Syed, Anoosha (Milton, ON)

Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award Nominee, APALA Honor for Bilal Cooks Daal, Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize Shortlist, featured in Netflix series ‘Bookmarks’, featured in Eric Carle museum, Otter Award nominee

Anoosha Syed is a Pakistani-Canadian character designer and the illustrator of over twenty books, including I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown, APALA honor book, Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed and her author/illustrator debut, That’s Not My Name!

She draws inspiration from mid-century artists and her south-asian heritage, and she aims to create inclusive books that children can see themselves in.

Book topics: Empathy, First Day of School, Self-empowerment, Food and Culture. Family, South Asian

Rates: $350 for 60 minute session, $450 for two, Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside GTA. Anoosha is open to traveling further with additional food, travel, and accommodation charges.
Virtual visit fees: $150 for each 30 mins

Presentation format
Book reading + drawing demonstration (JK-3, 30min)
Reading of a selected picture book, followed by a drawing demonstration based on the book. Q+A at the end.

Careers: How I write/illustrate my picture books (Middleschool/Highschool, 60min) + Q&A

How I wrote/illustrate my book ‘That’s Not My Name’, and how the publishing industry works!

Other notes
A projector is required for in-person visits, and microphone + podium for larger groups.
For drawing activities, an easel with paper as well as paper, markers, crayons for the children to draw along with.
In-person presentations for JK-2 max 30 per group, teacher/facilitator MUST be present.
+HST
+Travel outside of GTA

Contact Anoosha to book a visit:

    Polak, Monique (Montreal, Quebec)

    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!).

    Contact Monique to book a visit:

      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:

          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:

              Chua, Charlene (Hamilton, ON)

              Charlene Chua (she/they) is an author-illustrator & member of SCBWI and CANSCAIP. She presents for JK-2, or for highschool upwards.

              Virtual visits start from $150 for a half hour presentation (JK-2), $200 for 1h presentation (highschool/adults). In-person presentations please email.

              HST is extra. Travel fees apply for in-person presentations (the author does not drive).

              Charlene is the author-illustrator of Hug?, as well as the illustrator on numerous picture books. Books she has worked on have been shortlisted for various awards including Blue Spruce, Silver Birch, LAMBA Literary, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Originally from Singapore, they moved to Canada in 2007, and currently live in Hamilton, ON.

              Example presentations

              Book reading + drawing demonstration (JK-2, approx. 20-30min)

              Reading of a selected picture book, followed by a drawing demonstration based on the book. Q+A at the end.

              Careers: How I became a picture book illustrator (Highschool-adult, approx. 60min)

              Presentation of my career path from starting out in illustration to transitioning into a specialized illustrator for picture books

              Other notes

              For in-person presentations, I need a laptop and projector. For drawing activities, an easel with paper as well as paper, markers, crayons for the children to draw along with. In-person presentations for JK-2 max 30 per group, teacher/facilitator MUST be present (excepting festivals & events).

              Contact Charlene:

                Hahn, Dee (Calgary, AB)

                Dee Hahn, author

                Writer’s Guild of Alberta. CANSCAIP Writing for Children finalist.

                Presentation: English. Grades: Kindergarten to grade 12.

                Rates: 225$ for 1 session, 350$ for 2, $475 for 3, and $675.00 for 4 sessions (a full day).

                Travel fees: if travel is out of province, cost of airfare is required. Within Alberta, travel is $0.50/km, round-trip. 

                Virtual Visits: 150$ for 1 session of 20-60 minutes, depending on age group. $100 for each additional session on the same day.

                Dee Hahn is an experienced and enthusiastic public speaker and former middle school teacher. Catering to all ages, she spends much of her time in both elementary and senior high classrooms. Travel is a great passion of Dee’s, and she brings a background of anthropology and history into her novels and presentations. Dee often opens her presentations with the story of how she struggled to read as a child, and her journey to becoming a writer. She also loves discussing the inspirations behind her writing, and how her century-old cabin home sparked the story seed for her debut novel, The Grave Thief.

                The Grave Thief by Dee Hahn

                 The Grave Thief (Tundra Books, 2022) is a middle grade fantasy that includes themes of forgiveness, redemption, friendship, and finding strength amidst physical challenges and disability.

                Dee can accommodate for any group size or venue. She has a wide range of experience in presenting to both large assemblies and smaller classroom sessions, as well as teaching creative writing workshops. She is always excited to personalize a session and to include any specially requested topics.

                Here are a few examples of Dee’s sessions by grade:

                5 to 8 years (25 to 30 minutes): Younger elementary presentations include a brief discussion of creative writing and a ‘How to Build a Mystery’ mini workshop, as well as a personalized activity such as a classroom writing session, a live art tutorial, or a game. Sessions are dynamic with lots of audience participation, and include visuals and a video component.

                9 to 12 years (40 to 60 minutes): The Grave Thief is for this age category of readers. Middle school presentations involve a brief reading, a discussion of the creative writing process, and a trivia ‘escape room’ game (using a series of treasure chests if done in person, or a slideshow if done virtually). Sessions are interactive and involve audience participation and a Q & A.

                13 to 18 years (45 to 60 minutes): Junior and senior high school presentations delve deeper into the creative writing process and a discussion of inspirations, as well as a trivia game. Sessions focus on establishing an open dialogue with students and an in-depth Q & A.

                Creative Writing Workshops: Workshop sessions are customized for each group. For example, a middle school workshop could include a discussion on inspirations and the process of writing, developing a strong writing voice, and how to enhance the writing language we use. Classroom extension activities and ideas for teachers are also provided.

                Equipment required for Dee’s presentations:

                -A screen and projector for a PowerPoint presentation

                -An external speaker she can plug into her laptop (to amplify audio for her film clips)

                -A microphone for larger groups

                -A table to spread her books and props out

                Reviews:

                “I would rank Dee Hahn as one of the best author visits we’ve had!  Our kids were completely riveted, and the demand for her book was high. An all-around informative and completely fabulous visit is what you can expect from Dee.  I would highly recommend her!”

                -Tracy Tuttosi, Educator-Librarian at Dr. Morris Gibson School

                  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: