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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S. J. Laidlaw (Vietnam)

Writers’ Union Member. White Pine nominee for Fifteen Lanes. Available in May for in-person visits, or anytime for Skype visits. $275 for a one hour session, $475 for two, $700 for three, and $925 for four, travel fees waived for presentations in Toronto, Guelph, Whitby and Ottawa. Skype visits: $150 for a 40-minute session, which includes a reading and question and answer period. Skype proceeds donated to AAWC, a leading Mumbai-based NGO that provides programs and support for the children of sex workers.

S.J. Laidlaw has been a teacher and adolescent counsellor for many years. An experienced presenter, she’s happy speaking to both large and small groups as well as delivering writing workshops. She has been a guest speaker at the Tata Literature Live and the Khala Ghoda Literary Festivals in Mumbai, India, and has delivered writing workshops at a number of international schools and universities.

Susan first went overseas more than thirty years ago as a volunteer teacher with CUSO. She has now lived overseas for more than half her life in countries including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Nigeria, Honduras, and Russia. Her second book, AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE, is set in Pakistan and draws largely on her experiences while living there. Her third book, THE VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD, is set on a small island off the coast of Honduras where she owns a cottage. Susan learned to dive and snorkelled with whale sharks as part of her research for the book.

A trained teacher with a Master’s degree in Social Work, Susan has developed and implemented programs for disadvantaged children in many countries and is a passionate speaker on the plight of children living in poverty around the world. Susan spent more than two years working with the children of sex workers in the heart of Mumbai’s red-light district while researching her latest book, FIFTEEN LANES. A Teacher’s Guide for FIFTEEN LANES is available here:

fifteenlanes_rgg_v3

She is currently teaching in Vietnam while researching her new book.

Susan is versatile when it comes to engaging young readers and can tailor her presentations to the needs of your school or library.

 

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