Gentile, Leslie (Brentwood Bay, BC)

Leslie Gentile

Leslie Gentile, Brentwood Bay, BC. Writer’s Union Member. Middle grade Indigenous fiction English, grades 2-7. Virtual and local in person visit rates: $150 for 45-60 minutes.

Leslie’s debut middle grade novel Elvis, Me and The Lemonade Stand Summer won the 2021 Victoria Children’s Book Prize, and has been nominated for Alberta’s 2022 Rocky Mountain Book Awards and Ontario’s Silver Birch Award. Leslie is of Coast Salish, Tuscarora and Settler heritage.

Leslie is an experienced and engaging speaker who prefers to connect with and engage her audience rather than just deliver a set talk. Leslie is very comfortable working with children of all ages, and is prepared to answer all questions from the audience.

45 – 60 minutes: Readings from her novel, plus Q&A’s from audience.
This can include a discussion on The State of Kindness. Using characters from her novel, Leslie will lead a discussion on how the kind characters appear to be happy, and the unkind characters are unhappy. She will include examples from the book of bullying and racism. This can lead to a discussion or short writing activity where students write about a time when they were kind (or
unkind) and how it made them feel.

In person audience size 45 maximum. Virtual audience is limitless.

Contact Leslie to book a visit:

    Hughes, Susan (Toronto, ON)

    Writers Union Member. Canscaip. SCBWI. Fiction & NF, multiple Forest of Reading nominations. Multi awards. Mainly grades K to 6.

    Virtual visit: $200 (plus hst) for one session of 40-50 mins; and $150 for each additional session on the same day. Also, $220 (plus hst) for two back-to-back 30 min sessions with Kinders.

    Susan is an award-winning author of over 30 children’s books (fiction and non-fiction), including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade novels, and YA novels—and even some graphic narratives (picture books and middle-grade). She runs through the local cemetery, where she glimpses coyotes and foxes; was dog- and horse-crazy as a kid; and no matter what’s she’s doing, would usually rather be reading.

    Susan’s books have won and been shortlisted for several awards, including the Silver Birch Express, Silver Birch Non-fiction, Red Maple, Red Cedar Information Book, Hackmatack, Prix des Libraires du Quebec (Jeunesse), Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, TD Canadian Children’s Literature, Diamond Willow). Her books have received starred and recommended reviews from Kirkus, CCBC, CBC Books, Quill & Quire, School Library Journal, Resource Links, The Globe & Mail, CanLit for Little Canadians and CM Magazine.

    Susan loves chatting with young readers about her books, the writing and publishing process, and their own writing projects. Susan will read from one or more of her books, discuss the inspiration for her book and the writing, research, and publishing process, and engage in a lively Q and A with young students.  

    Readings from her book(s), plus Q&A’s with audience (20-30 mins for kinders; 30-50 mins for gr 1 and up)

    Suggestions of picture books for presentations:

    Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality (gr 2 – 5)

    In this inspiring picture book story of individual activism (based on a real boy), Victor recognizes gender inequality when his sister must stop attending school — and decides to do something about it.

    Themes: equality, gender, children taking action, Malawi, fiction/ non-fiction, graphic novel, family, diversity, authenticity, experts, Citizen Kids, global connections

    Carmen and the House That Gaudi Built (gr 1 – 6)

    Carmen Batlló must move to the city, leaving behind her imaginary salamander—but then meets architect Antoni Gaudí. This picture book is inspired by the real Batlló family and the house Gaudí designed for them.

    Themes: fiction versus non-fiction, based on, imaginary friends, architecture, home, nature, moving, Antoni Gaudi, change

    What Happens Next (gr 2 -6)

    This picture book story is told by an unnamed protagonist who, when bullied by a girl at school, confronts the bully in a unique way— helping the bully see the world with a new perspective.

    Themes: bullying, emotions, empathy, non-gendered character, point-of-view, differences and similarities, courage

    Walking in the City with Jane: A Story of Jane Jacobs (gr 3 – 7)

    A fictionalized story of the life of Jane Jacobs, one of the world’s greatest urban thinkers and activists, this picture book is a terrific resource for exploring civic engagement, urban life, and the role of city planning.

    Themes: urban activist, ecosystem, grassroots, observer, perseverance, courage, citizenship, initiative, prison, biography, annual Jane Walks

    Up! How Families Around the World Carry their Little Ones (K to gr 2)

    A celebration of diversity, this non-fiction picture book depicts children being carried in many different ways by various family members in 10 places around the world.

    Themes: family, emotions, empathy, rural/urban, diversity, global connections

    Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World  (gr 4 to 7)

    In this middle-grade non-fiction book, you’ll travel around the globe to visit some of the world’s most incredible schools (on boats, on train platforms, mobile schools, etc.) and meet the students who attend them.

    Themes: education, equality/equity, tough decisions, diversity, initiative, interviews, citizenship, global connections

    Virtual meetings can be on Zoom, Google meets, or Skype. Audience size: let’s discuss!

    Connect with Susan to book a visit:

      Kamal, Sheena

      Adult thrillers and bold, gritty YA fiction. Globe and Mail bestselling author, Strand Magazine Critics Award Winner, Macavity Award Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Winner, White Pine Nominee, Crime Writers of Canada Nominee. All ages. $400 plus HST for 1 session + travel. Virtual Visits: $300 plus HST per session.

      Sheena is an internationally published, critically acclaimed author of adult thrillers and young adult fiction. She holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness.

      Her debut novel The Lost Ones (US)/Eyes Like Mine (UK) won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, a Strand Magazine Critics Award and Macavity Award for Best First Novel. It has been sold in fifteen countries and was a Globe and Mail Bestseller, a Time Magazine Recommended Read, an iBooks Best Book, a Bustle Best Book and a Powell’s Pick. Fight Like a Girl is her debut YA novel and is also published in the UK by Hot Key Books.

      Additionally, her writing has been featured in The Guardian (U.K.), BustleThe Irish Times (Ireland), Writers Digest, and Entertainment Weekly.

      She enjoys giving workshops about the writing process, connecting with your creativity, and finding your voice.

      Contact Sheena to book a visit:

        Stemp, Heather (North Bay, Ontario)

        Writer’s Union Member. English. Historical Fiction In-person

        Rates: $225. for one session, $400. for two sessions in the same school

        Virtual Rates: $150. for one session, $125. for each additional session in the same school.

        Sessions: 60 minutes (virtual visits only, at this time)

        Heather is a retired teacher, mother, and grandmother. All these roles have made her a dedicated supporter of young readers through her writing, classroom visits, and community events.

        Her first book, Amelia and Me, is a middle grade historical fiction, which was nominated for the 2015 Red Cedar Award. Her second book, Under Amelia’s Wing, has been nominated for the 2021 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the 2021 Red Maple Award (YA).

        After Heather retired, she began writing her family history. She found that the Ross’s of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland were involved in early transatlantic aviation. Then Amelia Earhart arrived in 1932 to make her own transatlantic flight. That’s when Heather’s family history turned into her first book, Amelia and Me. Her second book, Under Amelia’s Wing, continues her Aunt Ginny’s adventures with Amelia in the newly-developing field of female pilots.

        Presentations

        Heather collaborates with teachers and/or librarians to customize visits to meet the students’ interests and the teachers’ curriculum requirements.  

        Here are a few suggestions for virtual classroom visits:

        Invite Amelia Earhart into Your Classroom

        (She will arrive in a full flying outfit, if desired)

        Interview Amelia or ask her to describe:

        • her time in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland before her flight- the secrecy, the  other female pilots trying to beat her across the Atlantic, and those who helped her
        • her actual flight- the problems, how she solved them, where she landed, her “staged” reception, and the world’s reaction

        Other characters from, Amelia and Me, could be used in a similar manner. For example:

        • interview Ginny Ross, the main character, or ask her to tell you about growing up in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and how difficult it was to follow her dream of becoming a pilot.
        • interview Joseph Ross, Ginny’s grandfather, or ask him to describe the depression in Newfoundland in 1932 and how it affected store owners like him
        • interview Rose Archibald (Ginny’s aunt) or ask her to tell you about the role of women in 1932
        • interview Heather Stemp, the author, or ask her to describe how family stories can be turned into books, the writing process, the editing process, or why people write books

        A similar approach can be used to explore Heather’s second book, Under Amelia’s Wing, which is set at Purdue University in 1936. Ginny Ross is enrolled there as a mechanical engineering student. Amelia Earhart is there as a part-time career counselor for women and aviation advisor. Characters from the book can be interviewed or asked to describe certain aspects of the story. This book is for young adults, grades seven and eight. The use of costumes with this age group can be discussed with the teacher before Heather arrives.

        Curriculum connections are numerous in these STEM friendly historical novels so hands-on activities can be included in different content areas. The interests of the teacher and the students will define the visit.

        Historical black and white photos, videos, and maps can be used, if desired.

        Information on audience size limits, writing workshops, set-up requirements.

        Virtual visits only, at this time. Best with one or two classes to allow Heather to interact with students. Larger groups negotiable.

        Contact Heather to book a visit:

          Crawley, Oksanna (Brampton, ON)

          Author/Illustrator of levelled books for Kindergarten and Grade One

          Member of CANSCAIP and SCBWI

          Virtual presentation $100.00 + HST per one session

          Oksanna is a retired Kindergarten teacher and early literacy specialist. She loves writing funny books about a goofy, super hero hamster and has just as much fun drawing the illustrations.

          Oksanna is the author and illustrator of over 30 levelled books – Super Hammy – My First Reading Series (a collection of 15 books, Fountas & Pinnell levels A-C), and Super Hammy’s New Adventures (a collection of 15 books, Fountas & Pinnell levels D-F). She is also the author and illustrator of Super Hammy ABC. The books are also available in French and Chinese.

          Oksanna has two 30 or 45 min. virtual presentations for grades K to 3. Choose one.

          Presentation # 1 emphasizes reading and writing.

          • Oksanna talks about herself as a young girl and how she was bitten by the writing and drawing bugs.
          • She reads her Super Hammy books, and, using a PowerPoint presentation, shows how an idea in her head becomes a book.
          • After a short dance break, more read alouds, and then students brainstorm super powers they’d love to have. Super Hammy’s super powers are love and kindness.
          • A talk about the elements of a story ensues – setting, characters, problem, solution, beginning, middle and end with examples from a Super Hammy story.
          • Then, a Q & A.
          • The task: Students write and illustrate a story about their super power on their own time.

          Presentation #2 emphasizes reading, writing and art.

          • Oksanna talks about herself as a young girl and how she was bitten by the writing and drawing bugs.
          • She reads her Super Hammy books and, using a PowerPoint presentation, shows how an idea in her head becomes a book with an emphasis on illustrations.
          • After a short dance break, more read alouds, and then students brainstorm super powers they’d love to have. Super Hammy’s super powers are love and kindness.
          • Oksanna demonstrates how to make a 4-panel comic/how to draw and write – with a problem and a solution.
          • Then, a Q & A.
          • The task: Students make a 4-panel comic (captions and drawings) with a story about their super power on their own time.
          • Teacher will be provided with a template of a 4-panel comic to be photocopied for students.

          Audience: One class at a time, or two or three grouped together for a Zoom presentation. Oksanna would appreciate that the students be familiar with Super Hammy books. Books can be ordered from DC Canada Education Publishing. The presentations are done in English, however, Oksanna can do the read alouds in French if requested.

          Contact Oksanna to book a visit:

            McCann, James (Richmond, BC)

            Writers Union Member. CWILL BC Member. Fiction, Nominated for a Cybils award, CCBC Best Books. Grades 4-12 and adults. $250 for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside Toronto. Virtual visit fees range from $100 – $200.

            Things you might find interesting about James McCann: he has written book reviews for the Canadian Children’s Book News, has taught countless workshops for schools, school divisions, libraries, and teachers’ associations, and from 2006 – 2009 he was the president of CWILL BC.Things you’re more likely to find interesting: Most of his time is spent writing, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or practising the ukulele. He owns a 3D printer and uses it to build sets of cities to inspire stories.

            James McCann is friendly and immediately likeable. He has no difficulty collaborating with educators and other authors, he clearly enjoys meeting new people, and he interacts exceptionally well with youth. Above all, his writing workshops are engaging, thoughtfully organized, and hands-on. His presentations are energetic, professional, well-prepared, and tremendously engaging. He is able to convey his passion for reading and writing. He clearly motivates people in all aspects of literacy and, essentially, makes literacy ‘cool’.

            Map Making Your Imagination

            • Grades 4-8
            • 60 minutes with a 30 minute author introduction.

            This workshop takes students through the story creation process by starting with a map setting and seeing what ideas emerge. This is how I began writing, back when I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons and running my own campaigns.

            Your students will learn what it’s like to become an author through my personal story as a reluctant reader to author. Discuss characters and their relationship to the world in which they live. How best to start a story, and what they can do to keep that story going.

            At the end of this workshop your students will have a project started they can continue throughout the school year.

            Writing Your Story Dungeons and Dragons-style

            • Grades 8-12
            • 60 minutes with a 30 minute author introduction.

            Whether your students write contemporary tales or fantasy epics, the popular game of Dungeons and Dragons can make you a better writer. See how modern writers have been influenced through creating characters, maps, and collaborative storytelling to work through tough plot points!

            At the end of this workshop, your students will have the tools to say goodbye to writer’s block forever and get their novel written and polished. And yes, they will want to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons!

            Contact James to book a visit:

              Collins, Peggy (Eastern Ontario)

              Peggy Collins is an Eastern Ontario based author and illustrator and college professor. She is a member of the Writers Union of Canada, the Society of Children’s book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI), Canadian Association of Children’s Authors Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) and the CCBC.

              Peggy creates every presentation to suit the age/grade and book (or books) for the presentation, and all presentations will be done in English. As a college professor and presenter for all ages there is a presentation for every age group available.

              At this time, virtual visits are preferred but eastern Ontario in-person visits will be considered. Rates: $250 for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside the Kingston/Belleville/piston area. Virtual visit fees range from $100 – $200

              Peggy Collins has written and/or illustrated a wide variety of books that reflect social awareness, STEAM content and foster an understanding of the greater world around us.

              Rooted in a sense of wonder and play, Peggy brings this curiousity into each classroom she visits, engaging children in the creation of their own stories and artwork. She is a firm believer that every story matters and works to make sure that children feel that after her workshops. Workshops can include story generation, illustration demos (with kids drawing along), process and editing – with examples from actual projects, readings, q and a and more.

              Peggy prefers to work with individual classes for workshops (15-35 students) in-person. Virtually, depending on the wishes of the class/school she can facilitate 2 or more at a time – however would prefer no more than two to allow time for the students to interact directly with her.

              For virtual presentations the classroom must have access to a camera and teams, Peggy will provide a link prior to session. Students must be ready to draw! For in-person visits, schools should have a smart board or presentation screen, a flip pad of paper and markers, and materials for the children to draw with. Peripheral teaching materials will be emailed to teachers prior to class as well. A teacher must be present at all times during and between the presentations.

              Contact Peggy to book a visit:

                Leach, Sara (Whistler, BC).

                Sarah Leach

                Writer’s Union Member. Presentations in English for K-7. Virtual visits:  $150 for 45-60 minute session. In person visits: $250 for one session, $400 for two sessions, $800 for full day, plus travel expenses. No HST.

                Sara is an award-winning author of 9 books for children. She brings 25 years of teaching experience to her presentations.

                Sara has written picture books, chapter books and middle-grade novels and loves speaking to all age ranges within a school. She can tailor her presentations to any group of students. Some of the topics students and teachers have enjoyed most include:

                What does every story need? Sara discusses character, setting and problem using the Slug Days series and leads students to create their own story starters.

                I know that place! In this author talk based around the Jake Reynolds books, Sara describes the writing process, and how she used events and locations from her own life to add exciting details to the books.

                Where do authors get their ideas? Everyone has a story to tell, and authors draw from all parts of their lives (and sometimes those of their friends), to write a book. In this workshop Sara will describe where the ideas for her books came from, and how she used bits and pieces of experiences from throughout her life to write these fictional stories.

                Sara is happy to present in any setting, but the library is preferred. A screen and projector are helpful and a microphone and podium are required for a gym. Virtual visits can be through Google Meets or Zoom. If you have a different platform you’d like to use she’s happy to try it.

                Contact Sara to book a visit:

                  McLellan, Stephanie Simpson (Newmarket, ON)

                  Writers Union Member. English. Fiction (Picture Book and Mid Grade), Mr. Christie Award winner, Ruth Schwartz Award Winner, 2022 Blue Spruce Award Nominee. Grades K-3 and Grades 5-8. 

                  In-Person Visits: $300 plus HST for 1 session, $500 for 2, $750 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + travel (50 cents per kilometer, round-trip for SW ON).

                  Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST, for one session, 20-60 minutes, $150 for each additional session on the same day.

                  Stephanie is the award-winning author of six picture books and one mid-grade novel. She reviewed children’s books for twelve years for Today’s Parent magazine (for which she got to interview the legendary Maurice Sendak!), operated an online bookstore for a few years called Neverending Stories, and wrote several scripts for the gemini-nominated children’s television series Roll Play (on Treehouse).

                  Her books have won and been shortlisted for several awards (Mr. Christie Award, Ruth Schwartz Award, Chocolate Lily Award, CNIB Tiny Torgi Award, Crystal Kite Award and Blue Spruce Award) and have received starred and recommended reviews from Kirkus, CCBC, CBC Books, Quill & Quire, School Library Journal, Resource Links, TVO Kids, Chickadee Magazine, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, City Parent, CanLit for Little Canadians and CM Magazine.

                  A passionate promoter of literacy, Stephanie has toured twice for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week: to Labrador in 2014 and Northwest Territories in 2018. Surrounding the release of her 2017 picture book, The Christmas Wind, Stephanie worked with almost 1,700 primary students in every province and territory of Canada (plus one school in Australia) on a unique literacy initiative that resulted in over 13,000 student drawings of her characters Jo, Murdock and the wind. Widely profiled by CBC, The Christmas Wind Story Project involved the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in the spring of 2016 and was a top 10 finalist in the 2016 CST Inspired Minds Learning Project Contest.

                  Presentation Description

                  During Stephanie’s school presentations for grades K-3, she encourages children to look for and understand their own creativity by sharing the stories behind her stories, how these stories/ideas turn into books, and what it’s like to write for a living. Specifically, she has four goals with each school presentation:

                  • To entertain students with a dramatic reading of her books so they will come to know and care about her characters and about the value of story
                  • To stir the writer/creator inside each student by sharing the stories behind her stories, thus empowering them to see the connection between their own lives and their own potential works of art
                  • To create a natural bridge to relevant, valuable and interesting learning (e.g.Hoogie in the Middle – a simile exercise; Leon’s Song – a mini science quiz on how frogs survive the winter)
                  • To give students a sense of what goes into the creation of a book (the illustrator, the publisher, the ideas) and what it’s like to write for a living 

                  For grades 5-8, Stephanie will focus on her mid grade novel Sully, Messed Up to explore themes of self-esteem, identity, life choices, social-emotional learning and bullying.

                  Ahead of each school visit Stephanie creates a school specific page on her website to help teachers and students prepare for her visit.

                  Maximum group size: 50-60 for optimum interaction 

                  Equipment required: a table, an easel (for presentation boards), water, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

                  Contact Stephanie to book a visit:

                    Nanua, Sarena and Sasha (Mississauga, ON)

                    Presentation language: English. Grades 6-8 or 9-12. Combined rates: $250+HST for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside the Greater Toronto Area. Combined rates for virtual visits: $200+HST for one session, $300 for two.

                    Sarena and Sasha Nanua are twin sisters living in Ontario, Canada. Born on Diwali ten minutes apart from each other, they grew up loving stories about twins and magic, and began writing books together when they were nine years old. They are graduates of the English and Professional Writing programs at the University of Toronto and are the authors of The Pendant Trilogy and the Ria and Rani duology. 

                    Sarena and Sasha offer presentations on their writing journey, including how they began writing together at the age of nine, how they self-published as teenagers and then got a literary agent, and how they traditionally published their book Sisters of the Snake with HarperCollins. They also offer workshops on the publishing process and creative writing. Workshops can be tailored to grade level and can cover topics such as:

                    • novel writing
                    • elements of a story
                    • best practices for revision/editing

                    One session can include anywhere from 2-3 classes (20-30 students per class). Workshops can be done one class at a time, but also allow for smaller group sessions with each of us/one-on-one experiences in-person. Visual equipment such as power-point required for presentations and workshops. Bottled water would be appreciated.

                    Contact Sarena and Sasha to book a visit: