Natasha Deen (AB)

In Canada, Natasha’s family found refuge from the political and racial violence of Guyana, South America. Her experiences as a child of two nations are the foundation for her dynamic presentations, which help students find the story and power that lives inside them. She routinely speaks to an entire school during the course of a half day, and travel costs are included in her fee. $500 + GST for half day, $700 + GST for a full day. Writers' Union Member.

“You captured the attention of over 500 students in grades 4-8 from the moment you said your first sentence. You did not simply give a talk, but a gift, to our children.” ~ Kari-Ann Ellery, Teacher-Librarian

Natasha Deen’s books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).  Students enjoy her sessions because she makes them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.

PRESENTATIONS

"Don't split your infinitives, careful of dangling participles, i before e -- except after c, know the difference between its and it's." Writing is difficult work, and often, by the time students are done learning the mechanics and rules, they've forgotten the best part of writing: it delivers STORY and stories change the world!

Natasha's dynamic sessions celebrate the funny, sometimes sad, moments of being a kid and being part of an immigrant family. She uses her experiences to connect with students on the universal moments of growing up: feeling different, wanting friends, being bullied, and hilarious moments when the grown-ups act more like kids.

During her visit, she also talks about why Canada is the most amazing country to live in (her family moved to Canada from Guyana to escape the country’s political and racial violence), falling in love with the book she assured her mother she would hate, and her hilarious (and often, disastrous!) attempts to make friends in school. Through the presentation, she weaves in literacy tips as well as themes of inclusion, diversity, resiliency, and embracing individualism.

Students will come away with two important lessons:

  1. Writing is a way to deliver the part that's most fun: STORY
  2. In life, just as in writing, it's not about where you start, but where you end.

Natasha has specific presentations for FDK, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12, as well as presentations for mixed-age audiences (i.e. K-8). She is also happy to customize her presentations/workshops per your students' needs.

 

Equipment Needs:

A speaker, projector, and microphone for presentations or large rooms/audiences

Whiteboard/smartboard, projector for writing workshops

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Lisa Lawrence (Edmonton, Alberta)

White Pine nominee for YA novel Rodent. Writers' Union Member. Available for school or library visits (accessible by public transit) in the Toronto area on May 15, 17, 18, and 19, 2017. $200 for a 45 – 60 minute session and $150 for subsequent sessions in the same school. No travel costs. Available Fridays for Skype visits ($100 for 45 – 60 minutes).

Lisa grew up as a free-range kid in small towns in British Columbia and Alberta. She could often be found in the library during summer vacations or hammering away at an old typewriter. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in Romance Languages, an MA in Italian Studies, and a B.Ed in Secondary Education. She currently works as a teacher and writer in Edmonton, where she lives with her husband and three children. Rodent is her first novel.

Lisa’s presentations are intended for students in grades 7 and up (ages 12 to adult). They include a reading and discussions with students about finding the writing spark, the writing and editing process, tips for aspiring writers, and any other questions or interests students have. As a relatively new writer, she engages with youth who someday hope to publish their work, those who enjoy reading, or those who are simply curious about the behind-the-scenes process.

Class sizes can be negotiated, with preference to groups of 40 students or less at one time.

All venues.

Needs: A bottle or glass of water while presenting, for the teacher to be in attendance, and lunch if presenting to classes in the morning and afternoon at the same school.

 

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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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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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Don Calame (BC)

White Pine nominee for Dan vs Nature. Writers' Union Member. Available May 15-18, 2017. His rate is $300 for one session, $550 for two, $800 for three, and $950 for four plus travel from Toronto. He is also available for virtual class or library visits through Skype or Facetime throughout the year.

Don Calame is an accomplished screenwriter and the award-winning author of four novels, Swim the Fly (Candlewick Press, 2009), Beat the Band (Candlewick Press, 2011), Call the Shots (Candlewick Press, 2013) and Dan Versus Nature (Candlewick Press, 2016).

Don’s writing nominations and awards include the OLA White Pine Award, American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, the Nevada Young Reader’s Award, the Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award, IndieBound Kids Next List, and the YALSA Popular Paperbacks Top Ten.

As a lifelong reader it breaks my heart when I hear from parents, librarians, and teachers that teenagers—and teenage boys in particular—do not enjoy reading. This is why I wrote my first novel, Swim the Fly. I wanted to create something that would speak to a young adult audience. Particularly of interest to me was the task of trying to engage the reluctant reader teenage boy. It was important to me that the story be realistic, fun, and funny as a way to keep the reader absorbed all the way through the book. And while I was confident that boys would enjoy this story, what surprised me was how many girls have embraced the book as well. I begin my presentations with a short reading from a couple of the more humorous sections of my books. I find that this helps everyone relax and sets the tone for a lighthearted and enjoyable experience. 
After I’ve read, I open the floor for questions and answers. During this period we will discuss pretty much anything. Topics often include: how I became a screenwriter and novelist, the differences between writing novels and screenplays, where story ideas come from, how screenwriting has affected my novel writing, and how much of my novels are based on real life. 
I present to students from grades 8 to12. This is not flexible due the mature subject matter of my books. I will address groups of any size in any venue.

Requirements
A bottle or glass of water, a microphone for groups of 90 or more, and for teachers to be present during talk.

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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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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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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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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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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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Lana Button (Burlington)

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Burlington. Lana charges $300 for one session, $500.00 for two, $750.00 for three and $900.00 for full day, plus travel from Burlington. Writers’ Union Member.

She shares her stories Willow’s Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, and Willow's Smile, and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

Lana is an Early Childhood Educator and former actress who feels at home when surrounded by a group of young children. She loves reading, singing and interacting with her audience! Her lively presentations are sure to keep the attention of young children learning about picture books, about themselves and about each other. Her goal is to leave her audience cheering!

Presentations:

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Lana introduces Willow.

She shares her passion for picture books and her journey of bringing Willow to life. Her story is not only a literary step-by step lesson in how a picture book is made it’s a lesson in personal perseverance and determination, told in an engaging age appropriate way.

She shares her story Willow’s Whispers and opens up discussion around empathy, self-esteem and self-reliance. And she always welcomes questions!

FDK-3 (about 45 minutes) Bullying Awareness

Lana focuses on bullying awareness and prevention with her story, Willow Finds a Way. She reads the story and engages the children in discussion around recognizing bullying behavior and in finding ways to stand up to bullying.

Lana loves audiences big and small. She can present to as many as 120 children per session, and will present in classrooms, libraries and gymnasiums.

She just needs a microphone for large groups.

Lana loves family literacy events! She aims to entertain and inspire the whole family with her writing experiences and her stories.

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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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Mahtab Narsimhan (Toronto)

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

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

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

Presentations:

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

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

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

Writing Workshop Topics:

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

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

Venue : All, though libraries and classrooms preferred.  

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

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

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Rene Schmidt (Trenton)

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

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

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

Rene’s books on Canadian Disasters are likely already in your school library.  These best-selling books by Scholastic Canada have accurate and compelling stories of Canada’s dangerous past, written in brief and high-interest format. Rene’s school-setting fiction novel, Leaving Fletchville traces the heart-warming tale of a boy who defies authority to act as surrogate father to his siblings.  Leaving Fletchville was a Red Maple honour book. As a retired teacher, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents.  The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men.  Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

Presentation Details

As a retired teacher, Rene can adapt to any size audience from 5 to 500. Students are held spellbound by his voices and accents. The recently discovered HMS Erebus is an open portal to Rene’s extensive research on the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. Rene has all the details, gruesome photos and cannibalistic theories to share with your classes. He will adapt his presentations to whatever grade or curriculum needs you ask for, from Grade 4 to adult.

 

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Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford)

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

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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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Joanne Levy (Hamilton)

Hamilton. Writers' Union Member. Middle grade fiction. Grades 4 to 8.

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Joanne’s rate is $225 plus HST for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three and $750 for four held at the same location on one day. No travel charges will be incurred within Hamilton. Transportation/accommodation fees may apply for presentations outside the Hamilton area. Joanne is willing to travel to venues in the GTA and elsewhere in Southern Ontario.

Joanne’s debut novel, Small Medium at Large was named as a Sydney Taylor Notable book, nominated for a Red Maple Award and was a Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award Honour book.

Her sophomore book, Crushing It, will be out in early 2017 and is already getting great reviews.

Joanne is a fun and entertaining presenter who uses humour and examples from her own life to illustrate the sometimes rocky road to following your dreams. Joanne’s presentations can be tailored to her audience, but she specializes in talking about her long, bumpy road to publication and what it takes to make a book, from birth of concept to editing and production and how a final cover is made. Presentations always include ample time for Q&A.

JoanneLevy_CrushingIt JoanneLevy_SmallMediumAtLarge

Joanne is happy to speak to fourth grade and up and prefers to be in a library or classroom, but is flexible and can present anywhere.

Audience size:  50 – 75 is preferred and 150 max.

Technical requirements: Laptop, projector and screen. Joanne travels with her presentation on a USB stick and a USB remote. If room is overly large or noisy (gym) please provide a microphone (wireless preferred).

Virtual Visits: $150, 45 to 60 minutes, Skype, Google Hangout

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Karen Krossing (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers' Union Member. YA and middle grade fiction. White Pine. Crystal Kite Winner. Writing workshops. Grade 4 and up.

KarenKrossingwpKaren’s rate is $225 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto. Mileage within Toronto may be waived.

Karen Krossing is the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens, and she regularly mentors emerging writers through workshops for kids, teens, and adults. She’s been conducting book talks and workshops since 2002, including TD Canadian Children’s Book Week in 2005 and 2014. She loves meeting readers and writers of all ages.

Book Talks
The purpose of Karen’s book talks is to promote literacy. Her talks usually include how she evolved as a writer, the writing life, an introduction to the work, a short reading, a discussion of issues raised by the reading, an oral storywriting exercise involving the audience, and questions and answers. She introduces her books by discussing how they were written, how a story is structured, and the writing techniques used. Her goal is to inspire audience members to share her passion for reading and writing.

For grades 4 to 6, Karen will showcase her middle-grade novels: Bog, The Castle Key, and possibly Cut the Lights. Issues such as tolerance and believing in oneself may be discussed.

For grades 7 to 12, Karen’s novels and short stories for teens will be highlighted, including Punch Like a Girl, Cut the Lights, The Yo-Yo Prophet, Pure, and Take the Stairs. Issues such as bullying, depression, social justice, and prejudice may be explored. Performance and visual arts are also featured in these titles.

Writing Workshops
Karen delivers customized writing workshops for all ages – children, teens, and adults. Workshops typically include a discussion of specific story-writing techniques as well as inspirational writing exercises designed to generate story ideas and practise particular techniques. Her technique promotes intuitive writing using a variety of stimulating activities, including word games, masks, story dice, photos, and character games. Writing is then shared through peer critiquing, using positive and constructive feedback techniques. Workshops can include:

  • How to Create a Believable OtherWorld.
  • Stories Inspired by Real-Life.
  • How You Can Get Published and Other Mysteries Solved.
  • Character Development.
  • How to Revise a Work-in-Progress.
  • How to Structure a Story.

Karen will present to grades 4 to 12. Maximum number of students is 100 per session for book talks and 30 per session for writing workshops, although she will accommodate more in an auditorium situation.

Equipment and Other Requirements
Karen is comfortable presenting in a classroom, library, or auditorium. She requires a microphone for large spaces or audiences, a bottle of water, and a table to display books. She may require a screen for presentations. She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.

 

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