Vitalis, Jessica (Waterloo, ON)

Writer’s Union, CANSCAIP, SCBWI. 45 to 60-minute virtual session: $250. In person: $300 (1 session—available in Waterloo region only), $600 (2 sessions), $850 (3 sessions), $1000 (4 sessions). Sessions may be split between nearby schools on the same day. Prices quoted do not include travel costs. (Travel costs waived in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph.)

JESSICA VITALIS is a Columbia MBA-wielding author and presenter on a mission to write and share entertaining and thought-provoking literature. She founded Magic in the Middle, a series of free monthly recorded book talks, to help educators introduce young readers to new fantasy books. She was recently named a 2021 Canada Council of the Arts Grant Recipient and featured on CBCs Here and Now. The Wolf’s Curse and The Rabbit’s Gift are standalone companion novels published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins. Two more books, Coyote Queen, and an unnamed standalone, will follow in 2023 and 2024.

When she’s not writing, Jessica’s favorite activity is talking about writing; her presentations are best suited for students grades four and up (and adults of any age). She is also available for festivals, conferences, and keynote speeches and can speak to issues ranging from SEL topics to grief and healing.

Offerings include (but are not limited to):

The Story Behind the Story: This interactive presentation includes the inspiration behind Jessica’s books, a short reading, stories of tenacity and perseverance related to her unusual childhood and 13-year journey to publication, and a peek at the revision process (including the most important tool in her writer’s toolbox!). Q&A included. For small or large groups (grades 4+).

Stand Out From The Crowd: Creating Compelling Characters: In this hands-on writing workshop, participants look at what makes characters come alive in readers’ hearts and minds and learn how to develop memorable characters using the author’s secret technique to show and not tell. For smaller groups (ages 10 to adult).

The Building Blocks of Story: Using the building blocks of story, we’ll work through a flexible pre-writing strategy that provides authors with a framework to draft a novel without bogging them down or making the drafting process feel too prescriptive. For small or large groups (adults only).

“Jessica’s presentation was so inspiring and energizing for our fifth and sixth grade students! Her stories––both on and off the page––are magnetic. A couple of our more reluctant learners sought Jessica out after the talk to connect with her and have their photos takes. What a wonderful celebration of reading and writing!” -Elementary school librarian

“Jessica did a beautiful presentation for my 7th grade reading classes. My students were engrossed! At the end, she answered all of their questions about being an author, the writing process, and everything in between! It was such a fantastic experience for my students!” – 7th Grade Teacher

“[Jessica’s] presentation totally changed my life! It was so incredibly helpful and exactly what I needed for my writing.” -Workshop attendee

Maximum group size: No limit on large group offerings. Smaller group offerings are better suited for individual school classes or conference breakout sessions.

Venues: Flexible as long as a microphone and projection screen are available.

Tech Requirements: Microphone (when necessary), digital projector and screen (most presentations are accompanied by PowerPoint slides; Jessica can either hook up with her laptop or bring in a flash drive), water, and lunch (for full day visits).

Jessica looks forward to connecting with you!

Contact Jessica to book a visit:

    West Lewis, Amanda (Perth, ON)

    Member of The Writer’s Union of Canada; Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI); Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers (Canscaip); Access Copyright; MASC Artist/Instructor

    Presentations:

    One Session, In-Person: 50 minutes $395 + HST

    One Session, Virtual: 50-minute session: $265 + HST
    Half-day, In-Person or Virtual: Two 50-minute sessions $545 + HST
    Full-day, In-Person or Virtual: Three 50-minute sessions $670 + HST

    Workshops:

    One Session (Virtual only): 50-minute session: $265 + HST

    Half-Day, In-Person or Virtual: Two 60-minute sessions, or a two-hour session: $ 365 + HST

    Full-Day, In-Person or Virtual: Three 60-minute sessions: $525 +HST

    Travel $.50/km roundtrip outside of GTA and Eastern Ontario

    AMANDA WEST LEWIS is a writer, theatre creator, calligrapher and experienced teaching artist who is passionately interested in exploring the world from the perspective of young people. Her most recent book These Are Not the Words, is a semi-autobiographical novel that uses prose, poetry, jazz and Shakespeare to confront addiction and mental health issues in the lower East side of Manhattan, 1963. Previous books include award nominated September 17 (about the City of Benares disaster, 1940) and The Pact (based on the true-life story of a young boy in Nazi Germany). Amanda has published eight books for young readers and was the Founder and Artistic Director of the Ottawa Children’s Theatre. She weaves her backgrounds in theatre and calligraphy to teach and present to students of all ages.

    All of Amanda’s presentations and workshops are adapted to the age of the group. They are geared to each class’s needs and curriculum interests. She loves to work with you to support what you are doing. Please inquire.

    Examples of Presentations/Readings:

    All presentations include a Q & A

    Maximum audience size 300

    (Grades 5 – 12)

    “Jazz and The Tempest” explores the creation of These Are Not the Words, a novel in poetry and prose. Working with examples from the novel, we’ll explore how sound and rhythm can reflect character and pace. As we dig deeper, we will look at how the novel’s difficult themes of addiction and mental health were presented through poetry.

    “Conflict From Both Sides” tells the story behind the story, revealing the true events and people that inspired the novels September 17 and The Pact. We’ll look at images of children from England and Germany during World War 2, to understand the challenges they faced during wartime. The focus is on an empathetic understanding from a child’s perspective view and touches on propaganda, indoctrination, racism, and survival.

    Equipment And Other Requirements: A projector compatible with a MAC or a computer for a memory stick.

    Examples of Workshops

    Adapted to the age of the students

    Maximum 30 students

    Grades 1- 4 & 5 – 12

    “Thrum, Hiss, Warble”

    Writing poetry lets you play with language, and rediscover joy in the sound, rhythm, look and meaning of words. It’s the foundation for any writer to learn their craft, no matter what genre they work in. In this workshop we’ll play with the elasticity of language and discover a unique and individual writer’s voice. 

    “What’s Beyond?”

    Drawing on improvisation and drama games, this workshop will explore character motivation, points of view and dialogue as we discover the hidden meaning beyond the words. Conveying the space between words –– the pauses in life –– is an essential skill for any writer.

    Grades 5 – 12

    “Who’s in the Picture?”

    A picture can tell you a lot about a person. But it’s the writer who discovers who that person is and how they fit into a story. This workshop will use photographs and pictures to get participants creating characters and inventing unique and vibrant stories. You’ll dig deeper with some role-play and dialogue writing. But beware – characters often take on lives of their own and drag you off on unexpected adventures!

    “Illuminated Letters”

    The workshop helps to develop a love and passion for letters, combining writing skills with artwork.  We start by writing simple poems based on participants’ names. Students are then shown how to draw Versal letters in the style of 15th Century Books of Hours. These illuminated letters will be used to create a uniquely decorated poem.

    Workshop Equipment: Writing implements. Chalkboard or Flip Chart. In addition: “What’s Beyond” requires a bit of space to move. “Illuminated Letters” requires paper and pencil. Amanda will bring all additional supplies.

    Contact Amanda to book a visit:

      Alladin, Erin (Parry Sound region, ON)

      Writer’s Union member. $250+HST for one 45-60-minute session, $450+HST for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). If travel is over 50 km, a CRA-based travel rate applies of $0.61 per kilometer, round trip.

      Virtual Visits: $150 for one 45-60 minute session. $125+HST for each additional visit the same day.

      Erin is an author, editor, and educator with a particular passion for outdoor education. She loves to craft energetic author presentations that bring together her years of experience creating children’s programming, teaching outdoor living skills, training adults in leadership and drama, and running gardening workshops. She published her first picture book, Outside, You Notice, after a decade of working in the children’s publishing industry and can offer a rewarding peek behind the curtain of how books are written, illustrated, contracted, edited, produced, and promoted.

      To each presentation, Erin brings her experience and training in engaging groups of every kind. She uses songs, stretches, responsive activities, and games, all focused around a central theme, to keep even the wiggliest audience learning with attention and glee. She also loves to give students the opportunity to share what they themselves have noticed outside. She can provide worksheets to teachers and leaders who want to prep their group a week or so before the presentation to go out and make some observations to share. Physical show-and-tell (e.g. produce from the garden, a cool rock, an old nest, etc.) is welcome.

      Book sales can be organized in advance. Erin will offer ordering instructions upon request.

      The following presentation frameworks can be adapted to meet an audience’s needs:

      Born Naturalists: Ideal for the youngest audiences. In a presentation full of movement, songs, and activities, Erin celebrates kids’ ability to learn about nature simply by paying attention with their own senses. Throughout the presentation, Erin invites students to share their own experiences of spending time outside and noticing interesting things. During an interactive reading of Outside, You Notice, Erin uses props to illustrate a number of the nature facts the book contains.

      Curriculum connections: the five senses; pollinators; the needs of living things; plant life cycles; mindfulness; healthy, active movement

      Notice, Wonder, Write: Ideal for grades 2 and up. In this workshop, Erin takes the audience through the process of transforming Outside, You Notice from idea to book. An interactive book reading is included, if desired. Erin then models the writing of a nonfiction paragraph using her own sensory observations paired with research. A shared writing activity follows, and worksheets are available for optional independent writing later.

      With communication beforehand, this presentation can tie in to a curriculum topic your class is currently studying.

      Custom Nature Workshop: Please contact Erin to discuss specifics if you are looking for a custom outdoor education experience centered around seed starting, a nature walk, gardening, or plant identification.

      Group Sizes:
      Erin’s Born Naturalists presentation can be conducted for any group size, but for an emphasis on discussion and student sharing, one class is ideal. For Notice, Wonder, Write workshops and custom nature workshops, maximum 35.

      Setup:
      For virtual visits, Erin prefers a setup that allows her to see all participants, since she has designed many activities to let them give responses through actions. For discussion periods, a teacher/leader should be prepared to choose which participant will speak next and to manage the mute/unmute button.

      For in-person visits, Erin requires water and a chair or stool to be available. Erin lives with chronic fatigue syndrome and, while she will be energetic and on her feet throughout most of the presentation, she will need the option to sit, particularly during any waiting periods between presentations. For Notice, Wonder, Write workshops, chart paper, a whiteboard, or similar is needed. For group sizes over 35 in a gym or auditorium, a microphone and projector are preferred (Erin can bring her own laptop if it can connect to the school’s projector, or she can bring a PDF of her slides on a USB stick)

      If outdoor space is available, it can be rewarding to conduct the Born Naturalists presentation outside (limit to 35 participants).  

      Contact Erin to book a visit:

        McGrath, Jennifer (Hillsborough, New Brunswick)

        National award-winning author of middle grade novels and picture books.

        Winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Prize, the Alice Kitts Memorial Award for Excellence in Children’s Writing, and the Hackmatack Award.  Shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award, the Diamond Willow Award, and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award.

        Member of The Writer’s Union of Canada (TWUC), the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), and the Writers Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB). English presentations and workshops for Grades K-5; all ages and grades available upon request. Also available for PD sessions and adult workshops.

        Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST

        In-person rates $275 plus HST per one 45-minute session OR $1000 plus HST for four sessions (full day) PLUS travel from Moncton, New Brunswick

        PLEASE NOTE: Jennifer has no in-person Ontario visits planned at this time but is open to proposals if travel and accommodations can be provided.

        A dynamic presenter and workshop leader, Jennifer is known for her engaging storytelling style. Her books are popular with avid and reluctant readers alike, and have been included in classroom reading programs, literacy initiatives and book clubs across the country.  Jennifer received her B.A. (Honours English Literature) from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia before going on to earn her M.A. in English Literature with a Directed Study in Children’s Literature from the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia.

