Galat, Joan Marie (Edmonton, Alberta)

Special Offer: Arrange for a second school to book two or more sessions and get a free audio book: Mortimer: Rat Race to Space.

Writers’ Union of Canada member. Fiction | Nonfiction | STEM | STEAM |K-12 | family audience |professional development | Selection of awards: Crystal Kite for Canada, Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, Skipping Stones (2X), Writer’s Guild of Alberta children’s lit award (2X), and Moonbeam (3X). Shortlisted: Rocky Mountain, Red Cedar, Hackmatack, and others. Recipient of the Martha Weston Grant awarded annually to one worldwide member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Virtual visits: $250/one session (up to 50 minutes), $225/each additional same-day session (plus GST).

In-person: $500/two sessions, $750/three, $950/four plus GST and travel expenses to be negotiated. (Can be shared among schools.) Joan is happy to travel! Reach out to see if she already has plans to visit your area.

Joan Marie Galat began her writing career at age 12 when she was hired as a newspaper columnist by an editor who may not have known her age. Now with 25+ books, a bestseller, and translations in seven languages (that she can’t read), Joan delivers lively presentations to get students excited about books and STEM. Her topics include sky science (outer space and astronomy fun!), engineering, animals, the environment, and activism. Nominated for the 2024 Red Cedar, Mortimer: Rat Race to Space is about a lab rat on the International Space Station who collects video evidence (destined for YouTube) to prove his species should be the first to settle on Mars. A versatile and experienced presenter, Joan has traveled across Canada and internationally to promote literacy and STEM. She even spoke at a United Nations event! Joan delivers the message—there’s a book for every child.

STEM-THEMED LITERACY BUILDING PRESENTATIONS

Joan’s focus on STEM and STEAM subjects offers curriculum bonuses that encourage students to explore their world. Audiences find it hard to resist the lure of constellations, exploding stars, black holes, and the myths and legends early peoples and ancient cultures first told to explain the night sky.

Joan makes it easier for students to picture themselves as writers when she shares her story of becoming a paid columnist at age 12. Interest in writing builds when Joan reveals how she “literally” launches her books in rockets! By the end of Joan’s talks, students will appreciate the idea that writing can be fun. They’ll know how to find the North Star and a few constellations, and feel motivated to explore their passions through books.

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Pictures in the Sky
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. She shows how to find the North Star and constellations, and leads a game called “Picture Book: Fact or Fiction.” Joan shares the most important point to remember to become a better writer and juggles star-shaped beanbags to reinforce the importance of reading (by explaining she learned to juggle from a book).

Grades 3 to 6: A Rat, A Rocket, and Science 
Discover how scientific facts and imagination mix, and what happens when a journal-keeping lab rat starts thinking about living on Mars. We’ll talk about research, misinformation, and correcting mistakes—both in writing and friendships—in this lively and informative session based on Mortimer: Rat Race to Space.

Grades 3 to 6: Explore the Night
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. Students discover what happens when stars explode and black holes form, as well as how to find constellations and the North Star. Joan inspires future authors with her story of becoming published at age of 12. She offers writing and editing tips and reinforces literacy by juggling star-shaped beanbags, while making sure kids understand she learned to juggle from reading a nonfiction book.

Grades 3-6: Solve This!

From bubble wrap to bridges, the miracles of engineering are all around you. Find out how engineers dream up new ideas and bring them to life. Discover what happens when things go wrong! Get ready to help tackle some rather unusual problems, and since engineers must record their results, expect writing tips, too. Based on Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You (National Geographic Kids).

Grades 4 to 12: The Northern Lights and Dark Matters
Early cultures looked up at the same night sky we see today, seeking connections between events on Earth and what occurred overhead. They told stories to explain the northern lights and other night sky phenomena. Discover the science and legends of the lights and why dark skies are important in this STEM-themed presentation based on Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora and Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.

Grades 6-12: Make Your Mark, Make a Difference
Joan invites students to consider their wishes for the world and how they can spark change. She encourages them to read fact-based books, base opinions on scientific evidence, and master writing skills to better communicate their concerns. Based on issues raised in Joan’s books and her 2024 release—Make Your Mark, Make a Difference—A Kid’s Guide to Standing Up For People, Animals, and the Planet (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster/Beyond Words).

Grades 7 to 9: Password to Publishing
Launched with celestial storytelling, this junior high presentation shares how Joan became a paid writer in grade eight. Using personal stories to show how she built her skills, Joan shows how perseverance benefits anyone pursuing a dream. This session includes tips on writing, revising, and finding writing topics. Hosts may extend presentation benefits by accessing writing resources on Joan’s website.

Grades 10 to 12: Write Your Own Future
Joan discusses communication as a career, noting that most writing in adult life is fact-based. She shares her experience writing in different styles including speechwriting, websites, and radio commercials. Joan delivers the message that good writing is essential in all career fields, particularly with changing technology and competitive environments.

FAMILY LITERACY EVENTS

Dot to Dot in the Sky
Joan introduces the wonders of the night sky using storytelling to share ancient myths, interspersed with astronomy facts. Her enthusiasm for stargazing is contagious and leaves attendees ready to locate constellations and explore the mysteries of the night sky on their own. Dot to Dot in the Sky can be offered as an evening star gazing session.

WRITING AND STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS

K-2: Finding Facts and Telling Stories
Oral storytelling is the first step to story writing. Students discover how to express what they already know, as everyone contributes in this fun group-writing effort.

Grades 3-7: Write Like a Rat
Mortimer, a journal-keeping lab rat on the International Space Station is determined to prove his species is best suited to colonizing Mars. He records the results in his journal, uses a secret code, and makes videos for YouTube. Discover how you too can write like a rat. Based on Mortimer: Rat Race to Space (DCB).

Grades 3-7: Stories in the Stars
If the thought of writing makes your class groan, book this workshop to show how developing a story need not feel like a baffling task. Students enter the room with a blank piece of paper and leave with the first draft of an exciting space-themed story.

Grades 8-12: WordPlay for Teens
Teens explore and grow their abilities through a variety of snappy creative writing activities that show how fun it can be to play with words. Expect creativity warm-ups, idea-triggers, self-editing tips, and time to write the first draft of an unforgettable story.

  • Additional topics upon request. If you’d like something different than described here, let Joan know. She is happy to work with you!

BOOKING DETAILS

In-person: up to 75 students. One location for day, preferably library.

Virtual: up to three classroom logins.

Workshops: one class/session.

In-person: Joan requires a laptop with PowerPoint, external speakers, table to display books, and glass of water. If possible, a remote control is also helpful. Please provide a meal if hosting over lunchtime. If you prefer a no-tech presentation, no problem—just let Joan know in advance.

Virtual: Joan can present using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, or other platforms you may suggest, and schedule all time zones.

Presentation content/delivery is modified to match the grades present. A flexible speaker, Joan can accommodate most requests, but does recommend these common groupings K-2, 3-6, 7-9, 9-12.

Joan Marie Galat offers query letter and manuscript critiques, freelance editing, and consultations on getting published

Contact Joan Marie to book a visit:

    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:

      Spencer, Kim. Vancouver, BC

      Bestselling, award-winning debut novel Weird Rules to Follow (Orca Book Publishing). Under contract with Orca Book Publishing for a second book. Essay, I’ll Have What He’s Having (Filling Station magazine) was a finalist for the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association.

      In-Person fee: $300 for 1 session. $450 for 2. $675 for 3. $850 for full day/keynote/large groups. Plus a travel fee of  70 cents/ km if driving outside of Vancouver.  Virtual visit fee is$200.

      Awards:

      • IODE Violet Downey Book Award 2023 Winner
      • USBBY Outstanding International Books List | 2023 Commended
      • Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee Best Children’s
      • Books of the Year| 2023 | Commended

      CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens | 2023 | Commended

      Kim Spencer completed The Writers Studio program at Simon Fraser University in 2020, where she focused on creative non-fiction. She is an experienced public speaker who is animated and enthusiastic and cares deeply about positive representation for BIPOC students. She is from the Ts’msyen Nation in northern British Columbia and resides in Vancouver.

      Weird Rules To Follow Kim Spencer

      Presentations:

      Kim is an experienced public speaker, personable, and easily able to connect with and engage young audiences. Kim is flexible and can modify presentations to suit the audience’s needs.

      Dual Worlds

      Grade 5-12

      Explore and learn from an inside look at Kim Spencer’s novel Weird Rules To Follow. Discuss challenging themes of identity, systems of inequality, microaggressions, and prejudice from the standpoint of an often-overlooked racialized Indigenous child. And how we can be more comfortable approaching weightier topics with empathy and care.     

      Anti-Bullying 

      Works best for Grade 5+

      Interactive conversation. Why we must engage in dialogue around bullying. And read two stories from Kim’s debut novel, Weird Rules to Follow, that speak directly to bullying experiences and the impacts of those lived experiences. 

      Orange Shirt Day

      Works best for Grade 5+, but also suitable for an assembly

      A brief overview of the history and impacts of the Indian Residential School system in Canada. Followed by a reading and audience discussion of three of Kim’s stories from her debut novel, Weird Rules to Follow, which speak directly to Indian Residential Schools. 

      Writing Process Workshop

      Grade 5-12

      Kim shares her personal writing experience of becoming a writer. Students will learn tips on finding their writing voice through fun and engaging exercises and using images and music as a memory aid. And how creating/finding a safe space to express oneself is key.

      Contact Kim 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: