Etta Kaner (Toronto)

Award winning author of over two dozen books for children ages 5 to 12, mostly non-fiction. Etta’s rate is $250.00 for a one hour session, and $450.00 for two sessions. Travel charges waived if the venue is in the GTA. Writers' Union member.

Etta is an animated, experienced educator and presenter who enjoys interacting with children of all ages. Etta has a particular interest in animals and architecture from a unique perspective. Her short-listed 2017 Silver Birch non-fiction book Friend or Foe: the Whole Truth about Animals That People Love to Hate is a book about point of view and persuasive argument, both components of all strands of the Ontario Language curriculum.

Rats, cockroaches, leeches, snakes, vultures – these are just a few of the animals that are discussed during Etta’s interactive presentation. After presenting both the negative and then positive sides of some of these animals, students are asked for their opinion: Is the animal friend or foe?

Etta then shares the secrets of how written voice and book design are used to persuade the reader to agree with a certain perspective. She also involves the children in an activity in which partners discuss and draw the positives and negatives of having unusual pets.

Time is given for Q and A about being an author, book publishing and about Friend or Foe in particular.

This presentation is suitable for students in grades 3 to 6 in the GTA. I prefer to meet in a library or classroom with space for children to work in pairs.

Group size: two classes at one time

Materials needed: Chart paper on easel or board, marker, pencils and poster paper for students, large table to display my books, water, a chair

Expectations: teachers are expected to stay with their students during the presentation and help with pairing students for the workshop component of the presentation

Follow-up Activities: I’m happy to provide teachers with follow-up activities that develop point of view using other books and activities.

 

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Mike Deas (Salt Spring Island, BC)

Silver Birch Express Nominee. Mike Deas is an author/illustrator of graphic novels. Writers' Union member. Available May 15-19, 2017. His rate is $275 for one session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $950 for four plus travel from downtown Toronto.

Mike has illustrated over 14 Graphic Novels and books for young readers including Tank and Fizz and the Graphic Guide Adventure series. His passion for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Mike also works as a concept artist in the Video Game industry.

Mike’s presentation for grades 3-8 takes the audience through the production of his work (from doodles to publication), he provides drawing advice, tips on story development and hands on artistic demonstrations.

Through humor, Mike offers an inspirational glimpse into the creation of a graphic novel and the ongoing journey of education, trial and error, and experience in the world of illustration. Mike does an interactive multimedia presentation which details a step by step description of Liam O’Donnell and his joint process creating the Tank and Fizz series including; story, character design, thumbnail sketches, pencils, inks, color and finally publication. Several live drawing demonstrations with audience participation highlight the power of visual story telling and an open imagination.

His interactive presentation encourages literature through the Graphic Novel medium to even the most reluctant readers. The one hour (flexible) presentation includes time for questions and answers.

Set up Requirements: projector (to connect to a PC laptop), screen, easel or flipchart for drawing demonstrations and table to display books.

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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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Ishta Mercurio (Brampton)

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Writers' Union Member. Red Maple Non-Fiction Nominee. Writer of non-fiction science books for kids and picture books.

Fees: $200 for one one-hour presentation, $375 for two on the same day, $550 for three on the same day, $650 for a full day (four presentations). No travel costs.

Skype Visits: $75 for 1/2 an hour; $100 for one hour.

Ishta Mercurio has been an actor, an environmental activist, a behaviour therapist, and is now a children’s author of both fiction and non-fiction. The daughter of a Philippine mother and an American father, she has lived in three different countries, and brings an appreciation of diversity and sense of adventure to her writing and her presentations.

Presentations:

Everything is Connected: JK-SK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

In this presentation, Ishta uses anecdotes about her own early writing attempts, her experiments while researching her books, and her travels throughout the world to foster curiosity about the world around us, and develop the understanding that it is the connections between everything in the world that can lead to good stories. Presentations are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta expands upon the theme of finding unexpected connections, and incorporates traditional idea-generating writing and drawing exercises with improvisational theatre techniques to explore ways that an idea can grow into a story. Workshops are tailored for each age group.

Writing Workshops: Non-Fiction Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

How do we get ideas? Once we have a good idea, how do we find out more? Ishta works with children of all ages to discover how exploring the real world around us can lead to new and exciting discoveries. Workshops with Grades 7-8 include an interactive discussion about using the internet for research and how to distinguish a good, accurate source of information from a poor or inaccurate source of information.

Skype Visits: Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8

Ishta offers Skype visits that cover the same ground as her presentations, but including a tour of her office and an interactive discussion about a typical day in the life of an author.

Ishta prefers to speak to groups of no more than 100 children, but she can be flexible if necessary. Writing workshops are limited to one classroom (approximately 30 children or fewer) at a time. Ishta requires a whiteboard/chalkboard or a flip chart for presentations and workshops of all sizes, and a microphone for large groups.

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Judith Graves (Alberta)

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Writers Union Member. Golden Oak Nominee. Award-winning author and screenwriter, entertaining and engaging speaker utilizes multi-media in presentations, drawing on clips from music videos, TV and film to illustrate the concepts covered.

$350 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3, and $1000 for 4, plus travel and accommodation. Visiting Ontario around the time of the Golden Oak Award, May 27 to June 3rd.

Judith is also the co-publisher of a small press and works as a library technician in an elementary school. She sees the publishing industry and literacy promotion from many perspectives and her presentations reflect this. Judith has presented writing workshops and keynote addresses to teachers, library staff, students, and writer groups – during conferences, professional development events, author panels, as well as through numerous school and library visits. She also writes new-adult fiction under the pen name, Judith Tewes.

Judith offers a variety of workshop topics that can be modified to suit the intended audience.

Super Heroes With or Without Capes (Grades 3-6)

Super stories need super heroes – characters willing to take risks, embark on epic quests, and face their greatest fears. Capes are completely optional. Discover the various types of characters that already exist in books, film, and TV, and how you can use these to develop your own heroes worthy of fandom.

Screenwriting to Die For (Grade 7-12 and Adults)
Novelist and screenwriter, Judith Graves offers a general introduction to screenwriting by examining story structure, character development, and the art of sharp dialogue. From gripping logline to epic showdown, Graves features tips and tricks from the world of screenwriting that apply to creating fiction in any format.

Horror Fiction to Die For (Grade 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, helps you dig deep and unearth the killer themes lurking in your horror and thriller fiction. This genre isn’t just writing tales of blood and guts – it’s creating fiction to DIE for. Learn how to get under your reader’s skin, play on their primal fears, and hold mirrors up to their own inner monsters. These FANGtasic tips will keep your readers turning the page…to the dire end.

Fan Fiction to Die For (Grades 6-12 and Adults)
Young adult paranormal/thriller author, Judith Graves, explores the origins of fan fiction, its appeal for youth and adults alike, and how teachers can use this growing format in the classroom. Learn how fanfic writing challenges and mashups can spark interest in creative writing, as well as build and stretch student writing muscles.

Author Visits to Die For (Adults/Teachers/Library Staff)
Judith Graves offers an overview of what makes a virtual author visit successful, the technology basics, and how to connect students or library patrons with authors willing to provide this wonderfully interactive (and inexpensive!) service.

Publishing Tips to Die For (Adults)
Join middle grade/young adult author and co-publisher of Leap Books, Judith Graves, for a look at the dynamic worlds of middle grade and young adult fiction. She’ll share tips for navigating the various roads to publication and how to market your work once it’s out in the world. If you’re writing children’s fiction and want more information about the publishing industry, query process, book marketing, etc…this is the session for you.

Library or classroom and an audience size of 30-60 is preferred. Equipment required: display table, projector and speakers, microphone and PA system for larger groups or gym presentations.

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Kira Vermond (Guelph)

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Guelph. Writer’s Union Member. Silver Birch (Non-fiction) nominee 2017. Kira Vermond is an award-winning author of four non-fiction children’s books and 1,500+ articles for adult and children’s magazines, newspapers and websites.

$250 for one hour-long session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. (Outside local area, multiple presentations preferred and can be shared with partnering school.) Writing workshop rate is $400 + HST for a two hours. No travel charges within the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area.

Kira received her first (friendly) rejection letter from a kids' magazine when she was 11, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to be a writer. Today, she’s a busy author, journalist and winner of last year’s Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. Her favourite part of being a writer? Talking to kids (and adults) about writing! Those who have attended her sessions have described them as, “amazing, informative, entertaining, cool, educational and fun.” She didn’t even have to pay these people (much)….

Presentation: We’re all liars! (And that’s normal) 

You were probably taught that honesty is the best policy. So why do your parents ask you to pretend you like all your birthday gifts, even Aunt Dora’s knitted dinosaur sweater? Does “being polite” mean lying? And aren’t card players encouraged to bluff when they play poker? Talk about mixed messages! This fun and thoughtful presentation will guide students (grades 4-6) through the ethically complex maze we call deception.

From the moment we jump out of bed in the morning until we climb back in at night, we’re living with so many different sneaky lies, cheats, frauds, and deceptions, we don’t even realize they’re there! We’ll cover food fraud, bogus advertising, the placebo effect, online trickery and cheating at school (plus how to stop). Finally, we’ll prove there’s a 100% accurate lie detection method (about 50% of the time).

From spaghetti farmers in Switzerland, to rattlesnakes in ball pits (eek!) and compulsive liars who just can’t stop, this interactive and fascinating session based on Half-truths and Brazen Lies will give students something to think about long after it’s over. (Honest!)

Special for Forest of Reading! As a way to celebrate reading, drawing and their book’s Silver Birch nomination, Kira Vermond and illustrator Clayton Hanmer will present together to a select number of schools in 2017! Clayton has a decade of experience “live drawing” in front of an audience. See how their engaging and hilarious rapport on the page translates to real life. Please book at least two months in advance to accommodate combined schedules. Contact for fee details.

For other presentation topics (money, bullying and cliques, why we live where we live, writing non-fiction, adult writing workshops, Q&A, etc.) please inquire using the contact form below.

Maximum number of students per session: Up to 80 students. Smaller groups (20-35) tend to work best. I’m comfortable presenting in the classroom, library, auditorium, and gymnasium. Please provide a glass of water and access to a black or white board with writing supplies. I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be present throughout presentations.

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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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Sue Irwin (Grimsby ON)

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

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

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

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

Sue’s presentation topics include:

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

– the exciting world of nonfiction

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment and Other Requirements

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

 

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Ellen Schwartz (Burnaby, BC)

Ellen Schwartz. Burnaby, BC. Writers’ Union member. Silver Birch Fiction nominee. $275 plus GST for one session, $500 for two, $750 for three. Ellen prefers to do a maximum of three readings per day. A day can be shared between two cooperating schools. For the GTA, Ellen can travel by GO train or subway but needs pick-up and drop-off at GO stations.

Ellen is an award-winning author of picture books, middle-grade and young adult fiction; and creative writing teacher. She never dreamed of becoming a writer (she wanted to be a dancer), but once she started writing, she found she could not stop. She has published 16 award-winning books for kids. Her Silver Birch-nominated book, Heart of a Champion, has received praise from School Library Journal, CM, and the Historical Novel Association.

 

Ellen’s presentations focus on her writing process. She discusses how she got the idea for the story, the brainstorming and research she did, the many drafts she wrote, all the way to the publication of the book. She shows them her beloved writing clipboard and pen, her messy drafts, her research materials, and the book galleys. She leaves plenty of time for questions.

Ellen conducts writing workshops with intermediate grades and up. She gives the kids a writing prompt and then, once they have written a short scene, takes them through a fun self-editing process. They share their work with a partner and then the whole group.

Maximum 60 students, though Ellen will negotiate rates for full assemblies. For writing workshops, maximum 30 students.

Library preferred. Classrooms and auditoriums also OK. Ellen prefers not to present in gyms if possible.

A glass of water, a microphone if speaking to a large group, and a projector suitable for showing a PowerPoint presentation. Lunch, please, if presenting to classes in morning and afternoon.

 

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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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Kathleen Cherry (Kitimat, B.C.)

Silver Birch Fiction nominee for Everyday Hero. Writers’ Union Member. Available the week of May 15, 2017: $250 + HST for one, $400 for two, $800 for three and $900 for four, plus travel from Toronto. Kathleen is interested in visits to more remote areas in Ontario, May 18th and 19th. Virtual Visits: $120 + HST.  50 minutes Skype or Google Hangout.

Kathleen is a school psychologist and has worked as a school counsellor, special education teacher, regular classroom teacher and newspaper reporter and photographer. She has a specific interest in First Nations history and culture and has worked with students to write and publish several books, including one based on a Haisla legend. Kathleen’s non-fiction work about Kitamaat Village’  G'psgolox totem pole was featured in Highlights for Children, May, 2010, Vol. 65 Issue 5.

Kathleen also has a passion for working with students in remote locations and helping them to achieve their hopes and dreams despite distance and other challenging factors.

Trained as a teacher and in speech arts, Kathleen is a lively and enthusiastic presenter. She can tailor her presentations to any age group.

Presentations:  Kathleen is happy to provide presentations for any age group (ask for more details) and is willing to do as many as four in a day.

Grades 3-7: Kathleen is happy to work with groups of any size and in any setting; e.g. classroom, gym or library.

Everyday Hero is about an autistic girl’s challenges and her recognition of herself as a hero and friend. Kathleen talks about aspects of bravery – both the big and small. Personal challenges and diversity are discussed. Sensory issues are also explained with a tie in to mindfulness.  Self-regulation strategies – ‘milkshake breathing’, glitter jars and positive self-talk are explored and can be demonstrated, if group size allows. Kathleen is happy to tie this into any educational program, for example, Fun Friends, MindUp, Zones of Regulation, WITS.

Kathleen also discusses her background.  She talks about the process of getting a book published and how sending out her manuscripts after multiple rejections was her own act of bravery. She discusses how her mathematical struggles helped her to develop resilience and achieve her writing goals!

All Kathleen’s presentations are as interactive as possible and designed to involve students. Bookmarks, instructions for milk-shake breathing and glitter jars are provided for participants. Draws for a book give-away and stress balls also add to the fun.

 

Or for those English teachers out there…

Kathleen is happy to discuss aspects of writing. This includes setting, characterization, conflict, and voice. In Everyday Hero, voice is vitally important and Kathleen has some fun and interactive ways to demonstrate this. It was also a challenge as an author to maintain the consistency of this voice. Terms like ‘first person’ and ‘third person’ and why an author might choose to write in one of these forms are mentioned.

Important issues of research and the different types of writing are discussed. As a perpetual student (Kathleen is part way through her doctorate), a nonfiction freelance reporter and fiction writer both for adults and kids, Kathleen has a lot to say on this subject!

Community Professional Development workshops: Kathleen is more than happy to do an evening workshop at a library for any interested adults or teens. Price is negotiable depending on size.

Needs: A glass of water and a microphone if speaking to a large group in a gym or theatre.

 

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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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Michelle Barker (Vancouver)

Michelle Barker. Vancouver. Writers’ Union member.  Award-winning author of poetry, a picture book, a young adult fantasy novel, short fiction, and non-fiction. 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominee. All ages.  Michelle’s rate is $275 for one presentation, $425 for two, $650 for three, and $825 for four. No travel costs within the GTA. Available in the Toronto area mid-November, 2016, early February, 2017, and early June, 2017.

Michelle grew up in Vancouver but has lived in Jerusalem, France, Quebec and the Okanagan region of BC. She has four children. In 2014 she graduated from the MFA program at UBC. When she isn’t writing, she works as an editor and mentor. An energetic presenter, she has run creative writing workshops and given presentations to people of all ages.

Michelle offers the following presentations for different ages:

  1. K1 30 minutes / 30 students max.

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 25   60 minutes

A Year of Borrowed Men

  • Reading with projected illustrations
  • Slides and discussion about life on the farm in 1940s Germany
  • Some historical information
  • Time Capsule Activity
  • Q&A
  1. 5-12 60 minutes

What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue

  • What good dialogue can do
  • The pitfalls of writing dialogue
  • Student participation and hands-on writing exercises
  1. 8-12 60 minutes

Poetry for the Terrified

  • Why so many people don’t like poetry
  • Imagery and telepathy
  • To rhyme or not to rhyme
  • Making every word count
  • Hands-on writing exercises
  1. 7-10 60 Minutes

The Beggar King

  • Reading from the novel
  • The pitfalls of writing fantasy
  • The writer’s life—pros and cons

With the exception of the youngest classes, the maximum number of students per session is flexible, but Michelle prefers to use a microphone for groups over forty.

Equipment requirements are a projector and a screen for a PowerPoint presentation. And a glass of water, please. Michelle brings a lap top. She would ask that a librarian or teacher be present throughout the presentation.

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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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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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Danielle S. McLaughlin (Toronto)

Danielle 4 Digit CounterJun 14, 2015 11Toronto ON. Writers’ Union Member. Specialist in critical thinking for social justice workshops for grade 2 and up. Her book That’s Not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms was the Kids Can Press Citizen Kid publication for 2016.

Danielle’s rate is $250 for one session, $400 for two. No travel charges will be incurred within Toronto. Transportation/accommodation fees will apply outside the Toronto area.

Mme. Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of That's not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms, “This book will open up different perspectives, competing interests and, in the end, an understanding of the give-and-take of life in a democracy. A great contribution to a rights-based young citizenry.”

Danielle is the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust. She has nearly thirty years of experience presenting highly interactive workshops and seminars for children and adults of all ages. She also specializes in workshops for teachers and educators. All of her presentations involve a rights-based, critical thinking approach.

That’s Not Fair! Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms: grades 2-6. Help Mayor Moe, Councillor Bug and the City Councillors make decisions about handling problems in their city. What would happen if your city had the same problems? What should we do?

In addition to her children’s book, Danielle writes a monthly blog on Huffington Post Canada about education, schools, and the rights of students and teachers.

Presentations:

Danielle writes and speaks about rights and freedoms, bringing current events and issues to each presentation. She begins by asking her audience to tell her what they know about their rights and quickly leads into stories, both true and imaginary, where rights conflict with one another. She guides her participants to ask relevant questions and to make their own choices and decisions. She encourages diverse opinions and respectful discourse.

Danielle uses books, short videos and classroom activities to keep the level of student engagement very high. Students are encouraged to offer their points of view throughout the workshops. She ends with a book signing, if requested to do so.

More details:

Danielle is happy to speak to grade 2 and up. She prefers to be in a classroom or library that can accommodate up to 50 students, but will also speak to groups of over 50 in auditorium or gym settings. A lapel mic and wireless mics for audience participation will be needed in larger groups.

For grades 2-5 Danielle prefers to speak for one class period - usually about 45 minutes. For grade 6 and up, a class period or one-hour session is preferred. Adult seminars require 1-2 hours.

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Christie Harkin (Aurora)

christieharkinAurora, ON. Christie is a Toronto-area publisher and editor of many award-winning children/ young adult novels and picture books. She is also a former English and ESL teacher/tutor and experienced presenter. $175 for a 1.5 hour session. $350 for one half-day session (3 hours). No travel fee for York Region or Toronto. Standard kilometrage for other areas.

Christie is the former producer/host of Bookmarks: The Book Report Show for Kids, a cable-access TV show that gave children the opportunity to talk about books and interview authors on television.

These Topics can be tailored to suit all grades from Junior to High School:

The Publishing Process (1.5 hrs)

How is a book “made”? What does it take to become a published author or illustrator? Students will learn about the publishing industry and process of getting a book published. Audience limit: flexible/negotiable/large group.

Self-editing and peer-editing: Why a good editor is a writer’s best friend (1.5 hrs)

  • Stages of writing (preparation, the writing process, revision)
  • What to look for in your own work and in your partner’s work when you are editing
  • Common errors and bloopers
  • How to be critical and encouraging at the same time
  • What to do when you are STUCK
  • Peer-editing workshop

Crafting your own picture book: Presentation and workshop: 1.5 hrs

  • Thinking about AUDIENCE
  • Thinking about STORY
  • Thinking about ILLUSTRATION
  • Turning the page: Thinking about DESIGN
  • Picture book planning workshop

Diversity on the Bookshelf: Who are books for? Presentation and workshop: 1.5 hrs

  • Discussing the role of books in addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, race, gender, ability, socio-economics, and sexuality.
  • Exploring books that present characters and scenarios that both represent and challenge students’ experiences
  • Shelf-study workshop; evaluating a collection critically

Workshop: The Literary Journal: (2-hour minimum)

Students will workshop the creation of a class or school literary publication using submissions that are collected in advance. They will learn to examine submissions critically and consider topics of inclusion, voice, diversity, style, balance, and merit. Working in groups, they will formulate a “vision” for their publication, begin to select pieces, make editorial notes, and create a preliminary table of contents.

Requirements: Water, projector/screen and apparatus to connect a laptop for PowerPoint presentations, microphone if the space warrants. Classroom presentations and workshops: Audience Limits: 40 students per session.

 

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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 (NS)

Carmichaelwp1N.S. 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 7-10: 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 7-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- world building for sci/fi and fantasy
- touching your reader’s emotions
- revision and editing techniques
- lab reports or argumentative essays
- and more!

Grades 10-12: Creative and Academic Writing Workshops. Topics can include:

- research and interview skills
- descriptive writing
- 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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Martin Springett (Toronto)

Martin Springett 1Toronto. Writers' Union Member.  GG nominee, among others, and winner of the Aurora Award for fantasy illustration and the Ruth Schwartz Award for picture books.

Please note: Martin is not scheduling school and library visits at this time.

Martin’s fee is $250 per one hour session. An all day visit, typically four sessions, would be $900.

Martin Springett has been an illustrator of fantasy book covers and children’s books since 1984 when he illustrated the covers for Guy Kay’s classic fantasy trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry. He has won the Aurora Award for fantasy illustration, the Ruth Schwartz Award in the children’s picture book field for The Nightwalker and been nominated for the Govenor Generals Award for Who. His books include Mei Ming and The Dragon's Daughter, The Follower and Too Many Suns. Martin created his first authored and illustrated book, Jousting With Jesters in 2006, and in, 2011, Fitzhenry and Whiteside released Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail. Kate and Pippin, An Unlikely Love Story, was released in 2012 and has won numerous awards including The Blue Spruce award.

Martin Springett's presentation covers a wide range of topics. As an author, illustrator and musician, Martin uses all his creative skills to engage students in the art of story telling; from flights of fantasy in Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail, to the true life tale of Kate and Pippin, An Unlikely Love Story.

From the original sketches, in the case of Breakfast On A Dragon's Tail, to the first photos that Martin saw of Kate and Pippin, to the finished books on the School Library shelf, Martin will take students through the journey that is the creation of a book. Martin uses a slide show to draw the students in to the world of each book, drawing on the spot, (a gentle art lesson) and live guitar music, usually at the end of the presentation. Students usually love to hear The Dragon, as well as see Martin create a dynamic drawing of one.

For older grades and adult audiences, Martin focuses on the more technical aspects of creating images for picture books and book covers. In his long career as an illustrator Martin has created images for almost all areas where illustration is required.

Martin has also created two graphic novels, What's For Dinner, an all ages book, and The Gardening Club, a companion graphic novel to his vinyl LP of the same name, which is being re released in May 2016.

Martin is comfortable with audiences of all sizes, although in elementary schools, 60 students in a library is ideal.
Set up is - lap top and projector for slide shows / easel with unlined paper for drawing on the spot / a table to display books and original art works. One cup/bottle of water.

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