        *Author presentations include:

        Grades K-3

        • Pugs Cause Traffic Jams – Take a romp through a dog-loving neighbourhood of quirky canines and their humans. An interactive reading and presentation of the hilarious picture book, Pugs Cause Traffic Jams (words by Jennifer McGrath, pictures by Kathryn Durst, published by Kids Can Press). Includes fun activities and printables.
        • The Snows Knows  – Who lives in the winter woods? The snow knows! Discover a world of wildlife in this gentle, seek-and-find storybook . An interactive reading and presentation of the awarding picture book, The Snow Knows (words by Jennifer McGrath, pictures by Josée Bisaillon. Published by Nimbus Publishing).
        • The Joob-Joob Jungle (*In-person only) – take a safari into the jungle of your imagination in this dynamic poetry presentation and interactive performance, featuring candy jungles, magic carpets and dragons!
        • Halloween Moon: Petrifying Poetry and Terrifying Tongue-Twisters – Join Jennifer for a treat-or-treat bag full of Halloween fun and rhymes.
        • Gadzooks the Christmas Goose – a holiday-themed reading and presentation about a wayward goose and a grumpy grandpa.

        Grades 3-5 (and up)

        • Chocolate River Rescue What would YOU do if you were stranded on an ice floe, being swept down-river toward the sea?  Join Jennifer for the story behind the story of the award-winning middle grade adventure novel, Chocolate River Rescue…and learn the surprising secrets of the real ‘Chocolate River.’ Themes and curriculum tie-ins include resourcefulness, friendship, teamwork, outdoor skills, geography, social studies, science and nature.
        • White Cave Escape The friends from Chocolate River Rescue return in this follow-up wilderness adventure. Learn about the unique ‘white rock hills’ in New Brunswick. We’ll discuss wilderness survival skills, sinkholes, caves, abandoned quarries and…forest fires! Curriculum tie-ins include: geology, science and nature, environment studies, environmental stewardship, wildlife, resourcefulness, friendship, outdoor skills.

        * Other workshops may be available. Please email the author to discuss your needs.

        Contact Jennifer McGrath:

          Baird Warren, Jane (Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec)

          Jane Warren

          Writers’ Union Member. Also SCBWI, CANSCAIP, TWUC, CAA, QWF.

          Rates: $150 for one classroom session (grades 4-8), $350 for half-day workshop (grades 9-12, CEGEP). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km. For Ontario, $0.50/km if outside Toronto. Book Club visit fee $150

          Travel from Toronto (though author lives in Quebec). All activities can be offered online.

          Located in Quebec, Jane is a former teacher, personal trainer and coach with BPE, BEd and an MFA in Creative Writing. She’s published short fiction and poetry and has been featured on CBC radio. Her debut children’s novel HOW TO BE A GOLDFISH deals with themes of family, relationships and bullying can expand to offer a gentle introduction to discussions about alternative families, homosexuality, feminism, forced adoptions and social justice. (Grades 4-7)

          How to be a goldfish by Jane Baird Warren

          Writing workshops

          Grades 4-8

          No Shaggy Dogs Here! A fun, hands-on workshop where students learn that a good story is not just a collection of events; characters matter! Working together we will develop a collective story outline. Students choose and develop their own protagonist then, armed with our story roadmap, they are free to navigate as their imaginations allow. Suitable for a class.

          Grades 9-12 (and CEGEP)

          Workshops are geared to the writer wanting to hone their craft and who may be considering continuing in the field of creative writing either at university or independently. These half-day workshops focus on the student’s own writing and work best when limited in size (10-15 participants).

          Book Club: Grades 4-7

          Jane is available for student book clubs/ classrooms wanting to discuss HOW TO BE A GOLDFISH. Discussions can follow the Study Guide (Scholastic Canada) or can be adapted as needed.

          Contact Jane for a visit:

            Macaulay, Regan W. H. (Toronto, ON)

            Member of the Writer’s Union, CANSCAIP, Storylines Trust, SCBWI, IAAMB, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. Multi-awards, including Literary Classics Book Awards (Silver), Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, Canada Book Awards, Finalist for Best Book Awards, Wishing Shelf Book Awards for my 8 picture books so far. Ages 5 – 8/Kindergarten – Grade 3.

            $200 for one in-person reading, Q&A, and prepared presentation, plus travel ($15 within Toronto, cost of return ticket on a case-by-case basis for outside of Toronto within southern Ontario—in-person visits will depend on ease of travel to the location). All activity PDFs and book order forms are included and emailed in advance of the scheduled visit.

            $150 for one virtual reading, Q&A, and prepared presentation. All activity PDFs and book order forms are included and emailed in advance of the scheduled visit.

            Regan has been a published children’s book author since 2015, and has been doing in person class presentations as her schedule has permitted since 2018. In 2020, she pivoted to virtual presentations. Because of her commitment to writing, her canine and feline massage therapy business, and marketing her three businesses, she is only available for 1-2 class presentations in one day. She is now also expanding to include more school and library visits.

            Presentations according to book and Grades:

            Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far (Grades 2 & 3): Through the eyes of one Red-eared Slider turtle, this story explains why pet turtles should never be impulse purchases, and why they should not be released into the wild.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes discussion/comparison of portions of the story (i.e. What does the Painted turtle mean when she says the wrong kind of animal in the wrong place can throw everything off?); optional exercise—dividing into groups to make lists of what was learned from the book, and questions they still have; basic facts about Red-eared Slider turtles; Red-eared Slider key features; turtles you might find in pet stores; turtles native to Ontario; map of Red-eared Slider distribution; map showing where they have “invaded” Ontario; pet turtle set up equipment; what a pet Red-eared Slider needs to be happy & healthy in your home; pet turtle foods and “human foods” that they can and cannot eat; approximate (and simple) budget for keeping a pet turtle (to discourage impulse buying or adopting); reasons people sometimes give up their pet turtles and what they should do; what is a herpetologist?; optional vocabulary and activities (make a poster, make a diorama, raising awareness certificate).

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: four colouring pages, a maze, picture drawing. The length of this presentation can be adjusted to best suit your class, whether you need to fill an hour or half an hour.

            Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese (Gr. K, 1 & 2): This story is about a Burmese cat whose creative imagination games take her on wonderful adventures. 

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes a little bit of background on the origins of the Burmese cat; examples of Beverlee’s imagination games; then the kids get a chance to reimagine different animals!

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: five colouring pages, a story writing page, drawing pages, and a maze. The approximate length of the reading, Q&A, and presentation is 20-30 minutes.

            Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast (Gr. K, 1 & 2): This story is about an odd, red, round-shaped mischievous creature living at Riverdale Farm in Toronto, who learns the error of his mischievous ways when he accidentally hatches a baby chick.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes some background information about Riverdale Farm (in Toronto, where the story is set); short presentations on some of the farm animals present in the story.

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: three colouring pages, maze, drawing page, make a poster, and parts of a chicken. The approximate length of the reading, Q&A, and presentation is 30 minutes.

            Libby the Lobivia Jajoiana (Gr. 2 & 3): This story is about a cactus plant who learns that what makes her different also makes her very special.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes information and background on Libby’s (lobivia jajoiana cactus) and Violet’s (African Violets) native habitats; violets in space trivia; cactus uniqueness and traits (how they evolved); growing a cactus or violet at home. Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: three colouring pages, drawing pages, maze, and further to growing a cactus at home (full instructions through Cactus Caffeine’s YouTube channel). The approximate length of the reading, Q&A, and presentation is 30 minutes.

            Dog Band (Gr. 1 & 2): In this story, a newly formed band comprised of dogs ask their group of diverse friends—from dogs to frogs—what their favourite music genre is as they decide what kind of music they want the band to play.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes information on some of the real life versions of the main characters, along with some background on their (dog) breeds; information about types of musical instruments, including brass, percussion, strings, keyboards, and woodwinds. The presentation will develop to include different music genres in future.

