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, 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

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

 

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Simon Shapiro (Toronto ON)

Nominated for 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards. Writers Union member. Passionate about sparking an interest in Science. $275 for one session, $475 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four (full day). Full day price can be split between neighbouring schools. Travel fee waived for Toronto and GTA.

Simon majored in Math, Applied Math and Computer Science and later completed an MBA at York University. After retiring from a career as an Information Technology professional, one of his interests has been writing books for children. He believes that it’s important for students to be STEM-literate (Science Technology Engineering and Math). He loves to spark kids’ interest in Science.

 

Presentations

Simon’s latest book, Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas that Transformed Sports, nominated for both 2017 Red Maple and Rocky Mountain Book Awards, and is also a finalist for the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 2017 SB&F Prize, shows kids that basic science concepts are highly relevant to sports. He tells fascinating stories of people who came up with bright ideas which had a huge impact on various sports. For each innovation, he explains the science of why the innovation was so effective.

Some innovators were athletes, many of them quite young (the youngest was twelve!) But other backgrounds include scientists, a farmer and a security guard. The human interest in the stories is compelling and inspirational. A clear message is that being inquisitive and exploring can result in significant discoveries.

By telling the story of several innovators, a presentation can be tailored to demonstrate the widespread significance of basic scientific concepts such as:

  • Energy and the conversion between kinetic, elastic and potential energy.
  • Fluid resistance (air and water).
  • Centre of gravity.

Other themes that can be highlighted:

  • Disabled sports. The inventors of the sports wheelchair and the blade prosthetic were both young adults who were injured in sporting accidents. They were both determined not to let their injuries prevent them from active lives. They were dissatisfied with the quality of wheelchairs and prosthetic legs, respectively. And both came up with radically new inventions to meet their own needs.
  • Innovation as a result of crossing fields of expertise. Examples include using fiberglass fishing poles to develop vaulting poles; hang gliding technology for wheelchairs; aircraft technology for skis.

For all presentations it would be extremely helpful to have computer projection available to show a Powerpoint presentation and / or images and video. Simon will bring these on a USB (‘thumb’) drive.

The scientific concepts are best for grades 7 and up.

 

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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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Lorna Schultz Nicholson (AB)

Alberta. Writers' Union Member. Fiction and NF. Red Maple Nominee.Multi nominations and awards.K-12.Adults.

$300 plus HST for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4. Travel will need to be negotiated. She always has accommodations in Toronto and Niagara.

 

Lorna is a passionate, energetic and experienced presenter who will make sure that every presentation suits each group. She is the author of picture books, (Puckster is always a hit with the primary grades), middle grade fiction and non-fiction, YA fiction and reluctant readers. She loves writing about diversity. She also loves speaking to adult groups and leading writing workshops for grades 4 to adult. FragileBones

Presentations by Grade: Lorna’s presentations and workshops are lively and fun and can be tailored to fit the age and the group. She can present to all age groups, is open to groups of 100 or less and is definitely open to travel. Lorna’s books deal with many aspects of the school curriculum.

K-2 - Lorna will discuss her Puckster characters (they’re all animals), and how she gets her ideas for her stories. She will work with the students on story comprehension, (and fun), by having the children pretend they are at hockey game. Using her characters, she will talk with the students about family and friend dynamics and how to resolve conflicts. She would prefer two 30 minutes story sessions for the price of one full session.

Grades 3-8 - Lorna will talk about her middle grade fiction books and her characters and their problems and relationship choices and ups and downs. We all have them, right? Then she’ll discuss the process of getting a book published. How she goes from idea to finished product, including editing and editing and editing. Yup, editing.She will encourage the students to listen to their teachers and edit their own work. Yeah!!!! A reading and Q and A will end the session.

High school classes - Lorna will engage the students by discussing Fragile Bones and how the world is full of diverse people. For this group, (depending on the size, location and if school has technical needs), she has a fun but enlightening Power Point presentation to keep the students engaged. She will also discuss how she develops a story, moves from idea to finished product and different research techniques. Students will be encouraged to rewrite their work. A reading (yes, she loves to read to high school students) and Q and A session will end the presentation.

All questions will be answered except, “How old are you?”

Writing Workshops (grades 3-12, adults) $500 for a half day (two hours). Or can be negotiated depending on group and needs.

Let’s Make a Story – Every student gets to pick a character and a setting out of a hat. Then the trade game begins. If the student wants to trade either setting or character they can, but the game is controlled and only one trade is allowed. This gets them thinking about a story to write about, and if they really do want to trade, makes their brains start working. Of course, every story also needs a problem. This workshop is hands on. If time permits the students will read their stories aloud!

Creating Cool Characters - Let’s develop some cool characters through an interactive workshop. It’s all about pretending to be someone else. In this workshop, students will learn how to create characters that will jump off the page. Lorna brings a suitcase full of costumes and students will get to put them on and pretend to be a character. Then the entire class will write sentences to describe the characters being portrayed. Emphasis will be on creating a picture using description. This workshop is for grades 3-6.

Mystery Writing - This hands-on workshop is all about the Who-dunnit. Emphasis will be on developing the main sleuth and his/her supporting cast. Plus, Lorna will work on the pace of a mystery story and adding red herrings to make a plausible mystery that will keep readers guessing. This workshop works for grades 3-8. Time permitting, stories will be read aloud.

Telling Tall Tales - Are you interested in true stories? Do you like reading about fascinating people? Writing non-fiction is just as creative as writing fiction. In this class you will learn how to interview, gather information and write incredible stories that will keep your reader turning the page. Be prepared to have fun writing about someone else! This is a great workshop for junior and high school students.

Virtual Visits: $100 plus HST, 50 minutes (may be divided into two 30 minutes) Skype

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Linda Bailey (BC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eric Zweig (Owen Sound)

ericzweigAuthorPhotoOwen Sound ON. Writers' Union Member. Hockey historian and author, Silver Birch nominee, available for school and library visits.

Eric’s rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, or $650 for three, plus HST. Mileage costs can often be negotiated for multiple bookings, for presentations in the GTA, or for visits to the Barrie/Orillia area.

By the age of ten Eric Zweig was already a budding sports fanatic who was filling his school news books with game reports instead of current events. He’s been writing professionally about sports and sports history since 1985. Eric has also been a guest on many television and radio programs, appearing as a “Hockey Philosopher” in the CBC series Hockey: A People’s History in 2006.

Presentation:
Since 1999, when Eric began writing books for children, he has made many presentations in schools, libraries and bookstores. His presentation is very low-tech and tends to be somewhat informal. His talks have more energy when he doesn’t keep to a rigid script. However, he always has a general plan prepared for each presentation.

Eric likes to emphasize to schoolchildren that writing does not just mean thinking up creative stories. Most of the writing we do in our lives – for school or for work – will be non-fiction. Though he has written two novels, and can speak to that too, for Eric, working mostly on historical non-fiction, writing can be like detective work. Often, he has to do a lot of research to find the truth behind the legends in sports. This is the best part of what he gets to do. He likes to discover things that no one else knows. In talking about research, Eric always explains how the Internet can make this so much easier … but that a researcher has to be very careful about what type of sources to use.

Eric likes to leave a lot of time for questions. If there are a lot of questions, it’s hard to cut off any children. If there aren’t a lot of questions, he can pick up the talk again, or do more readings, with a better idea of what the children want to hear about.

Length of Visit
Generally, Eric’s presentations last for one hour, though they can be shorter to accommodate the time of your school periods. He is happy to do two, or even three talks per school visit, or combine two or three talks between different schools in the same area.

Grades
Eric’s preference is to present to grades 4 to 6, but he’s comfortable with anything from grades 3 to 12.

Venue
Classrooms or libraries with groups ranging from 30 to 90 people are best. Gymnasiums can be difficult due to the acoustics, but Eric is happy to present to larger groups in a school gym or auditorium if need be.
Please note: Eric’s surname is pronounced zwEYEg.

 

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