Shiell, Mike (Georgetown, ON)

Mike’s books have received numerous awards and commendations including being shortlisted for the Red Cedar award (2021 & 2023) and the Hackmatack award (2023).

In person visits: $300 for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4/full day (may be shared with a neighbouring school), + travel (50 cents per kilometer, round-trip).

Virtual Visits: $200, for one session, 60 minutes, $175 for each additional session on the same day. For virtual sessions, mornings; 9am – noon ET is preferred but he is flexible on this.

Mike was a guest speaker at the 43rd edition (2022) of the Toronto International Festival of Authors for both “Linty: A Pocketful of Adventure” and the “Gross Science” Series with writer Edward Kay.

In addition, Mike has over 25 years’ experience working as a director, animation supervisor and animator. He has directed and supervised a number of children’s shows including the Emmy awarding winning, “The Backyardigans” and “Mike the Knight”.

Mike is the author and Illustrator of “Linty: A Pocketful of Adventure”. “Linty” is a hilarious and offbeat graphic novel for early readers. Silly and engaging with loads of heart, it’s the perfect book to place in the hands of any reluctant or emerging reader. Every day is pretty much the same for Linty: Some cardio. Sightseeing (“So blue!”). Solo Marco Polo. Until one day, everything changes! The relatable emotions of the lovable main character as portrayed in the story and the expressive illustrations support social-emotional learning with themes of making friends, embracing what life throws at you, and finding the courage to try new things.

Mike is also the illustrator of 7 other titles published by Kids Can Press.

Presentations by age:

5 – 10yrs: “Linty: A Pocketful of Adventure”

Mike aims to make his presentations as fun, positive and interactive as possible. Mike’s sessions include; “draw-along-with-Mike”, selected readings of Linty, showing animated clips of Linty and a question and answer period. Mike also talks about what inspired him to create Linty, the creative process when writing and illustrating children’s books and also what it’s like to be a full-time author, illustrator and animator. Mike’s Linty presentations include lots of fun and laughs but there are also some educational and inspirational moments to take away.

Group size: Any but 15 – 30 is ideal especially for the segment where he asks volunteers to come up and draw with him

A/V and other needs for in person: Monitor/Projector to present animated clips (MP4s) and images, smart board or white board, paper and coloured pencils and a drawing surface for each child, either a clipboard or table and a microphone will be needed for larger groups.

A/V and other needs for virtual visits: Students should come ready to draw and ask questions! 

10 – 15yrs: What It’s like to be a writer and illustrator and how I got here.

For all those aspiring writers and illustrators, Mike does a 1 hour session (workshop) in which he discusses the inspiration that lead him to create Linty, his creative and writing process and his path to becoming a full time living as an author, illustrator and animator and what that career is like. At the end Mike opens up the floor for questions and further discussion.

Group size: Any but 15 – 30 is ideal.

A/V and other needs for in person: Monitor/Projector to present animated clips (MP4s) and images, smart board or white board and a microphone will be needed for larger groups.

Needed for virtual visits: Students should come ready to talk about their work, their inspirations and aspirations to ask lots of questions! 

Contact Mike to book a visit:

    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 as shortlisted for the 2022 Rocky Mountain Book Awards and Silver Birch Award, The 2023 Hackmatack Award, MYRA Award, The Diamond Willow Award, the Red Cedar AwardThe Jean Little First-Novel Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award. Leslie is of Coast Salish, Tuscarora and Settler heritage.

    Leslie is an engaging speaker who is very comfortable working with children of all ages. As a musician, she often incorporates songs with her readings.

    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.

      Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up For Gender Equality is shortlisted for the Hackmatack English Non-Fiction Award.

      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:

      Same Here: The Differences We Share (gr 2 – 5)

      This MG informational picture book introduces readers to kids from around the world, the lives they lead, and the common needs that unite them. The child-centered narrative and evocative illustrations explore how education, family, free time, and other aspects of daily life look different depending on who you are and where you live.

      Themes: common needs, global connections, equality/equity, diversity, education, communication, socio-economic realities, social studies

      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:

        Sherrard, Valerie (Miramichi NB)

        Valerie Sherrard

        GG nominated, award-winning author.

        Virtual Visit: $225.00 for a 60 minute presentation.

        In school visits: $300 for a single presentation or $550 for two at one location. Full day workshop 700.00.  Expenses are included in all fees. For in-school visit dates — please contact Valerie and she will let you know when she plans to be in Ontario.

        Valerie is an experienced presenter (in-person and virtual visits) who uses humour and an interactive style to engage her audience. Feedback from her school and library visits has been enthusiastic.

        Birdspell Corbin Hayes is used to being alone. His mom’s illness means lost jobs, constant moves, new schools and friendships that never get to grow. So, when a classmate offers Corbin the talking bird she can no longer keep, he sees a chance to fill the gap in his life. But when things begin to spiral out of control, Corbin can no longer cope. At his lowest moment, he’s forced to do the one thing he fears the most. Young Adult.

        Finding Avalon  Avalon Monday doesn’t mind telling schoolmates that her mother ran off with a guy she met on the internet. After all, that’s way less embarrassing than the truth. But when the past collides with the present, exposing her secret and threatening to leave her new life in ruins, Avalon discovers there are some things you can never truly leave behind.

        Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady  (Chapter Book) Desperate measures are called for when a boy is secretly afraid of dragons, but his new babysitter is rumoured to have a dragon in her basement!

        Presentations: I will present to grades 1 – 9. A signed bookmark or postcard will be provided for each student at all in-person presentations.

        Grades 1 – 3: There’s a COW Under My Bed! or Down Here! Fun and interactive talk about expressions and language, and students’ own creative abilities. Reading with audience participation. I end with a short Q & A. For these grades you may book two half hour presentations in the place of a single 60 minute session if you prefer.

        Middle Grades: Engaging interactive presentation on literacy, with or without issue-based segments depending on the book being presented. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

        Young Adult: Engaging and interactive presentation on literacy, believing in oneself and a variety of writing or issue related topics, depending on the requested focus. I end with a short reading and about 10 minutes for Q & A.

        Workshop for grades 6 and up: A Story’s Voice. This full day workshop is designed to help young people develop distinctive voices in their writing by examining the way character, setting, perspective, dialogue, tense etc. impact in telling a story. Writing exercises will demonstrate how each of these support a story in different ways, and help them to recognize which components will work best for their stories. Limited to 15 participants. Available virtually – contact to discuss a suitable arrangement.

        I am flexible on audience size but in my experience, smaller in-person groups result in the greatest benefit to students. I am comfortable in all settings, including classroom, library, auditorium or gymnasium.

        A sound system may be necessary depending on audience size, acoustics and the number of presentations booked.

        Contact Valerie:

          Kay, Edward (Toronto, ON)

          Rates: $300 for one session, $550 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for four (plus HST). No travel charges within the GTA.

          Virtual Visits: $150.00 + HST for one hour.

          Age range: Grades 2 to 8 for Germy Science, Grades 6 to 12 for Comedy workshop.

          Awards:

          • Red Cedar Award nominations x 2 (Stinky Science, current nominee, Germy Science)
          • Hackmatack Award 2022/23 current nominee for Germy Science
          • Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner (Stinky Science) 2019 – Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
          • Japan Prize for Excellence in Educational Television (two nominations)
          • Canadian Screen Awards (three wins for best comedy writing, three nominations)
          • Canadian Comedy Awards (three wins for best comedy writing)

          About Me:

          As an award-winning comedy writer with a passion for science, I love making STEM fun and showing kids how it’s a very relevant part of their everyday lives. One of my career highlights was being chosen from an international field of writers to work with renowned physicist Stephen Hawking to adapt his George’s Secret Key to the Universe novels as an animated kids’ television series. I am currently collaborating with NASA scientist Kennda Lynch on developing a new kids’ science show for broadcasters in the United States. I also created, produced and wrote the award-winning television science series for grade-school children, Finding Stuff Out for TVO and Discovery.

          “Gross Science” School Presentation:

          My “Gross Science” school presentation is based on my series of the same name for Kids Can Press, consisting of three books: Stinky Science, Germy Science and Poopy Science. They are currently being adapted for television by Shaftesbury Films (Hudson & Rex, Murdoch Mysteries), so animated clips are available to show. It is a lively, hands-on presentation that includes a visit from a Venetian Plague Doctor in full costume (me, seen below taking the stage at the Toronto International Festival of Authors, 2022).

          Students will learn fun and amazing things, such as:

          • There are more germs on their thumbs than there are people in all of Canada.
          • This tiny dot . can hold more germs than the Rogers Centre can hold people!
          • Most germs are harmless and many help keep us safe and healthy by helping us digest our food, making oxygen that we breathe, and killing the bad germs that make us sick.
          • How vaccinations work, and that the first known immunization was done in ancient China, by blowing powdered smallpox scabs up your nose! (gross, but it worked!)
          • Bad breath and body odour are actually made by germs, not us.
          • Stinky feet and stinky cheese smell the same because they have the same microbes!
          • The amazing reason why some things smell good to us and others smell bad!
          • Animals that use stinky smells as a defense.
          • That girls’ sense of smell is better than boys’.
          • That artificial flavorings were once made from beaver butt secretions! And whale poop was used in ice cream!
          • That some of the shooting stars we see at night are actually astronaut poop from the International Space Station burning up in the atmosphere.
          • That our bodies help keep us healthy by making a cup of snot per day!
          • Reproductions of what Ancient Romans used to clean their teeth and wipe their butts with (note: these are two different objects!)
          • Simulated spider poop to show how tiny it can be.
          • A model of the largest human feces ever discovered (it was from a Viking, but don’t worry, my reproduction smells like Oh Henry bars!)
          • Sneak previews of the animated television adaptation of my Gross Science books.
          • Illustrations from the book shown on a video monitor (optional).
          • Simulated dinosaur poop to show how paleontologists and other researchers learn about an animal’s diet, environment, and health.

          Kids will learn practical things (but in fun ways!), such as that the reason they should brush and floss their teeth isn’t so that their dentist won’t nag them but because microbes are constantly pooping acid into their mouths, which rots their teeth! Or why they shouldn’t pick their noses because fingernails make tiny scratches through which germs can get into their bodies! There is lots of audience participation to keep things lively, as well as sneak previews of the animated series based on the books.

          “How to Be Funny” Comedy Writing Workshop:

          My science writing is closely tied to my comedy writing. There is a growing body of data-driven research proving that humour helps us stay healthy, cope with stress, build relationships, communicate and retain information more effectively, and be more successful in life. With that in mind, I also offer a workshop entitled, “How to be Funny“. Although the orientation is on comedy, my workshop is also useful for teaching students writing techniques that apply to all situations, as well as creative problem-solving skills that can be applied in many areas of their lives. The presentation is highly interactive. Students will learn what makes a picture, story or joke funny as well as specific exercises and techniques to find funny things to write about, create funny characters, learn how to play with language and ideas to create jokes with setups and punchlines, and how to create stories with comedic arcs and callbacks.

          Maximum number of students per presentation: 100 (35 for comedy writing workshops)

          I am comfortable presenting in: classroom, library, auditorium.

          Equipment and other requirements:

          For Gross Science, ideally I would like to have either a video monitor and DVD player or a video monitor and computer with a Wi-Fi link to play back a 30-second musical introduction and several two-minute clips from the Gross Science television series, as well as show illustrations from the books. However, if for any reason your school does not have this equipment, it’s not a deal breaker. There is still lots of great show and tell, and lots of fun interactivity for students. For younger students, drawing materials are highly recommended, as I find that encouraging kids to draw some of the things that we are discussing – germs, poop, dinosaurs, etc. – is a great way to keep them engaged.

          For the How To Be Funny comedy writing workshop, I require a blackboard and chalk or dry erase board and markers, as well as a DVD player and television for showing some age-appropriate comedy writing in completed form, drawn from my television shows. Students will require writing and drawing materials.

          I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be in attendance throughout the presentation.

          Biography: Edward was a staff writer and producer on the hit political satire series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during its four most successful seasons and was a contributor to Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans. Since then, he has gone on to create three hit television series for kids, including Jimmy Two Shoes (Teletoon, Disney) and the comedy inflected science series, Finding Stuff Out (TVO). He is the author of three middle grade novels as well as four non-fiction science books for kids, including the Gross Science series, and, as co-author, Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge (to be released in May 2023). Edward enjoys reading and performing in front of audiences, and has appeared at Toronto’s Word On The Street literary festival and the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and been a guest speaker at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.   

          Contact Edward Kay:

            Torres, J (Whitby, ON)

            Writer’s Union. Award-winning comic book and graphic novel writer. Middle grades.

            His rates for classroom and library visits are $350 for one session, $650 for two, $950 for three, plus travel outside of GTA.
            Virtual rates: $200 for one session, $300 for two (within the same week).
            J. has written for all the major North American comic book publishers including Archie, Dark Horse, DC Comics, Image, and Marvel. He currently writes the Chirp comic in Chirp Magazine. His graphic novels include Alison Dare, Bigfoot Boy, Brobots, How to Spot a Sasquatch, Lola: A Ghost Story, Planet Hockey, and Stealing Home among others. He has also written for children’s books and magazines, as well as animation and television. Continue reading “Torres, J (Whitby, ON)”