Writers’ Union of Canada, CANSCAIP, Quebec Writers’ Federation, English Language Arts Network
Monique Polak is three-time winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, recently renamed the Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Her work has been nominated for several prizes including the Arthur Ellis Award, Best Juvenile or Crime Book and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.
Presentation rates: $250 per hour. Plus travel unless I am in Toronto area for other reasons. I come to Toronto several times a year to visit family and friends. I charge HST.
Monique Polak is the author of 32 books for young people – and she has two more books slated for publication! Monique was a long-time teacher at Marianopolis College in Montreal, where she taught, amongst other courses, Writing for Children and Print Journalism. Monique began her writing career as a reporter and her stories have been published in newspapers across Canada. A classic extrovert, Monique loves doing writing workshops with kids (and adults) of all ages. Monique’s mother was a Holocaust survivor who went to school with Anne Frank, and Monique has a special interest in Holocaust stories and the history of the Holocaust.
Monique has done writing workshops for students in Grade 1 all the way to university.
With her youngest audiences (Grades 1-3), Monique teaches basic story-telling skills, such as how to find a beginning, middle and end, and how to ensure that a story has drama. She also reads from her new picture book, The Brass Charm.
With older audiences (this includes students in Grades 4 and up, high school and college students), Monique shares writing tips she wishes someone had shared with her when she was an aspiring author. Monique also discusses the inspiration behind some of her stories. And of course, expect Monique – who love stories – to tell some stories. You can also expect writing exercises. Monique is especially interested in personal memory as a source of inspiration. One of her exercises is designed to use personal memory to find the story participants in her workshops most need to tell!
Monique can handle groups of any size! No special supplies needed – Monique’s only requirement is that students have paper and pen (or in the case of very young participants, crayons!).
SCBWI, CCBC Member. Twice nominated for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Prize; Red Maple Award Nominee (2023); Two-time participant of Children’s Book Week. $250 for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for full-day. Virtual visits range from $100 to $200.
Lori is the author of 11 books for youth. Her work ranges from picture book to middle grade to YA, and covers a variety of themes: family conflict, bullying, coming of age, identity, history and war. She taught English and Creative Writing for 27 years and is very comfortable speaking to groups of all ages. She loves an interactive session, where readers ask question and engage in creative activities. She has mentored many new writers and led creative writing workshops in various settings. Lori could present in French to students in French immersion.
Presentations by Age
Kindergarten to Grade 3: 30 – 40 minutes. Using My Granny Loves Hockey, Lori uses a fun interactive quiz about things women were and were not allowed to do 100 years ago. This leads to the story of Granny. Lori reads the book then asks kids to help identify some of the quirky details the illustrator chose to include. Kids can ask questions and Lori encourages them to talk to their own grandparents and older relatives about how life has changed since they were little.
Creative Writing Workshop for Students grades 7 and up: Lori leads 3 sessions (1 hour each) – one on character, one on setting, and one on symbolism. Each includes a variety of creative writing exercises to encourage young writers to use concrete detail to bring their stories to life. They work well as a set, but can be done individually as well.
Short Story Workshop for grades 7 and up: 1 hour. Using a YouTube video of “The Girl in the Purple Pants” from Deep Girls, Lori talks about the key ingredient of a great short story – that moment where it turns on a dime. She then works with students to map out a story of their own and encourages them to think about and plan that moment of epiphany or change.
War Theme Workshop for grades 7 and up: 1 to 1.5 hours. Using Lightning Lou, which is set in World War I, and The Ribbon Leaf, which is set in World War II, Lori talks about historical fiction and the process involved in writing it. Lori talks about research, weaving in fact and fiction, developing character in a historical work. She also shares stories and artifacts from her family’s own history that she used for inspiration. She encourages young writers to mine their own families’ histories for material. In a longer session, students can brainstorm and begin coming up with ideas for their own historical character. This workshop can also be done using either book on its own.
Telling a Story in Verse: 1 to 1.5 hours. Using excerpts from Yellow Mini, Lori conducts a poetry writing class where students relate the same event from multiple points of view, in verse. Students learn to pay attention to tone, diction, form, and rhythm in their creations. Students then read their work aloud to one another and offer critiques.
Lori is comfortable speaking to whole classes, or combined classes, but no group larger than 45. She loves speaking to adults as well. A projector is needed for PowerPoint; other than that, paper, pens, and pencils!
CANSCAIP and SCBWI member, two-time recipient of Canada Council of the Arts grants. Member of Quebec Writers’ Federation and selected mentee for Young Adult fiction in 2020.
Workshops are best for ages 9 to 17. $250.00 for one sixty-minute session. $450 for two sessions. $675 for three sessions and $900 for 4 sessions. + travel (50 cents per kilometer, round-trip for Lanaudière, Laurentides, Montreal, Laval, Mauricie regions.
Virtual Visits: $200 for one 60-minute session, $100 for each additional session on the same day, up to four sessions in one day.
Lea is an experienced English Language Arts teacher who loves to talk about books and writing. As a writer of books for striving readers, she is passionate about bringing accessible literature to all readers and second language learners. Lea believes anyone can be a writer and all it takes is the right tools, some hard work, and the right encouragement. She wants to bring the power of writing to all types of learners. She is experienced working with students will learning difficulties, and can offer flexible workshops to accommodate all learners. She provides graphic organizers and worksheets, including editable digital copies for learners using assistive technologies. She has also been known to bring tasty snacks!
Writing Workshop Topics for ages 9 to 17
Workshops are conducted in English, but Lea is comfortable speaking French to second language learners. She can answer questions/provide translation and communicate fluently in French. Participants who speak languages other than English or French are encouraged to teach Lea some new words!
All workshops use a combination of large and/or small group discussion, group activity/game, writing, revising, and sharing.
Writing Makes Sense: Showing vs. Telling
Lea will use a combination of discussion, group activity and writing to create strong sentences using sensory details.
Words for Humanity: Using Conflict to Write About Emotions
Based on the “Cards Against Humanity” or “Cards Against Maturity” game, with an age-appropriate and positive twist, we will create solutions to problems for our characters.
From Memory to Fiction
Based on the game “Clue,” students will use detective work to piece together memories to create a setting, a character and/or a conflict as a stepping stone for their own creative writing.
Dialogue that doesn’t drag: using dialogue to build character.
Using video clips of well-known characters, students will predict what/how characters will speak. We will use character charts, to create personalities and with them, a way to let characters speak that is dynamic and exciting.
Words, Words, Words: Beyond the Thesaurus.
Based on the game “Taboo,” and incorporating improvisation/acting students will explore their vocabulary by acting out adverbs, describing movements and using action words instead, to create a scene.
These workshops are ideal for groups between 10 and 20 participants. Lea prefers small settings for workshops such as a classroom, library or other space large enough to move around, but not so large that she cannot connect with each participant.
Tech requirements include a blackboard/whiteboard and a screen for the dialogue workshop with internet access, speakers, etc. Participants will require writing materials, including assistive technologies for students who use them in the classroom on a regular basis.
Writers’ Union Member (UNEQ). AAOF (Association des auteurs de l’Ontario Francophone). CCBC (Canadian Children’s Books Center). Fiction, short stories, picture books and illustrated biography of Louis Riel.
Louise is a member of the “Union des écrivains” (UNEQ).
Novels and first reading books, picture books and an illustrated biography of Louis Riel.
In-Person Visits: From 4 to 14 years $250 for 1 session, $400 for 2, $575 for 3 and 700$ for 4, + travel (50 cents per kilometer, round-trip from GSLR near Hawkesbury. [6 km] Lodging and meals if necessary are at the expense of the host organization.
Virtual Visits: $250, for one session, 20–60 minutes, $100 for each additional session on the same day.
A native of Montreal Louise Tondreau-Levert holds a certificate in childhood and youth literature from UQAM. For 10 years, she prepared and hosted “Storytime” at her local library. In October 1994, her text “Le grand lit de la petite Mimi” received the first prize in the literary competition of the magazine Lurelu. In November 1996 “Le lit à grimaces” was published by “Les 400 coups” and in 1997 it was among the finalists for the Mr. Christie prize. Since then, Louise has published several short stories as well as many books such as those of the series “Virevent le petit fantôme” for the editor “Le soleil de minuit”, as well as the series “Les bêtises” and “Drôle de boulot” at “Dominique et compagnie”
Workshops Louise is a flexible presenter. No two groups are ever the same and no two of her presentations are ever the same. She much prefers to interact with her audience than to give a dry presentation.
From the 2nd grade,to improve interest in the activity reading of one or two of the author’s texts is suggested before her visit.
For students from 10 to 14 years old the author suggests learning a bit of history with the novel “Le roman-vérité Louis Riel.” Others suggestions: Sharing the daily life of children in Western Canada when Louis Riel was a child and during his adolescence when he attended Montreal College, taking a look at the history of Western Canada from the buffalo hunt to the founding of the province of Manitoba.
For an overview of the Algonquin language check out Louise’s book, “Le secret de la lanterne” written in French and in Algonquin.
From 7 to 9 years old, the author reads one or two of the books in the series “Virevent le petit fantôme.” (5 books). She explains how the small ghost gets to meet children even if his mother does not agree. A documentary follows every short story. The subjects of the documentaries are bats, castles, storms, manatees, pigeons and peregrine falcons.
From 4 to 7 years old, the animation takes the form of storytelling with among others, the albums, “Museau et l’œuf,” “Les monstres du prince Louis,” and “Le lit à grimaces.”
6 to 10 years old, Une délicieuse compétition
The author gives the definition of the word “competition” and then lists a few synonyms. After reading the book, “une délicieuse compétition,” which is projected on the class screen, Louise asks: should we pronounce, bretzels or pretzels? Where does this bread come from? Are there any cake names in this album that seem strange to you? Do these names have any other meaning? Then, she offers a friendly match between schoolmates. The team that can remember the more names of breads and cakes mentioned in the story wins!
All the author’s books are projected on the «Interactive Board». She brings her computer and all necessary connections. One class at a time or a maximum of 35 participants.
Writer’s Union member. Member of the Children’s Writers & Illustrators of British Columbia Society; Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers; Society of Environmental Journalists; American Society of Journalists and Authors. Fellow of the Explorers Club; UK Royal Geographical Society: Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Isabelle is available for author visits, school and library presentations, and conferences.
In-person visit rates (45 minutes to 1 hour): $400 for one session: $550 for two; $700 for three: $850 for the full day (four sessions) plus GST. Travel fees (airfare and lodging) apply for in-person visits outside the Lower Mainland.
Virtual visit rates (30 minutes to 1 hour): $250-400 per session (plus GST)
Isabelle Groc is an award-winning writer, conservation photographer, documentary filmmaker, and children’s book author focusing on environmental science, wildlife conservation, endangered species and the relationships between people and the natural world.
Isabelle grew up in France and now lives in Vancouver. With degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats. Her stories and photographs have appeared in international media including National Geographic News, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Wildlife, New Scientist, and The Guardian. Isabelle has also written and directed over a dozen films on wildlife.
Her book Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection; has been selected as a 2022 Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book; and has won the 2022 American Society of Journalists and Authors Book Award in the Children’s Book Category. The book has also received a starred review from the American Library Association’s Booklist and highly recommended reviews from the Canadian Review of Materials and the School Library Journal.
Sea Otters: A Survival Story is the winner of the 2021 American Society of Journalists and Authors in the Children’s Book category; was on the 2021 Outstanding Science Trade Book List and was a 2021-2022 Red Cedar Book Award nominee.
Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat was a finalist for the 2021 Yellow Cedar Award.
Her documentary Toad People won a Wildscreen Panda Impact Award.
Isabelle loves sharing her passion for the natural world with audiences of all ages, and delivers unique presentations, supported by stunning visuals and film clips. Isabelle’s background as a writer, photojournalist and filmmaker greatly enhances her presentations as she shares personal stories from working in the field alongside conservationists and scientists to inspire and educate students. Her presentations are also relevant to adults who want to make a difference for the natural world.
Presentations (all grades)
Wildlife’s best friends: dogs working for conservation (all grades)
Based on Isabelle’s book Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, Isabelle shares the stories of brave canines working to protect wildlife around the world.
Act for the wild: Conservation close to home (all grades)
Wildlife conservation starts on our doorstep. You don’t have to travel to the most remote corners of the earth to engage with wildlife. Any step you can take to protect habitat and wildlife close to home makes a difference and helps create global impact.
Combining stories, photographs and short film clips, this talk presents the “how” and “why” of endangered species around the world, what people are doing to conserve them, and what children can do on their own and with their families to reduce their impact, engage with the wild, and take steps to protect habitat and wildlife close to home. The book draws from field stories and photographs from Isabelle’s book: Gone is Gone: Wildlife under Threat.
Sea otters: A survival story (all grades)
Hunted to near extinction for their fur during the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters are returning to their territories from California to Alaska, through dedicated conservation efforts. They symbolize the large impact — both positive and negative — that humans can have on wildlife. They now have also unleashed their great ecological powers and have become one of the best examples of a keystone species.
Based on Isabelle’s book, Sea Otters: A Survival Story, this engaging and visual presentation takes audiences on a tale of survival and transformation. Drawing from the author’s journey in sea otter country along the Pacific Coast over a period of ten years, the presentation explores the otters’ unique lifestyle, their remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction, and how they leave their mark (or pawprint) on the environment, in obvious and subtle ways.
British Columbia’s species at risk (all grades)
From burrowing owls to grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and American badgers, British Columbia is home to more wild plant and animal species than any other province in Canada and is also one of the last holdouts for many large mammals that once roamed much of North America. Sadly many of these species are at risk. Learn about BC’s species at risk through this compelling presentation supported by Isabelle’s photographs, films, and field anecdotes, working alongside conservation groups and scientists to obtain better protection for some of Canada’s most precious species.
Wildlife’s best friends: dogs working for conservation (all grades)
Based on Isabelle’s upcoming book to be published in the fall 2021, Isabelle shares the stories of brave canines working to protect wildlife around the world.
Storytelling programs (secondary and adults)
The three programs below appeal to young people and adults who are interested in and/or consider careers in the environmental sector, journalism, photojournalism, documentary filmmaking, and conservation photography.
From whales to toads: visual storytelling for conservation (Grades 9-12)
Bringing attention to little-known, elusive, under-appreciated species that people do not often see in the wild can be a challenge for environmental groups or anyone interested in making a difference for wildlife conservation. Visual storytelling tools can help address this disconnect and renew public commitment for those species that are often overshadowed by more charismatic members of the natural world. Drawing from examples of impact-driven storytelling campaigns, Isabelle’s presentation explores how photography, filmmaking, art, and visual branding combined with science-based information can all work together to give new voices to endangered species, inviting the public to experience the natural world in a powerful and intimate way and take action for wildlife conservation.
Life of a Conservation Photographer: Stories from the field (grades 9 to 12)
From photographing mountain caribou from a helicopter to working with scientists capturing narwhal in the Arctic’s freezing waters, Isabelle has many field stories and photographs to share. In this presentation she highlights her work with scientists in the field, how she develops trust, builds story angles, adapts to different working environments, and how her photography and stories can help build public exposure on important science and conservation work.
Story and Photographs By…: The Craft of Storytelling (grades 9 to 12)
In this program, Isabelle shares her experience as an environmental photojournalist and how she combines photography and words to tell conservation stories. She shares her creative process and discusses best practices for crafting pitches, finding the right audience, and taking a project from concept to publication.
In-person visit equipment: microphone for larger group, table, screen and projector for PowerPoint presentation, speakers for video and audio clips, and adaptors necessary to work with Isabelle’s MacBook. Vegetarian lunch for full-day visit; water Maximum number of students per session: flexible. And varies with program.
Virtual visits: conducted via Zoom or other preferred online platform; support personnel (to moderate and manage technical aspects)
Writers’ Union Member. Fiction and nonfiction writer. Heather’s rates are $250 for one session, $450 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four/full day (may be shared with a neighbouring school). $150 for a virtual visit. HST applies. No travel costs within Toronto. 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. The critically acclaimed middle-grade WHAT IF SOLDIERS FOUGHT WITH PILLOWS? TRUE STORIES OF IMAGINATION AND DETERMINATION (available in French as Et si les soldats se battaient avec des oreillers ?) was published in 2020 and three more books will be available in 2022:
I CAN’T DO WHAT? STRANGE LAWS AND RULES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
SECRET SCHOOLS: TRUE STORIES OF THE DETERMINATION TO LEARN
THE PRISONER AND THE WRITER, the story of wrongly imprisoned Captain Alfred Dreyfus and author Emile Zola’s fight to have him set free.
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.
The Writers Union member. Picture book. All ages. $350 for 1 session (60 min) $ 600 for 2 sessions of 60 minutes (1/2 day)$ 400 for 2 x 30 minute sessions (great for JK to 1). Full day (4 sessions) $ 1000. + kilometrage. Can present in English and French.
Nadia is fully booked for the remainder of the 2021/2022 school season. She is currently scheduling for the 2022/2023 school year.
Malaika’s Costume (2016) and Malaika’s Winter Carnival (2017).
Writers’ Union Member. French/English author. Picture books. Great for immersion students! K to 6.
For the 2021-2022 school year, Mireille is only doing virtual visits!
Mireille’s rate for a 45/50-minute virtual presentation is $250 for 1-5 classes, $350 for 6-10 classes and $450 for 11+ classes. HST extra. Please note that presentations may not be recorded for later use or shared.
Mireille has a picture book ideal for Remembrance Day with students in grades 1-6! Contact her about presenting “Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War” at your school or event! (available in English or French)
Mireille can present “Treasure”/ “Trésor”, “The Branch” / “Ma branche préférée” and “Fatima and the Clementine Thieves/Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines” ans “La magie de Casse-Noisette”/ “Nutcracker Night” in either English or French or both.
Mireille also has many books that are published in French only and range in genre – from picture books, to chapter books and non-fiction. She enjoys presenting to immersion students and offers lively presentations that are tailored to the language level of the students.
School presentations will include a reading of the selected book, an activity based on the theme of the book and a discussion with the author about her craft.
Available in French or English/French (bilingual) Mireille is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and so schools wishing to invite her may be eligible for a travel and fee subsidy to off-set the cost of her visit.
Here is an example of her presentations by grade:
JK to 1: two 30-minute sessions for the price of one full session using her book “Quel fouillis!” (includes a tool-related activity and a song) or “Une Bestiole à l’école” (includes an insect-related activity and a song).
Grade 1 to 4: The majority of Mireille’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes: Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected.
Themes available: Remembrance Day/World War I/ World War II/Military Mascot (Sergeant Billy), Environmental conservation (Treasure/Trésor), Environment/Weather (The Branch/Ma branche préférée), Nature/Animals (Tellement Sauvage), Travel/Geography (Charlotte partout), Non-Violent Conflict Resolution (Fatima), Anagrams/Word Play (Voilier d’Olivier/Quand les zéros), Food/Cooking (Salade de César), Sports (Charlotte Olympique)…
Grade 4 to 6: 45 to 60 minutes. Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Books available for this level are “Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines” (advanced picture book) and the middle-grade chapter books from Les aventures de Viviane et Simon series.