O’Connor, Heather (Peterborough, ON).

Writers’ Union of Canada member. Presentations and writing workshops in English. Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Virtual visits (45 minutes): $150+HST. Virtual kindies (Two 20-minute sessions): $150+HST. In-person visits (45-60 minutes): $250+HST for one session, $450+HST for two, $600+HST for three, $800+HST for a full day (4 sessions). Kindies: two 25-minute sessions for $250+HST. Mileage for visits 100+ km from Peterborough.

Heather M. O’Connor’s new picture book Fast Friends is a 2021 Blue Spruce Award nominee. She writes fiction and nonfiction for kids and teens.

Heather is an enthusiastic presenter. She uses fun activities and clear, kid-friendly examples to engage with young audiences. “What it’s like to write a book? A lot like doing a school project,” she explains. Heather’s workshops and presentations can be tailored to your classroom. Most come with curriculum connections, follow-up activities and teacher resources.

Presentations:
Book talks

Fast Friends (Blue-Spruce-nominated picture book)
Suze and Tyson become friends speedy-quick, even though Suze is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair. This story is inspired by Heather’s daughter Suze and her friends growing up. Themes and curriculum connections: body language, mime, inclusion, friendship, welcoming newcomers, working with
an illustrator.

Betting Game (high-action sports novel for readers 10+, ideal for reluctant readers)
Jack is a hotshot soccer player. When a new player joins the team, Jack gets drawn into gambling. Heather plays soccer herself. To research this book, she toured the Toronto FC Training Ground and met TFC head coach Greg Vanney. Themes and curriculum connections: soccer, research techniques, friendship, asking for help, teen gambling.

A writer’s life

  • So you want to be a writer (Spoiler alert – It’s a lot like being a student)
  • Digging up the facts: Research anecdotes and tips
  • Even authors need an editor: Revising process, tips and hacks, exercises
  • All roads lead to writing: Careers in writing (ideal for Grade 10 Careers)

Creative writing for young writers

  • “What ifs” and “I wonders” (gathering ideas)
  • Going on a Bear Hunt (conflict and tension)
  • Let’s tell a story (plot)
  • World-building (setting)
  • Story polish (revision)

Creative writing for older kid and teens and adults

  • Writer’s craft: Hands-on sessions that focus on a single element of story (character, setting, point of view,
  • conflict, plot, theme.) Book four elements, get fifth free.
  • Short story writing
  • Revision

Nonfiction presentations and hands-on writing workshops
Heather’s been a freelance writer for almost 20 years. Her favourite news beat is LesPlan Educational Services. Bring her in to work with your students.

  • Ask the right questions: Interview techniques
  • Google doesn’t know everything: Research methods (archives, newspapers, oral histories)
  • Persuade me!: Persuasive writing
  • News or opinion: What’s the difference?
  • Writing the news (interviews, outlines, 5 Ws, inverted triangle writing)

Books titles and awards:
Fast Friends, Scholastic Canada, 2020. Picture book. Blue Spruce nominee, 2021 Forest of Reading. Toronto Public Library First and Best, 2020.
Betting Game, Orca Book Publishers, 2015. Young adult high-low sports novel. Recommended title, Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2015. Highly recommended, CM Magazine.
Runs with the Stars, Second Story, Spring 2022. Dual language picture book, written with Darcy Whitecrow.

Audience size and equipment needed:
Classroom or school library preferred. Will present in gyms or auditoriums if microphone provided. Please supply podium and table, and if possible, a digital projector and screen.

Contact Heather to book a visit…

    Lee, Sherry (Toronto, ON)

    Sherry Lee

    2021 Blue Spruce-nominated author available for virtual school and public library presentations.

    Presentations in English for kindergarten to grade 3. Member of The Writer’s Union of Canada. Virtual visits are $125 for a 30-minute presentation including Q & A, and $200 for two 30-minutes presentations (approximately).

    Sherry J Lee is the debut picture book author of Going Up! Like her book, she is fun, funny, delights in people, and believes that love and respect are the most important things. In addition to a decades long publishing career Sherry has a performance background.

    Presentation Details
    Grades JK – 3
    Reading / presentation – At this time, Sherry Lee is offering an interactive presentation based on her picture book, Going Up! It involves a live reading (with student participation!); the story and process behind the book, as well as discussion of these themes: where people live; pets! and welcoming all. Afterwards, kids are welcome to ask questions. There are three activity sheets that may be downloaded for kids’ use.

    In terms of set-up requirements, presentations will be on Zoom so computer or computers will be required depending on whether children are in class or connecting from home. Class-sized numbers are best – so between 5 and 30 children.

    Contact Sherry Lee for a visit:

      Hutchins, Hazel (Canmore, Alberta)

      Writers’ Union Member.

      Virtual Presentations for Grades 1-4 (45 minutes) 

      Single session:  $100 + HST .  Multiple sessions with same school: $75 + HST

      Hazel delights in sharing her stories and creative energy with young students. Many of her books (over 50 in all) can be found in Ontario classrooms and libraries from appearances on previous Blue Spruce, Silver Birch and Red Maple reading lists. Awards include the  Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature, the Shining Willow Young Readers Choice and selection for Mr. Christie and Governor General’s short lists.

      Hazel actively changes her presentation to match the age level and interests of the students before her. She interacts in a personal way as much as possible. Below is a general description but sessions vary, each in their own unique way.

      Building Stories Together –  Grades 1-4

      Where do stories come from? Are they instantly perfect? How are ideas turned into books? Personal connection with an author builds enthusiasm for reading and writing of all kinds. Hazel shows interesting story objects, highlights her own goofy doodle-writing, talks about the good side of rewriting (yes! there is a good side!), shares her reaction to illustrations and shows the intriguing physical puzzle of printers sheets.  

      Often, while speaking with grades 1 and 2 especially, Hazel finds enthusiastic story ideas bursting out all around the class. Soon she is leading the students on a happy romp, helping students explore ideas in unusual directions. So many possibilities!  Which will be the most fun to write? Which will have an interesting turning point or crisis? Which will offer the most satisfying ending? And if the magic is just right, maybe…just maybe…they will create an entire new story together!

      Brief question periods are scattered throughout. Most sessions also include an engaging reading of one of Hazel’s picture books or, with slightly older students, a short selection from one of her novels.

      Virtual Sessions are 45 minutes each. Best with one or two classes to allow greater interaction between students and author. Larger groups negotiable. No recording of sessions please.

      Book Hazel for a visit:

        Singh, Rina (Toronto, ON)

        Rina SinghSCBWI and CANSCAIP Member. Kirkus & Publisher’s Weekly Starred Reviews 2018. Picture Books. Diverse Books. Non-Fiction.  Writing Workshops. Grade 3 and up. Rina’s rate is $250 for the first session, and $400 for the second session plus travel from Toronto. No travel costs within Toronto. She does not charge HST.

        Rina is offering virtual visits at the reduced rate of $200.

        Rina Singh is an award-winning Children’s Author and Spoken Word coach. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Concordia University, Montreal, and a teaching degree from McGill University. She has written many critically acclaimed books for children. As a writer, she is drawn to real life stories about social justice and the environment.

        Grandmother School, (Orca Books) which won the BC & Yukon Prize for literature affirms the life-changing power of education. A Garden of Grenades, (Greystone Books) told in free verse, reimagines our troubled world through the lens of love and compassion. 111 Trees, (Kids Can Press) which won the Social Justice literature award and is nominated for the Yellow Cedar award celebrates the unfailing greatness of human spirit and inspires us to become eco-feminists.

        Her books have been translated in many languages and have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist.

        Rina has done readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada, including the TD Children’s Book Week. She has also presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and Reading for the Love of it in Toronto. She has been an arts educator for twenty-five years.

        Rina has done readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada, including TD Children’s Book Week in 2012 and 2018. In 2014, she also presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and Reading for the Love of it in Toronto (2015). She is an Ontario Certified Teacher and has taught visual arts, drama, and creative writing in Toronto for 25 years. She is also a tdsbCREATES mentor artist for Spoken Word.

        BOOK TALK: Where do Stories Come From?
        In this 1-hour visual presentation, Rina looks back over her own life and career, and using examples of the books she has written, she asks the audience to think about where stories and ideas come from. She shows how a book comes together, from first idea, to first draft and through the re-writing process. The last twenty minutes of the presentation are interactive. This presentation will appeal even to the most reluctant readers.

        Writing Workshops (75 minutes)

        Option #1
        In this fast-paced workshop, participants will explore how they can use their own experiences and curiosity and create compelling stories and poems using lyrical language. The workshop will end with student readings.
        Grade 6-8 Preferred group size 30 students (for optimal interaction with students)

        Option #2
        Inspired by how Rina wrote her book – Holi Colors, she takes the participants on a fun and engaging journey where they explore colour through their own senses. It’s great for beginning poets and the workshop can be adapted with more sophisticated content for advanced writers.

        Grades 3-6 Preferred group size 30 students (for optimal interaction with students)

        Equipment Required

        Rina is comfortable presenting in a classroom, library, or auditorium. She requires a glass of water, a table to display books, a screen, laptop and LCD projector for Power Point. She requests that a librarian, teacher, or other school representative be present throughout the presentation.

        Contact Rina to book a visit: