Kachala, Elaine (Toronto, Ontario)

The Writer’s Union of Canada, SCBWI & CANSCAIP; Selected accolades: AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books (Longlist, 2024); NSTA/CBC Best STEM Books K-12 (2023); Red Cedar Book Awards (Shortlist, 2023); SCBWI Golden Kite Award (Finalist- NF Text for Older Readers, 2023); Children’s Book Council (Hot off the Press); Best Books (Canadian Children’s Book Centre); Best S&L Books (Tinlids); Top Grade CanLit for the Classroom; TEACH Magazine. Under contract with Orca Book Publishers for a second book, Building Homes for All.

Presentations (in-person): $250 for one session (30-60 minutes), $450 for two, $675 for three, and $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside Toronto. 

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Finalist, 2024, NSTA/CBC Best STEM Books, 2023, Red Cedar Book Awards, Shortlist, 2023-2024

Elaine Kachala is a health-policy researcher, writer, adviser, and children’s author. She is the author of Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution (Orca Book Publishers). Part of the popular Orca Think nonfiction series, this book is a fascinating look into how the same technologies that help and heal us also pose ethical concerns. Elaine delivers an exciting presentation and brings a unique perspective to the topic of wearable technology that kids and educators find intriguing!

Two thumbs up! Kids, parents, teachers, and librarians say that Elaine’s book and presentations inspire young people to wonder about inventing technology for a better world. 

Elain Kachala

BOOKS:

Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution, Orca Book Publishers, 2022, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich. Themes: Technology & Society / Wearable Computing / Inventions / Young Inventors / Robotics/ Responsible Design / STEM / STEAM / Human-Machine Evolution / Critical-thinking / Teamwork / Diversity & Inclusion.

A free teaching guide is available.

STUDENT PRESENTATIONS:

Grades 4-8

Do you wonder how wearable technology (the next wave of computing), changes us and society? 

Can innovation go too far? 

How do we design responsible technology to gain benefits and mitigate harm?

Are you interested in stories about inventors, including young inventors, and how they’re navigating the next tech frontier?

Curious about what it’s like to be a children’s author?

Elaine will cover these topics and more through an engaging, interactive, and tailored presentation.

Following a brief introduction about myself, I’ll draw from pre-reading questions in the Teacher’s Guide to activate students’ background knowledge and excite them about the subject of wearable technologies.

I’ll highlight what wearable technology is and how it works, with examples of how wearables  impact our lives and change the world.

I’ll introduce students to some of the experts in the book. They’ll meet inventors, engineers, scientists, and young people who see a problem and create technology to solve it. But the experts face a dilemma when their devices have unintended consequences; we’ll discuss this dilemma. 

I’ll briefly speak about what it’s like to be a nonfiction children’s author and to write this book.

I’ll use slides for visuals, and there will be a Q/A opportunity.

I’ll have bookmarks and a Get Brainstorming Activity (from the book) for handouts. 

Elaine’s happy to lead small or large groups. She’ll present to classes individually or grouped but asks that they’re grouped appropriately by grade level (i.e., 4-6; 7-8)

EDUCATORS:

Are you seeking a helpful STEM/STEAM and social studies resource for the revised science and technology curriculum? Superpower? and the accompanying Teacher’s Guide helps readers connect STEM/STEAM topics from school with the effects of science and tech on their lives and the world.

Presentation: CAUTION! Move Slow + Think Human: Helping Students Consider the Pros, Cons, and Ethics of Technology Design and Use.

Wearable computing is the next tech frontier that will change our lives. It’s a topic steeped in a fantastic mix of benefits, risks, and ethical problems. Drawing from Superpower? Elaine will explain how scientists, engineers, designers, and young inventors navigate with responsible design—an approach to complement the engineering and design process and human-centered design thinking. By highlighting controversial technologies and examples from the accompanying Guide, this session will show how to prompt students’ critical thinking about the pros, cons, and ethics of technology and why inventors are calling for a societal debate—let’s talk!

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

I use PowerPoint, so I need a projector, screen, and extension cord. Water would be great too! And lunch and coffee if I’m staying for the day. A microphone for larger groups, in the gym, or if the room acoustics are questionable.

Contact Elaine to book a visit:

    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: