 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.)

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.

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 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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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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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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L. E. Carmichael, PhD (Trenton)

Carmichaelwp1Trenton. Writers' Union Member.  Award-winning author of 21 science books for young people.

Fees: $250 for a one-hour presentation, $400 for two hours, plus travel expenses. Contact me for full-day pricing. Fees include supplies for experiments. Skype visits also available.

Lindsey is comfortable presenting to small groups or entire gymnasiums, and loves to combine book talk with hands-on science experiments. Lindsey is also an experienced writing instructor, offering workshops for both children and adults.

Presentations:

Lindsey specializes in making science cool and accessible to kids, so she's most often invited to speak about the subjects of her books. She can also present on academic writing skills, or speak to the terror – and thrill! – of researching and writing non-fiction for kids.

Sample presentations and workshops are described below. Lindsey will create custom programs to suit your needs, but additional development fees may apply.

Grades K-3: Laura and the Locusts

In 1875, a swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts destroyed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family farm. This presentation integrates Laura’s descriptions of the swarm (On the Banks of Plum Creek) with the newest scientific information on Locust Migration. Prepare to be fascinated and creeped out all at once!

Grades 3-6: Decoding Domestication

Ever wonder where domestic animals came from? Why they look the way they look and act the way they do? Learn about a remarkable experiment that decoded domestication. Based on Lindsey's book Fox Talk, this program includes video of experimentally domesticated foxes and answers the eternal question, "What does the fox say?"

Special requirements: If a docile, kid-friendly dog is available, students can take part in a live communication experiment during the presentation.

Grades 7-12: Forensic Science: Digging Into DNA (1 hour)

Inspired by Lindsey's 2014 Lane Anderson Award-winning book Fuzzy Forensics: DNA Fingerprinting Gets Wild, this presentation explores the way scientists use DNA to solve crimes against both people and wildlife. Includes a signature "myth busting" section on TV forensics and plenty of time for questions.

Grades 7-10: Forensic Science: Finding A Match (2 hours)

A variation on Digging Into DNA, this program covers the history and science of fingerprinting – both traditional and DNA varieties. It also includes two hands-on experiments with extensions for later home or classroom use.

Special requirements: Lindsey provides most of the ingredients, but requests that schools supply mugs, paintbrushes, kettles, and newspaper.

Grades 9-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- character building
- fantasy world building
- descriptive writing
- the link between language and emotion
- research and interview skills
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

General Requirements for all presentations: Projector and screen, with computer (Lindsey's Mac does not play well with others). A table for setting up displays. For large room and groups, a microphone is required. Lindsey has a lot of food allergies and prefers to provide her own meals.

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.
$300 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions), plus mileage. No HST.

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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Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford)

​Stratford. Writers' Union Member. Sneaky artist! TD Award​ & Vicky Metcalf Award winner. All ages.

MartheJocelynwp1

Marthe's rate is $400. for a one hour session, speaking or art instruction,  or $700. for two sessions, plus HST.  For art workshops there is also a flat fee for materials of $20. per group per session.

Travel costs from Stratford are negotiable. An overnight stay requires accommodation.

Marthe grew up in Toronto and lived in New York city for thirty years. She has published more than 35 books and has visited schools all over North America. Marthe is a versatile, congenial presenter with books for all readers - from primary grades through teens, from picture books to non-fiction and novels. She leads workshops in collage that result in triumph for every artist.

Presentation details:

Due to Marthe's wide range of books and skills, she provides several different workshops. She likes to tailor her presentations to each audience and is extremely happy to discuss the content with educators beforehand. With younger children, she reads aloud from picture books, shares many visuals through power point, and talks about how a book is made. For book talks with middle grade students and teens, Marthe can present a survey of her many books or focus on just one or two, depending on the classroom needs and interest. All presentations contain lots of images and have room for dialogue depending on audience size. Topics can include: Where ideas come from, revision, getting from the idea to  finished manuscript, doing research, and having a job that you can do in your p​a​jamas.

Sneaky Art Workshops:

Is there a sneaky artist in you? Of course there is! This workshop - for grades 3, 4, 5 , or for teachers who are nervous about teaching art - is meant to encourage a new way of approaching art. Not just making it, but sharing it with friends and strangers​ by leaving it in unexpected places.

​Marthe begins​ with a brief power point presentation of sneaky art that is already out there in the world, moves on to showing​ ​her own, and then have the kids - or grownups - ​create sneaky projects to be proud of.

Sneaky art is not: mean, defacing, ugly, hurtful, messy, or permanent.

Sneaky Art is not: graffiti or marking up someone else’s property.

Sneaky art is: funny, clever, thoughtful, temporary, subversive, playful, and surprising!

Equipment and other requirements:​

(for school & library​ visits)

Projector for Power Point presentation with a screen and adequate extension cord. (This will be confirmed with each booking).

For art workshops, each participant needs scissors, ​white​ glue ​

(not glue sticks)​, and a table or desk (ie. not the floor) to work on.

​Marthe provides​​ most collage materials, but often teachers like to arrange for supplies to be brought from home as well.

A librarian, teacher or other school representative should be present throughout the presentation. During art workshops, more than one extra adult should be present.

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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

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

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

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

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

Sue’s presentation topics include:

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

– the exciting world of nonfiction

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment and Other Requirements -

A table to display books and other items, a screen for PowerPoint, and a mic for larger groups or questionable acoustics

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

 

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Elly MacKay (Owen Sound)

EllyMacKay Owen Sound ON. Writers' Union Member. Author, illustrator, picture books, Forest of Reading, lightbox, paper, children’s books, primary, workshop, art project.

Elly’s rate is $275 for one session, $475 for two, $675 for three and $800 for four, plus local travel from Toronto when in the area (either taxi or being picked up by a teacher to accommodate her in bringing her miniature theatre and supplies).

Elly’s presentations are a lot of fun and very hands-on. She has a Bachelor of Education and loves teaching all ages.

She will design her presentation to suit the size and age of the group. Her story telling and her unique way of creating illustrations will inspire students. Elly makes her illustrations by setting up layers of paper, lighting the scenes and photographing them. Each group will have an opportunity to see her miniature stage and build a scene together. If the group is smaller in size, they create their own piece of art. With larger groups, materials are left for teachers for an extension activity. A beautiful print of the groups illustration is later sent to the school or library as a keepsake.

Elly requires a small table, outlet, laptop and projector.

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Caroline Fernandez (Toronto)

Caroline FernandezWriters’ Union Member. Silver Birch Non-Fiction Honour Book Award 2016. $225 for one session + HST, $400 for two, $600 for three and $750 for four, + travel from Toronto. Caroline's two bestselling books are popular with libraries and educators for STEM learning.

Caroline is an enthusiastic presenter who encourages interaction during visits.

 

Presentations by Grades:
Caroline is happy to work with teachers and librarians to develop a need-specific presentation, but here are some examples:
Grades 3-12: 45-60 minutes.
Library or classroom preferred.

  • How many people does it take to publish a book?
    o Explores the jobs of author to book seller and everyone in between
  • Session on book of your choice plus a hands-on boredom busting activity
    o Materials provided by school
  • A writer’s life
    o Explores how to become a writer, overcoming rejection, the work life of a writer
  • Why busting boredom important?
    o Explores self-motivation, creativity, entertaining oneself without TV or screens, decision-making, hands-on experience and the fun that can be had by yourself or with a group.
  • Blogging, social media, and digital content creation
    o Explores digital writing, social media platforms, analytics. Suitable for older grades.

Equipment required: Table and water.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 60 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) via Skype or Google Hangout
Morning start time requested

 

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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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Mireille Messier (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. French/English author. Picture books and middle grade. Great for immersion students! K to 6. Mireille’s rate is $300 for one 45-60 min session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3, $900 for 4 (max 4 per day, min 2 per day if outside GTA), plus travel by car (if outside Toronto). HST extra.

New! Mireille has TWO new ENGLISH picture book available!

New! Mireille has TWO new ENGLISH picture book available! She can present "The Branch" / "Ma branche préférée" or "Fatima and the Clementine Thieves/Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines" in either English or French or both. Both these stories are about collaboration and are ideal for readers from grades 1-3.

Most of Mireille's books are published in French and range in genre – from picture books, to chapter books and non-fiction. She enjoys presenting to immersion students and offers lively presentations that are tailored to the language level of the classes.

School presentations will include a reading of the selected book, an activity based on the theme of the book and a discussion with the author about her craft. Depending on the book selected, Mireille will bring puppets (Fatima or Charlotte).

 

Presentation Details

Available in French or English/French (bilingual)
Mireille is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and so schools wishing to invite her may be eligible for a travel and fee subsidy to off-set the cost of her visit.

Here is an example of her presentations by grade:

JK to 1: two 30-minute sessions for the price of one full session ($300+HST) using her book Quel fouillis! (includes a tool-related activity and a song) or Une Bestiole à l'école (includes an insect-related activity and a song).

Grade 1 to 4: The majority of Mireille’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes: Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected.

Themes available: Environment/Weather (The Branch/Ma branche préférée), Travel/Geography (Charlotte partout), Anagrams/Word Play (Voilier d’Olivier/Quand les zéros), Food/Cooking (Salade de César), Sports (Charlotte Olympique), Night/Rhyme (Luca/Night Flight).

All presentations in this category feature a reading from a giant version of the selected book. When presenting books from the Charlotte series, Mireille comes accompanied by her puppets.

Grade 4 to 6: 45 to 60 minutes. Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Books available for this level are Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines (advanced picture book)& the middle grade chapter books from Les aventures de Viviane et Simon series.

Maximum number of students per session: 40-80 (flexible)

Venues she is comfortable in: classroom, library, auditorium. Gymnasium as a last resort.

Equipment requirements: table, glass of water, lapel microphone for larger groups, light lactose-free snack if booked for full day.

Note: Mid to late-morning start time requested during winter months (Dec-March)

 

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Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington)

sylvia2

Burlington. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch Winner, Creative Writing Instructor  Grade 2-Adult

Her rate is $250 for solo sessions or $225 for multiple presentations + travel.

Sylvia recently represented Canada at the Seoul International Book Fair in Korea, also speaking on creativity at Seoul Metropolitan Library and presenting in schools on her Korean translated novels. She's toured for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre many times and spoken at Teacher and Reading Conferences as well as Family Literacy Nights and literary festivals such as Word on the Street (Saskatoon, Vancouver and Toronto) and Telling Tales and Kingston Writers’ Festival. She has also acted as a Writer in Electronic Residence (WEIR) for several school boards. Sylvia enjoys sharing her passion with all age groups; her most recent published works are targeted at junior and intermediate students.

Sylvia has toured for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre many times and spoken at Teacher and Reading Conferences as well as Family Literacy Nights and literary festivals such as Word on the Street (Saskatoon, Vancouver and Toronto) and Telling Tales and most recently Kingston Writers’ Festival. She has also acted as a Writer in Electronic Residence (WEIR) for several school boards. Sylvia enjoys sharing her passion with all age groups; her most recent published works are targeted at junior and intermediate students.

“Sylvia’s sense of humour and extensive knowledge of the writing profession are what allow her to have a natural ability to connect and build positive rapport with the students,” says Lisa Hayes, teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School.

Involving the student, generating reading excitement and sharing writing tips, these are Sylvia’s goals. From idea to finished book, she takes her audience through her writing process as it relates to an age appropriate book, using slides and humorous anecdotes, and calling on students to demonstrate props, read scripts or participate in a writing activity, and fielding questions.

Presentation: 55 minutes.  Audience size: 60-200+.

Setup Requirement: a projector suitable for Power Point hookup, a microphone for auditorium or gym presentations.

Writing Workshops

Smaller numbers of students (20-40) work better with a minimum of 90 minutes to facilitate feedback. Creation of Dialogue, Character and Mood are three topics she addresses in these but can design a special workshop depending on the educator’s needs.

Some sample workshops she has designed:

Bring your own zombie to life: Lurching, moaning monsters are cliché.
Learn how to create an irresistible demon, vampire, ghost or zombie.

Let your characters speak: Work with a partner to write a script that gives us action, conflict and a resolution.

Blog your passion: You need to tell the world how you feel. Learn how to enchant as you rant.

Life is like a box of chocolates: What is life like for you?  Practice using the five senses to create powerful metaphors, poetry and evocative scenes of description.

Literacy Nights: These can be designed to a theme and are usually aimed at a multi generational audience. Some reading, some activity, lots of fun and laughter.

Download free Teacher's guide here: best-friends-through-eternity_guide

 

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Valerie Sherrard (NB)

Miramichi NB. Writers' Union Member. GG nominated, award-winning children's and YA author.

$275 for a single presentation, $525 for two or $750 for three, plus travel within Ontario. For younger grades, two 30 minute presentations may be booked at a single session rate.

Valerie is an experienced presenter who uses humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Feedback from her school and library visits has been enthusiastic. 

Presentations by Grade (I will present to students in K - 9)

I distribute a signed bookmark or postcard to each student at all presentations.

Grades K – 3: There's a COW Under My Bed! Fun and interactive talk about expressions and language, and students’ own creative abilities. Reading with audience participation. I end with a short Q & A.

Grades 4 and 5: Entertaining and interactive presentation on literacy and a comparison of life today versus the 1940/50s. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

Grades 6 to 9: Engaging and interactive presentation on literacy, believing in oneself and a variety of writing related topics, depending on the interest and grade level of the audience. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

I am flexible on audience size but in my experience, smaller groups result in the greatest benefit to students. 

I am most comfortable in a classroom or library but will also present in an auditorium or gymnasium.  

I will need a podium or a table and chair if students are going to be seated on the floor. A sound system may be necessary depending on audience size, acoustics and the number of presentations booked.  

A bottle of water is always appreciated.

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