Don Aker coming to the GTA in the spring !!

Don will be visiting schools in the GTA during the week of April 16-20. Contact us if you’d like to be put on Don’s waiting list. Here’s the link to pricing and presentation details, plus Don’s email contact form.

Don Aker was thrilled to learn that his award-winning novel The First Stone was chosen one of “the 150 books that Nova Scotians believe have influenced them or defined them as a people” (150 Books of Influence). Don recently returned from Vietnam, where he spoke to students in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,

Eric Zweig signing at OLA Superconference 3x!

Eric Zweig will be signing books at three different publisher’s booths at the OLA Super Conference on Thursday February 1. He’ll be signing copies of his new book “The Toronto Maple Leafs: The Complete Oral History” at the Dundurn booth at 9:30 am, as well as copies of his “Original Six” hockey series for children with Crabtree at 11 am, and the Second Edition of “The Book Book of Hockey for Kids” with Scholastic Canada at 2 pm.

Still time to book for Literacy Month!

The last two weeks of January are the most popular for Family Literacy events, day or evening, so we surveyed our presenters to see which ones were still available. We’ve included their geographic range, any special pricing, plus the dates they have free on weekends, evenings and daytime in January:

Joëlle Anthony/J. M. Kelly/ Vancouver Island, BC and Greater Vancouver area, BC
Weekends and Evenings between Jan 14 and Feb 1
Family Literacy Event fee: $250 plus travel


Bernice Hune / Toronto and GTA
Evenings: Jan 14 -26  & Jan. 8 to Feb 1
Weekend dates: Jan. 13, 14, 20, 21, 28 & Feb 3 & 4
your Family Literacy Event fee $300 + travel


Andrew Larsen/Toronto
Evenings: January 15, 16, 18, 24, 29 30
Weekends: January 20, 27.
$300 + HST
Daytime school visit availability:
January 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24, 26, 30, 31
Available in GTA for inspiring visits that will get your students wanting to share their own stories in their own ways.

Karen Bass/ Hamilton,
75km radius, including Toronto
Daytime dates available:
Jan 15-19, Jan 22-26, Jan 29-31


Rene Schmidt/GTA
Available weekday daytime Jan 15 to 26.
Specially for Literacy Week, History researcher and Canadian Disaster brings remarkable and memorable stories, facts, graphics and information to your classroom or library. Interacting with your audience he can adapt his wealth of stories to augment your curriculum needs. Suitable for age 10 to adult.

Shelly Becker/Toronto
Daytime: Jan 15-19, Jan 22-24, Jan 29-31, Feb 1 (morning only)
Evenings: Jan 15-18, Jan 22-24, Jan 29-Feb 1
Weekend: Jan 14, Jan 20 (evening only), Jan 21


Aubrey Davis/Toronto, 100km range
Family Literacy Visits
Dates Available: Jan 14-Feb1 (but not Jan 24)
Weekend dates available
Family Literacy Event fee  $450 plus HST
Regular school and library visits,
Daytime dates: Jan 14-Feb 1 (but not Jan 24)

Sylvia McNicoll/Burlington 100km range
Jan 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22, 23,24,25,29,30,
Feb 1 are available, day and evening, plus evening of Jan 26


Rona Arato/Toronto and 1hr radius
For family literacy events I’m available any evening the week of Jan 15 and Jan 22 except Jan 24. On weekends I’m available on Sunday Jan. 14 and Saturday Jan. 20. I live in North York and I’m willing to drive within an hour of Toronto. My fee for a one hour presentation is $250. For School and library visits I’m available any day the weeks of Jan. 15 and Jan. 22. My fee is $250 for one presentation; $450 for a half day and $750 for a full day.

Robert Priest/Toronto and 200km radius
is widely available for the family literacy events between Jan 14 and Feb 1.
I am well equipped with poems and songs that comfortably span and entertain
all age groups.
$500 and the 1st $100 goes to Shannen’s Dream for Safe and
Comfy Schools. Travel expenses apply for non-Toronto venues.

Nadia L. Hohn/ Toronto and 50km radius
Evenings: Mon Jan 15, 22, 29; Wed. Jan 17, 24, 31; Thurs. Jan 18, 25, Feb. 1; Fri. Jan. 26, Feb. 2
Weekend: Sun Jan. 14, 21, 28; Sat Jan. 20, 21;
Family Literacy Event fee $250, plus travel


Kari-Lynn Winters/ St Catherines and 100km radius + Toronto
Evenings available:  In Vancouver—January 17, 18.  In Ontario — January 15, 22, 23, 29, 30
Weekend: January 27, 28
Family Literacy Event fee: $375 for one session (plus mileage)


Mireille Messier/ Toronto and 50 km radius from East York
Evening availability: Jan 15-18 & Jan 22-25
Weekend availability: Jan 27 & 28
Fee 350$/1 hour (In French, in English or both)
Daytime availability: Jan 15-18 & Jan 22-26


Heather Camlot/ Toronto and 50km range
Evening dates: 15, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30
Weekend dates: 14, 20-21, 27-28
Family Literacy Event: $250 + HST for 1 hour presentation
Regular school and library visits:  January 15-31, 150 range from Toronto

Patricia Storms/ Toronto and GTA
Evening dates: Jan 12, 19, 26
Weekend dates:  Jan 20, 21, 27, 28
Regular School Visits: Jan 9-11, Jan 15-18, Jan 24-25, Jan 29-31
Fee: $300 + HST for one hour presentation


R.J. Anderson/ Stratford and 100km radius
Daytime dates available: Jan 17, 18, 19;  24, 25, 26, and 31

Shelly Becker /Toronto and area
Evenings available Jan 15-18, Jan 22-24, Jan 29-Feb 1
Weekend dates available: Jan 14, Jan 20 (evening only), Jan 21
Family Literacy fee, depends what they want me to do and how long they want me

Caroline Fernandez/ Toronto
Daytime dates: Jan 14- Feb 1
Weekend dates: Jan 14-Feb 1
Family Literacy Event fee: $225 + HST + supplies for boredom busters crafts
Experience with broad age-range audience by hosting boredom busters arts n’ crafts workshops with grandparents, parents, and kids.
Workshop example: make a journal (step-by-step reading + hands on activity)

Lorna Schultz Nicholson/Toronto, GTA, Niagara, Barrie
Dates – January 29, 30, 31, February 1
Weekend – January 28th
Literacy Event fee – $250.00 for an hour


Sigmund Brouwer/Barrie, Hamilton, Toronto
Daytime: Jan 18, 75 k radius of Barrie, Jan 19, 50 k radius of Hamilton, Jan 31, 100 k radius of Toronto
Evenings: Jan 16, 100 k radius of Toronto, Jan 18, Barrie area, Jan 30, 100 k radius of Toronto
Jan 31, 100 k radius of Toronto
Fee: $500
The Rock and Roll Literacy format makes this ideal for a wide audience range. It also includes 20 books to be used as door prizes for incentives for participation at the event.

Helaine Becker/Toronto
Weekend dates available 20-21, 27-28
Family Literacy Event fee $500



Ted Staunton/ Toronto, GTA, Port Hope, south central Ontario
Evenings: Jan 15, 16, 17, 24, 31
Weekends: 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
Literacy event Fee: 375 + HST
School Day availability: Jan 15, 26, 31,
I have material and presentations for all age/grade groups and mixes and have done lots of family literacy events

Chan, Marty (Edmonton AB)

 Touring Toronto and Niagara April 30 – May 4, 2018. Writers Union Member. A professional liar since 1988, Marty writes books for kids and plays for adults. He’s also a keynote speaker, television screenwriter, radio dramatist, and raconteur. Marty charges $400 plus HST for one hour-long session, $600 for two presentations, and $825 for three. He charges $1,000 for a full day visit, which allows you to schedule as many sessions as you like into the regular school day. Continue reading “Chan, Marty (Edmonton AB)”

Your Writing Workshop Cheat Sheet

Many of our authors offer a variety of writing workshops. Here’s a recent sampling:

RJ Anderson: Finding Your Character’s Voice: In this hands-on fiction writing workshop for Grades 4-8, students play a fun guessing game using familiar characters from books and movies, then write their own examples. Other topics available on request.

Karen Bass: Dynamic Description: An interactive romp that encourages students to improve their storytelling. Uses photographs to spark creativity and highlight the different ways vivid description (metaphors, similes, strong verbs) can enhance a story. Karen also offers workshops on character, plot & wrenching guts.

Shelly Becker: Writing in Rhyme: This workshop will cover the elements of rhythm and rhyme, a study of bad rhyme versus good rhyme, hands-on practice, instruction, and encouragement. Other Topics Available: Custom workshops on any aspect of writing or the path to publication and inspiration.

Rebecca Bender: Character Creation: This workshop will launch students into picture book writing. Students will be invited to draw their own character and answer questions about this character that will lead to the construction of their story plot. Suitable for grades 1 – 8

Kate Blair: Writing Science Fiction, Using Science Fact In this one-hour class, YA sci-fi writer Kate Blair uses recent headlines about scientific discoveries, developments and experimental theories on how the universe works to help students imagine stories set in the future, on other worlds, or in alternate realities.

Heather Camlot: Look No Further: A simple moment or memory can kickstart the writing process. Using Clutch as an example, Heather Camlot helps students choose a moment in their own lives or family history and guides them as they turn that moment into a work of fiction. Other Topics Available.lindsey Lindsey Carmichael

Lindsey Carmichael: Writing Down the “Feels” of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry – the stories with staying power are the ones that make us feel. Students will learn to harness the emotional resonance of language, thereby manipulating their reader’s response. Covers word choice, figures of speech, and characterization techniques. (Other Topics Available)

Natasha Deen: Now, That’s Funny! Often, we believe our embarrassing moments should be buried, but those experiences are great fodder for funny stories. Let’s take the sting out of our blush-worthy moments, learn how to put the “ha!” in our happy endings, and strengthen our reader-connection skills. (Other topics available.)

Philippa Dowding: Who is this character really? Character development–children complete mad libs and worksheet prompts about unusual characters, people in famous paintings and intriguing photographs. By the end of the session, children understand that there is more to describing a character than simply mentioning the colour of their eyes or hair. (Other Topics Available.)

Melanie Fishbane: Writing Historical Fiction: This 1 to 2-hour writing workshop provides an outline and framework on best practices in writing historical fiction, including the difference between primary and secondary sources, important questions to consider, as well as focusing on plotting, character, structure, description and dialogue. Workshop can be adapted for time requirements.

Melanie Florence: Traditional Storytelling and Folktales: A high-energy workshop. Using fun examples we’ll talk explore why writers write, where they get their ideas and maybe even brainstorm a few of our own. I’ll talk about why I write the books I write, including my grandfather’s (a residential school survivor) story and read from Stolen Words.
Alma FullertonAlma Fullerton: Esteem building-Art/poetry workshop: Working in a school I understand how mean children can be to each other. This is an interactive workshop done with one or two classes where the students work with me to create a work of art and poetry using compliments.

Kathy Kacer: Where do I Come From? – Finding and writing personal family stories: Nobody can tell your own story as well as you can. We will focus on choosing family members to interview and developing stories about the history and background of each student; interviewing, listening, and turning that information into courageous stories.

Adrienne Kress: World Building: A fun and educational writing workshop on World Building (ages 8 – 18). Using free-writing, archetypes, the five senses, working independently and in groups, kids deepen their stories’ worlds. Adrienne has taught this popular workshop for Sophie’s Studio (TPL) and on tour for TD Book Week. (Other Topics Available)

Karen Krossing: Stories Inspired by Real-Life: Explore how moments such as an early memory as a child, a conversation overheard on the bus, or your family history can spark fictional or memoir writing. Create scenes, learn creative writing techniques, and get constructive feedback on your writing. (Other topics available)Sharon McKay

Sharon McKay: The First Page: A class-length, writing exercise for non-writers and reluctant readers in middle school. (Also appropriate for grades 8 &9.) The workshop focuses on the development of a single character with the outcome of a one-page day-in-the-life. It is a simple, empowering, exercise where everyone succeeds (and usually ends up laughing.)

Sylvia McNicoll: Making Mistakes Count in Story: From the author of the Great Mistake Mysteries a workshop that demonstrates how to develop an error into plot with conflict and resolution. Students choose a mistake from Sylvia’s Xbox and brainstorm how to evolve and resolve it and then write the story. Many other workshops available

Robert Priest: Song Lyric Writing Strategies: for developing new song lyrics or for writing lyrics to existing melodies. Robert talks about writing his #1 hit, Song Instead of a Kiss, and other aspects of the music business. Also: How to write a fantasy series. Poetic animation — how to write a fantasy poem.

Jeyn Roberts: Character Perspectives: Writers create characters with different viewpoints and ideas. They come from separate cultures and upbringings. In this course, we will focus on describing things through multiple points of view. What is beautiful to one might be ugly to another. (Other topics available.)

Richard Scarsbrook: Creative Writing Kick-Start: Eliminate “Writer’s Block”! Transform your experiences and ideas into great stories, using fun, real-time writing prompts developed by Richard Scarsbrook for use in his writing courses at Humber and George Brown Colleges. Other topics available: The Nuts and Bolts of Fiction Writing, Five “Simple” Steps to Publication

Richard Scrimger and Ted Staunton: Story Team (based on their collaboration on the ‘7’ series): A workshop series where students write stories with partners. Highly structured, Story Team features lots of one-on-one with Ted and Richard, and their trademark humour. Can’t afford 3 visits? A one-day version is also available. (Both Ted and Richard also lead solo workshops on other topics.)

Marsha Skrypuch: Self-Editing: You’ve written your first draft of a story, essay or article, but what’s next? Marsha demonstrates a fun and effective method for revising and polishing that can be applied to any kind of writing. Suitable for grade 4 to adult. Many more writing workshops available.

Ted Staunton and Richard Scrimger: Story Team (based on their collaboration on the ‘7’ series): A workshop series where students write stories with partners. Highly structured, Story Team features lots of one-on-one with Ted and Richard, and their trademark humour. Can’t afford 3 visits? A one day version is also available. (Both Ted and Richard also lead solo workshops on other topics.)

J Torres: Comic Book Biography: They say, “write what you know”, and what better way to chronicle one’s daily life than in a comic book? This workshop teaches students how to write their story as comics just like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Raina Telgemeier do. J. Torres did it and you can too!

Kari-Lynn Winters: Creating with STEAM: 21st Century innovations interweave creativity and inquiry with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). With examples from my books, magazine articles, and children’s plays, using a creative, inquiry-based approach, I will pair STEAM innovation with literacy. Designed for elementary students, this workshop will encourage and explore various genres.

Frieda Wishinsky: Telling Stories Your Way: All of us have stories. Many of us enjoy sharing them with family and friends. This workshop by international award winning author Frieda Wishinsky will guide students in the varied, creative and fun ways students can use their stories and unique “voice” in shaping their writing. (Other Topics Available)

Danielle Younge-Ullman: Turning Real Life into Fiction: Governor General Award and White Pine nominee, Danielle Younge-Ullman, uses her novel, Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined, as a jumping-off point for a discussion of how to mine real life experiences and then translate them into compelling fiction. (Other subjects also available.)

Out of province authors who visit Ontario regularly

Don Aker: Inside Story: Writing Fictional Narratives: In this dynamic workshop, Don Aker takes students through the process he uses when writing both short stories and novels. Focusing on the most important narrative element, Don helps students craft a main character and, through organic analysis of that character’s backstory, “discover” the conflict that will compel him/her to action. Other workshop topics available

Marty Chan: A Cheat Code for Conflict: Kids’ author and playwright Marty Chan shares his sure-fire formula for creating conflict. Using personal anecdotes and a writing game, Marty reveals how to turn boring stories into exciting ones. With his easy-to-apply “cheat code,” teachers can help even their most reluctant students write meaty middles. (Other topics available.)

Charis Cotter: Walking into Your Story: Based on her novel, The Painting, Cotter uses imagination games and visualization to demonstrate the creative process of writing a story. Students create the details of an imaginary world, create a character and begin to develop their story’s plot. Also available: How to Write a Ghost Story.

J.M. Kelly: Sensory Details: In this workshop J. M. Kelly (AKA Joelle Anthony) takes a hands-on approach to the five senses. Using an orange, students will learn how to incorporate sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell into their writing to give it flavour and depth. (Other workshops available.)

David A. Poulsen: Making the Lie Believable: Useful, easy-to-understand strategies students can use in creating their own stories. David helps young writers create real, believable stories that include all the elements of good story writing while focusing on character and setting. David loves that the students often “head off in directions I hadn’t even considered.”

Gail Sidonie Sobat: Find a Voice: Discover the way your character talks and thinks in print and in drama exercises. Focus on point of view as narrator, or even more fun: a cheeky, unreliable narrator. Try your luck at speaking/writing in dialect. In exploring your character’s/narrator’s voice, you may just find your own!