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: five colouring pages, two drawing pages, maze, name the members of the band, and postcard. The approximate length of the reading, Q&A, and presentation is 30 minutes.

            Sloth the Lazy Dragon (Gr. K, 1 & 2): In this story, a brave little dwarf helps Sloth get in shape by teaching the dragon about nutrition and exercise.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes examples of healthy foods; examples of exercise (which can be turned into an interactive activity); which are the healthier food choices discussion.

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: make a poster, name some vegetables, name some fruit, circle healthy food choices, two colouring pages, two drawing pages, maze.

            Merry Myrrh the Christmas Bat (Gr. K, 1 & 2): In this story, Myrrh experiences the wonders of his first Christmas, as well as the kindness of the farm family that find him in their home.

            After the reading of the story, I have a keynote presentation that includes information about the little brown bat, including North American distribution map; information about white-nose syndrome (which adversely affects many bats); frequently asked questions about bats answered; why bats are so important to our ecosystem.

            Easy and fun activities included in the PDF I email in advance, along with book order forms: three colouring pages, parts of a bat sheet, maze, make a poster, and draw the four seasons. The approximate length of the reading, Q&A, and presentation is 30 minutes.

            Chloe the Unfeathered Parrot (Gr. 1, 2 & 3): This tale is based on a true story, and a true parrot, and the people at the Parrot Sanctuary who help this near-featherless parrot find her forever flock.

            For the moment, only the reading and Q&A option is available. A presentation on parrots is COMING SOON.

            I prefer groups of no more than two classes (of approximately 30 students per class). Any venue is fine (in-person) provided there is a projector and screen available. I have a MacBook Air M1 2020, or iPad Pro first generation with an HDMI adaptor for each. I can also provide the files on a USB thumb drive. If absolutely necessary, I do have an Epson projector, but I do not have a screen. PDFs of activities and book order forms will be sent by email in advance. It is up to you whether you prefer to pass these forms or activities on to students/parents by email, or print out and photocopy for your class.

            Contact Regan:

              Bailey, Jen Lynn (Ottawa, ON)

              Photo Credit: Sam Bond Photography

              Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Ontario College of Teachers, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Canada, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP). English language presentations and workshops for grades K-5; all ages on request.

              In-person rates (45-minute sessions): $250 for one, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (4 sessions). For kindergarten classes, Jen offers two 25-minute sessions for $250, or a discounted rate for one session if combined with a second session for an older group. A CRA-based travel rate of $0.61/km, round-trip, applies if location is more than 25 km from downtown Ottawa. Jen is willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius of Ottawa and is open to travelling further with additional food and accommodation charges. Virtual visit fees are $150 for one 45-minute session (or two 25-minute sessions for kindergarten students); $125 for each additional session the same day.

              Jen Lynn Bailey is a children’s author and certified Ontario elementary teacher whose debut picture book This is the Boat that Ben Built (illustrated by Maggie Zeng) was published in 2022 by Pajama Press. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science Studies from Carleton University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Martin Luther College. Previously Jen taught science and French in an elementary school and writing and editing in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. Now Jen works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada where she combines her love of science, education, and writing by supporting science and engineering promotion programs.

              Jen is an experienced teacher, workshop leader, and presenter who loves introducing kids to the animals of the northern river ecosystem through fun, interactive sessions. She also enjoys teaching about writing and about how picture books are made. She will gladly collaborate with teachers and/or librarians to customize visits to meet the children’s interests and the teachers’ curriculum requirements. Students and staff have the option to order personalized, signed books which will be delivered to their school. Jen will provide ordering instructions.

              Jen Lynn Bailey  the boat that ben built

              Here are some sample presentations, which each include an author intro and Q&A: 

              This is the Boat that Ben Built – Participatory Reading & Activities Age level: K – grade 1;Duration: two 25-minute sessions

              The first 25-minute session introduces kids to the northern river ecosystem in a fun participatory reading session of This is the Boat that Ben Built. Jen also discusses idea generation and the inspiration for the story. The second 25-minute session includes a generative alliteration activity and an animal size classification activity.

              Key concepts: ecology, species diversity, food webs, STEM, poetry

              Key themes: curiosity, natural world, exploration

              Explore a Book! Explore an Ecosystem! Age level: Grades 2-5; Duration: 45-60 minutes

              Kids will develop an explorer mindset toward 1) picture books and 2) the northern river ecosystem. Following a reading of This is the Boat that Ben Built, they will discover how the author and illustrator work together to create a picture book, brainstorm other living and non-living parts of a river ecosystem, and add their own living thing to the story.

              Key concepts: ecology, species diversity, food webs, STEM, picture book creation, writing process, cumulative stories, science

              Key themes: curiosity, natural world, exploration

              Levels: primary, junior, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5

              Writer’s Workshop Age level: K – grade 5; Duration: 45-60 minutes (shorter for kindergarten)

              Using This is the Boat that Ben Built, Jen will describe poetic techniques and explore word choices that make compelling, rhythmic stories. Includes generative writing and sharing time.

              If you are interested in writing workshops for students in grades 6 – 8, secondary school, or college, or in workshops for adults, please contact Jen about your group’s needs.

              Library Storytime Age level: preschool – grade 1; duration 30-45 minutes

              Following a participatory reading of This is the Boat that Ben Built, Jen will lead kids in a simple craft about the animals in the northern river ecosystem. Digital templates will be provided in advance; craft supplies to be provided by the library.

              All venues; library or classroom preferred.

              General Equipment needs: For in-person visits, laptop with PowerPoint or Google Slides (can bring own laptop if it can be connected to school projector, otherwise will bring USB stick), digital projector and screen for presentation, microphone if space larger than classroom, chair or stool, glass of water. For virtual visits, school Zoom account (or similar). Student supplies depend on chosen session and will be discussed prior to visit. Teacher or librarian must be present for all presentations, virtual or in-person.

              Jen offers picture book manuscript critiques as well.

              Contact Jen:

                Sadler, Judy-Ann (London, Ontario)

                Judy-Ann Sadler (London, Ontario) is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, CANSCAIP, and Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC). She presents (in English) to students in JK to grade 5 and beyond.

                Rates:

                • 1 session: $300
                • 2 sessions: $525
                • 3 sessions: $675
                • 4 sessions: $800

                These rates include craft supplies for 50 students per 1-hour session. Travel costs are extra. No HST. Rates for virtual visits are negotiable.

                Judy-Ann Sadler is the bestselling author of over 25 books for children that have sold over a million copies in various languages around the world.

                Ever since Judy-Ann can remember, she has loved to read, write and make things. She feels passionate about sharing stories and crafts with children. She knows that using your imagination and working with your hands encourages creativity, curiosity, resourcefulness, patience, passion and generosity. She feels that these are all qualities our children will need to help make the world a better place!

                Judy-Ann has presented to, and made crafts with, tens of thousands of children at schools, libraries and festivals. Here are a few examples of what she does during a presentation, but she always tailors her presentations to the needs of the students. She loves to keep her audience engaged and excited about books, crafts and stories!

                JK- grade 1: Read a picture book, show other books, show crafts from some of her books, take questions, make a craft.

                Grade 2-3: Read one of her picture books, show other books, show lots of crafts and chat about the joy of making things, answer questions, make a craft.

                Grade 4-5: Talk about and show samples of the many steps involved in putting together a good book, read a story, show her books and crafts, answer questions and hear about the creative activities and writing projects of the students. Make a craft!

                For presentation set-up, Judy-Ann requires a couple of tables at the front of the room, and tables with chairs for the students. She will present to a maximum of 50 students/two classes per session.

                Contact Judy-Ann 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: