Grant, Joyce (Toronto, ON)

Joyce Grant

Writers’ Union of Canada member; journalism, fiction, picture books. Rainforest of Reading Award winner, Top 10 Best Books (Ontario Library Association) and Best Books (Canadian Children’s Book Centre). All ages.

$400 for an engaging, high-energy customized one-hour presentation (in-person or online).

Joyce is a subject-matter expert on “fake news” and journalism. She is a freelance journalist and owner of internationally award-winning TeachingKidsNews.com.

BOOKS:

* Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts, 2022, illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte. Illustrated non-fiction. Themes: Fake news, critical thinking, journalism.
* Gabby picture books: Gabby, Gabby: Wonder Girl, Gabby: Drama Queen. Themes: text to concrete things, friendship, creativity, phonics
* Middle-grade baseball novels for reluctant readers: Tagged Out and Sliding Home. Themes: bullying, diversity, teamwork, empathy

Joyce delivers high-energy, interactive, engaging presentations and workshops for all ages. She has written picture books with a literacy angle, and middle-grade baseball novels that deliver baseball action with underlying social themes (immigration, bullying, diversity, teamwork).

Joyce is also co-founder of TeachingKidsNews.com: free, kid-friendly news plus curriculum connections. She is a freelance journalist and her popular “How to Avoid Fake News” presentations can be tailored for students or teachers.

“We were honoured to have Joyce Grant as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Our audience of about 200 people (was) captivated by her content … students were incredibly engaged and just ate up what she had to tell us.”
—Laura Alopaeus-Gomes, Literacy Lead K-6, Algoma District School Board, 2018

NOVELS:
SLIDING HOME
This middle-grade baseball novel focuses on Miguel, who is holding down part-time jobs so he can bring his father to Canada from El Salvador. Set in Toronto's Christie Pits baseball field.
(Sequel to Tagged Out.) Themes: immigration, teamwork, diversity, empathy, baseball.

TAGGED OUT
Fast-paced middle-grade baseball novel for reluctant readers. Includes a strong secondary character who is gay. Themes: diversity, tolerance, empathy, teamwork, baseball.
A teaching guide is available free.

PICTURE BOOKS:
GABBY 
When Gabby drops her magic book, all its letters fall out. Whatever she spells with those letters
comes to life! Includes two pages of literacy activities. (Illustrator: Jan Dolby)
A teaching guide is available free.

Also in the series:
GABBY: WONDER GIRL (Includes question words.)
GABBY: DRAMA QUEEN (Includes words with consonant blends.)

PRESENTATIONS—GENERAL INFO:
Joyce customizes her high-energy, interactive presentations to suit your students and support their learning. She can speak to most ages, but asks that they’re grouped (ie, K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 5+).

Groups can be small (one to two classes) or larger, depending on how hands-on you want the presentation to be. Presentations for younger students are 40 minutes; for older students, 45 minutes to an hour. All presentations include Q&A.

HOW TO AVOID FAKE NEWS
Gr. 4-7
Post or Pass? We play this highly interactive game that teaches kids of all ages (and adults!) how to spot fake news and pass on it–or post the good stuff! Always hilarious, and everyone walks away with great information about how to spot fake news.
“Practical and engaging. The students are still talking about it, and the teachers have been using your ideas in their classrooms!”

WORD SCRAMBLE
K-3
Super energetic, interactive presentations using scrambled letters. Includes a behind-the- scenes look at how picture books are made.
“Interactive and fun!”

CHARACTER, SETTING, PROBLEM, MAGIC!
Gr. 2-3
Together, we build an exciting story and then we act it out.
“The kids loved it—we went back to the classroom and built more stories!”

WRITING WORKSHOPS
Gr. 4-9
Journalism (writing headlines, interviewing, the 5 Ws) and picture book workshops. 
“Real-world, hands-on learning.”

GETTING KIDS READING
Parents
Parent/literacy night coming up? My popular, practical session for parents will help you get your kid reading.

HOW TO TEACH KIDS TO AVOID FAKE NEWS
Teachers
Practical, popular presentations for teachers and teacher-candidates.

KEYNOTES AND SKYPE VISITS
Students or Adults
Students or Adults
Memorable keynotes for conferences and meetings (price to be discussed)

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:
I use PowerPoint, so I’ll need a projector and screen. Oh! And a bottle of water, please. My voice projects well (a-hem!), but if you think your space requires a microphone, I’ll need you to supply that—preferably hand-held.
I’m fine with small groups (one or two classes) or larger auditoriums. The bigger the group, the less hands-on the session, so workshops are best with a smaller group. I have great presentations for nearly every age group. Here are the preferred grade groupings: K to 1, grades 2 to 3, grades 4 to 6, grades 5 and up. I also present to teachers and teacher-candidates and to parents (ie, literacy night).

To book Joyce, please send us an email using the form below:

    • Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts, 2022, illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte. Illustrated non-fiction. Themes: Fake news, critical thinking, journalism.
    • Gabby picture books: Gabby, Gabby: Wonder Girl, Gabby: Drama Queen. Themes: text to concrete things, friendship, creativity, phonics
    • Middle-grade baseball novels for reluctant readers: Tagged Out and Sliding Home. Themes: bullying, diversity, teamwork, empathy

    Camlot, Heather (Toronto, ON)

    Writers’ Union Member. Fiction and nonfiction writer.

    Heather’s rates are $300 for one session, $550 for two, $800 for three. For virtual presentations: $300 for one session, $500 for two. HST applies to all sessions. No travel costs within Toronto or if I am in your city (I travel to Montreal several times a year). Able to present in English and French.

    Heather is an award-winning children’s author, journalist, editor and translator. Her two middle-grade novels, CLUTCH and THE OTHER SIDE, received Skipping Stones Honor Awards and nominations for Forest of Reading, among other honors. CLUTCH was also named a 2017 Best Book from Kirkus Reviews.

    Heather is also an accomplished nonfiction writer. SECRET SCHOOLS and THE PRISONER AND THE WRITER were named Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections and What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? True Stories of Imagination and Determination received a Skipping Stones Honor Award. Her next nonfiction book, Becoming Bionic and Other Ways Science is Making Us Super,

    In her presentations, Heather aims to entertain and educate, leaving the audience interested in writing fiction and nonfiction as well as looking into their own history for inspiration.

    PRESENTATIONS (60 minutes, grades 3+)


    Heather engages students with a fun and interactive presentation, customized to audience and interest.

    • Generally speaking: Heather shares the inspiration and the challenges of writing works that delve into history and social justice. She also discusses the basic elements of writing fiction and/or nonfiction, how to give stories life through research and why bringing the past to the present is so important. Q&A session and reading are included.
    • What does it mean to be a superhero?: This STEM/STEAM-related presentation draws on BECOMING BIONIC. We’ll delve get into how science is turning us into superbeings – powering up our bodies with what we may not have been born with and what we may never have thought we’d need. We’ll discuss what those powers look like in the real world, based on the sections of Becoming Bionic. We’ll create our own superhero identities and answer the ultimate question: Cape or no cape.
    • Stand up and speak out: This social-justice-related presentation, based on THE PRISONER AND THE WRITER, begins with a quote from Captain Alfred Dreyfus: “My only crime is to have been born a Jew.” How would students fill in the last word of Captain Dreyfus’s quote to reflect their lives or world around them? We’ll discuss the meaning of social justice, play a game of news fact vs news fiction, and discuss ways to stand up and speak out.

    Maximum presentation size: 100 for virtual presentations; 60 for in-person reading/Q&A. Teacher and/or librarian must be present.

    WORKSHOPS (60 minutes, grades 3+)

    • Look no further: A simple moment can kickstart the writing process. Students choose a moment in their own lives or family history and turn into a work of fiction or nonfiction. Based on CLUTCH and THE OTHER SIDE.
    • What’s news?: Bias in the media is not difficult to spot. This session will delve into media literacy and how to determine if what you’re reading is fact…or fiction. I’ll test students’ knowledge of news fact vs news fiction through a fun game and we’ll create a reference guide to better judge whether what they are reading, seeing, hearing is objective, biased or completely fake. Based on THE PRISONER AND THE WRITER.
    • A single object: A single object can inspire an entire world. Students will begin with an “item of interest” and learn how to add different layers — setting, storyline, character, big reveal — to build a short story. Based on THE OTHER SIDE.
    • Just the facts: How do you write a nonfiction book that makes tough subjects compelling and easy to understand all the while ensuring it stick to the truth? Based on her nonfiction books.
    • Get activ-ist!: “What cause would you defend…and how would you defend it?” We’ll discuss various forms of activism and what is important to students right now. We’ll come up with methods to get messages across and students will put ideas into action by creating a poster for their cause. Based on THE PRISONER AND THE WRITER and I CAN’T DO WHAT?
    • Customized topic: Heather is happy to tailor workshops to your needs and audience, including educators and the general public. Topics can include social injustice, advocacy, World War II, the Holocaust, antisemitism, soccer, baseball, media literacy, arts and entertainment, etc.

    Maximum workshop size: 30 (flexible).
    Equipment required: Flip chart and markers, screen and projector, microphone and podium (for large rooms), paper and pencils (for workshops). Teacher and/or librarian must be present.

    Heather offers the services of professional editing, copyediting, proofreading and
    translating. She also provides manuscript evaluations – fiction and nonfiction.

    Contact Heather 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: