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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Sharon Jennings (Toronto)

sharonjenningswp1Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. Fiction. All ages. Blue Spruce Winner. Governor General finalist. Multi-nominations and honours.

$375 for 1 session, $600 for 2, $850 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + HST and travel.

Sharon is an experienced and enthusiastic presenter who gears her visit to the needs and interests of each group. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and novels for the reluctant reader, she appeals to a wide audience, and often does four author visits in the same school or area in a day. Sharon also delights in conducting writing workshops.

Sharon has a lively, fun, interactive presentation for children and adults of all ages, and claims her mission is to teach and entertain. She reads several of her books (or passages from many) and explains the ideas behind the stories, and demonstrates to her audience that they, too, can be writers with great stories to tell. She is a relaxed and flexible presenter, and creates immediate rapport with kids and teachers.

JK- Grade One: using the Jeremiah and Mrs. Ming trilogy, The Bye-Bye Pie, several Franklin titles (she is a ghost-writer of over 40 Franklin books), Sharon involves the children in dramatic recital of the actions and choral response.

Grade Two-Four: as a former language arts editor, Sharon is mindful of using the terminology that can be helpful to teachers – brainstorming, word-webs, drafts, revision – in order to strengthen student writing. Using many of her chapter books (Bats and Burglars) and reluctant readers (Bats on Break) as well as a few picture books (C’Mere Boy!), Sharon demonstrates the writer’s craft, and explains how text and illustration work together. She also displays the manuscript she wrote in grade 4!

Grades Five and Six: Sharon discusses the writing process at length and shares information about publishing. Using her novels Home Free and its sequel Connecting Dots, she explains how students can use events from their own lives to create stories, and leaves teachers with several ideas for writing projects.

Grade Seven and up: The focus is on the writer’s craft – plot, dialogue, character, description, the ‘elasticity’ of time – using material from all of her books. She provides insight into research and editing, and shares personal experiences (and some gossip).

Teachers: Sharon often conducts a lunch-time mini session for teachers longing to get published. Sharing her experience as a manuscript evaluator and Ryerson teacher, she highlights common dos and don’ts.

Maximum group size: about 50 students, (usually 2 classes combined) to facilitate lots of Q&A.

Library venue preferred.

Equipment: a table for book display; chalkboard or flip chart; microphone for venue with difficult acoustics (gym).


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