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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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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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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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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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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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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John Spray (Toronto and Tweed ON)

Toronto & Tweed On. Writers Union member. Fiction/Non-fiction.
$250 for one session plus HST. $400 with Arthur the boxer. Travel fee waived for Toronto and Tweed.

John has written a critically acclaimed book on the young life of Arthur Biyarslanov, a Pan-Am gold medalist boxer and an Olympian.

Arthur can accompany John with his gold medal and boxing gloves and will be there for Q&A after John’s reading. John is a seasoned speaker and yearly gives out the ‘John Spray Mystery’ award at the T.D. Book Awards. His forty years as a private investigator also add colour to his presentation. John will speak to middle-grade students, Y.A. and adults and is particularly adept at encouraging reluctant readers and readers new to English. John can do up to four, one hour presentations on any day and can travel anywhere in Ontario.

John’s presentation includes tips on writing and how to get the most out any book. He also has many amusing anecdotes from his forty years as a private investigator. The book itself spans three countries, a war, both soccer and boxing and Arthur's struggles growing up in poverty. These are rich topics for both children and adults and by their very nature, spawn curiosity from inquiring minds.

John has no media set-up as the whole idea of reading is to stoke the imagination.  For large rooms or when the acoustics require it, a microphone is requested.

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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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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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Bill Slavin (Millbrook)

Millbrook, ON, fiction and non-fiction, Award-winning author/illustrator including the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Awards, Grades 2-6

$300 + HST per 1 hour session, and $250 + HST for additional sessions, plus transportation/accommodation.

Bill Slavin has illustrated over one hundred children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. Titles include Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey, winner of the 2004 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award and Transformed, winner of the 2006 Norma Fleck Award. Recently he has published the third book in his graphic novel series, Elephants Never Forget. Today he is lives in Millbrook with his partner, Esperança Melo, who is also an artist and book illustrator.

Illustration as Story-telling

Bill Slavin's school presentations revolve around a discussion of illustration as a form of story-telling, with the intention of inspiring students to go ahead and create their own stories. He shares his early work with the kids, including his very first book he did back in Grade 3, Zok the Caveman (possibly the most important thing he shows them, as it gives context!) He also discusses the process he goes through to create a picture book, from manuscript through thumbnails and pencil drawings to finished art and usually includes a reading from one of his books in conjunction with showing the original art. His presentation ends with his doing a character sketch for the kids (which will be left with the school), along with a discussion of some basic drawing principals.

Each presentation lasts for about an hour, with slight change ups in the above description depending upon the age of the audience. His preferred audience is Grades 2 - 6 and audience size can be up to 125 children. During the presentation he shows original book art and sketches and reinforces what he's showing with projections of the art (if the AV equipment is available), leaving room for lots of Q & A.

Bill's aim in the presentation is to demystify kids' relationship with art and make it real, tangible and immediate so they can go forward and have the confidence to create their own stories.

Audience Size:  125 maximum (it's best if the kids are seated on the floor or on mats)
Preferred Grades Grades 2-6
AV Requirements:  A laptop linked to a projector. If available he will bring his presentation as a Powerpoint document on a key.
Venues: All, library preferred
Other Requirements A table to organize his work on and a glass of water to wet his whistle!

Signed Books
A signed book can be a chance for kids to make a lasting connection with a visiting author. If any of the kids would like to order a book before the visit, Bill can put you in touch with his local book distributor who would be pleased to provide order forms and make arrangements to have books shipped to your school prior to the presentation.

Please note: Bill's surname is pronounced SLAY-vin.

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Melanie Florence (Toronto)

Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Winner of the TD Children's Literature Award! Author of novels, non-fiction and picture books and recent winner of the Second Story Press Aboriginal Writing Contest.

Melanie’s rate is $300, two is $550, three is $800 and four is $1000, plus travel from Toronto. (No costs for travel within the GTA.)

Melanie tailors her presentations to the age of her audience and makes them fun and interactive. Groups can choose one of her books for her to do a short reading from and she discusses her experience as a writer, what led her to become a writer and where she gets her ideas. She also talks about the process of writing … from idea to publication.

Each presentation is 50 minutes in duration with 10 minutes for Q&A. She also talks about what drove her to write books with Aboriginal characters and issues, such as residential schools, racism and teen pregnancy.

Melanie can also gear her presentation to discuss Aboriginal issues, such as residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Melanie’s most popular visit is a serious but enlightening history of residential schools and introduces students to what life in the residential schools was really like, which is a great addition to the Aboriginal studies curriculum.

Melanie’s books include a strong element of her Aboriginal roots and she encourages discussions and questions on Aboriginal history, residential schools, and especially diversity.

Melanie can tailor a writing workshop to your group but her favourites are Exploring Your Culture Through Writing where the group will  explore their own unique stories and The Importance of a Good First Line, where Melanie and your students will look at famous first lines and talk about what makes them strong. Using a list of strong first lines, the workshop participants will choose one to start their own story.

All venues (classrooms, libraries, auditorium, gymnasiums etc.)
Equipment and other requirements: I like to use power point if possible– can bring my own laptop but will need a projector and screen.

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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.

MartheJocelynwp1

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

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

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

Presentation details:

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

Sneaky Art Workshops:

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment and other requirements:​

(for school & library​ visits)

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

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

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

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

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

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Charis Cotter (NF)

CharisCotterNewfoundland. Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch 2016 nominee, fiction, non-fiction, ghost stories, writing workshops, grades 4 to 6.

Her rate is $275 for one per session, $500 for two, plus HST and mileage. Sessions last from 75 to 90 minutes. Peterborough/Cobourg/Kingston March 3–24: Toronto/Hamilton: March 29–April 22.

Charis is an award-winning writer and performer who has toured schools and libraries from Victoria BC to St. John’s NL. She has a particular interest in ghosts and how they reflect our culture and beliefs, and she has been featured on radio and TV, telling her eerie Newfoundland ghost stories.TheSwallowAGhostStory Her novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the IODE Violet Downey Award for 2015. Charis has an engaging, playful approach to writing and storytelling that draws an enthusiastic response from students.

Imagine the Bones: A Ghost Storytelling and Writing Workshop
Charis leads the students through a series of  visualization exercises to illustrate the power of the imagination and boost their comprehension when reading and writing. They explore the basic structure (the “bones”) of a ghost story. By the end of the session, students will have created their very own story, which they can develop further as either a piece of writing or an oral presentation.

The workshop begins with a dramatization from The Swallow: A Ghost Story and a visualization game. Then Charis discusses the basic elements that form the structure of a ghost story (“the bones”) and shares some technical tricks. Step by step, the students visualize and write their stories, sharing them with partners when they’re finished. At the end of the presentation, Charis tells a Newfoundland ghost story, asking the students to identify the structural elements they have just learned. Then she introduces her other books and answers questions.

Grades 4 to 6. 60 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor or at tables. Easel or blackboard with markers or chalk. Table. Chair. Students will need writing materials (pen or pencil and paper).

The Ghosts of Grates Cove
A storytelling session of traditional Newfoundland ghost stories collected by the author from Conception Bay North, Newfoundland. Charis talks about how these stories reflect the history and culture of Newfoundland, how the stories have been passed down through generations, and why that province is one of the most haunted places in the world.

Charis tells a series of spooky stories that feature the Old Hollies, (the victims of shipwrecks heard screaming in the wind), Jacky-Lanterns(ghost lights seen dancing on the water), ghost ships, a ghost train and a blueberry picking ghost. She tells a true ghost story of a creepy experience she had herself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night, and finishes with a dramatic story about ghostly footsteps. Charis ends the presentation with an introduction to her published books and a question and answer period.

Grades 4 to 6. 80 students maximum. Classroom or library where students can sit in a group on the floor. Table. Chair.

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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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Caroline Fernandez (Toronto)

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

Caroline is an enthusiastic presenter who encourages interaction during visits.

 

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

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

Equipment required: Table and water.

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

 

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Nikki Tate (Victoria BC)

Writers' Union Member. Silver Birch Non-fiction. Nikki Tate is an award-winning author of more than 30 books for children and teens ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Nikki loves writing non-fiction for all ages.  Single presentation: $300.00, 2/$550.00, 3/$750.00 +HST - no maximum group size but a maximum 3-grade spread in a single session. Workshops: $250/60 minutes, max 24 student.

Nikki Tate was born in England, but spent her childhood roaming the globe. Nikki has always enjoyed both writing and telling stories, as well as camping, kayaking, climbing and horseback riding. Nikki splits her time between Vancouver Island and Canmore in the Rocky Mountains and loves to travel, particularly if she can find some rock or ice to climb or an ocean to sail.

Nikki is a dynamic presenter who is equally comfortable speaking to primary students, middle grades, teenagers, or adults. Standard presentations include: The Magic of Non-fiction; How a Book is Made; and When Fact Works as Fiction. Each is 45-60 minutes with some time at the end for questions and discussion. Where Stories Come From is a shorter presentation (30 minutes) suitable for K-2. Though there is no maximum group size, the maximum grade spread is three (e.g. one session may include classes in grade 3, 4 and 5 or 7, 8, and 9). For small groups, a table (for books and props), glass of water, and projector are needed (Nikki travels with her own laptop as well as copies of her presentations on a thumb drive). For larger groups or where acoustics are poor, she will also need a microphone.

Nikki’s writing workshops range from 60 minutes to half-, full-day and multi-session programs. Maximum group size for workshops is 24 students. Minimum age: students should be proficient in producing written work (or, scribes should be available). A white board or flip chart, projector, and table are needed for workshops. Students need pen and paper (or appropriate electronic device) with which to produce written work.

 

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Maggie De Vries (BC)

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

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

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

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

RabbitEars
Presentations

Maggie tailors her presentations to the needs of each audience.

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

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

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

All venues, library preferred.

Equipment required: A glass of water, lunch (a sandwich or salad and a piece of fruit) if she’s staying for the day. A table to spread her things out on. A microphone for larger groups or in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable. A screen and projector for Powerpoint.

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Bill Swan (Whitby)

BillSwanDurham region. Writers' Union Member. Red Maple non-fiction winner. Grades 4 to adult. True crime.

His rate is $250 for one session, $450 for two, and $600 for three, plus HST. No travel charges within Durham Region or in the London school board area.

Bill is comfortable giving presentations and readings to students from junior grades through college and adult groups. He has been a newspaper editor, columnist and journalism professor and loves to talk about the process of writing fiction, non-fiction, news and feature writing and even business writing. (He teaches a very popular online course Business Report Writing that stresses the importance of structure and provides a simple organizational tool that can be applied to all writing.)

REALJUSTICEMy main presentation is for Grade 7 and 8 students about the Steven Truscott case (1959 in Clinton, Ontario), in which 14-year-old Steven was convicted of the murder of a seventh-grade classmate and sentenced to hang.

I can present to up to 120 in an auditorium but prefer a library that does not echo.
Needed:
A projector and screen for PowerPoint.

This Presentation:
(a) Provides an overview of the case, providing key facts of the case in a PowerPoint presentation;
(b) Reviews the evidence of both the Crown and defence;
(c) Shows the process of writing the book REAL JUSTICE: Fourteen and Sentenced to Death, from transcripts of the original trial transcripts;
(d) Reviews some legal terms and concepts important to this case;
(e) Includes a reading from my book from the chapter of courtroom drama where 12-year-old Doug Oates confronts an experienced Crown Attorney—A fictional account created from the original transcript.
(f) Encourages students to read my book to see how and why it took Steven 47 years to clear his name.

Middle Grades:
Based on my nine novels in the Lorimer Sports Series I provide a 50-minute presentation to Grades 4-6 on writing, on how to create fictional characters and settings, and ending with a reading from one of my novels. This works best if students are familiar with one or more of my books and have selected a chapter for me to read.

Grades 9-12:
The presentation for Grades 7 & 8 is upgraded for senior grades, with more emphasis on the trial process, the legal concepts (and how this case changed the laws of Canada) and discussion of how and why this case went so horridly wrong. Another book in the REAL JUSTICE series is to be released in Spring 2013. This is on the Donald Marshall Jr. case (1971 in Nova Scotia). Highlights of this case are offered and compared.

Writing Workshops And Adult Presentations

As a journalism professor of many years at Durham College, I can discuss the mechanics of news and feature writing, its similarities and differences from fiction, and the process of writing. Included is the part common to all genres: writing, re-writing, revision, and the value of critique groups and their limitations. For adult groups with a stronger tolerance for boredom I can show how to write email messages that are less likely to get lost, and short memos that sizzle.

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