McLellan, Stephanie Simpson (Newmarket, ON)

Writers Union Member. English. Fiction (Picture Book and Mid Grade), Mr. Christie Award winner, Ruth Schwartz Award Winner, 2022 Blue Spruce Award Nominee. Grades K-3 and Grades 5-8. 

In-Person Visits: $300 plus HST for 1 session, $500 for 2, $750 for 3 and $1000 for 4, + travel (50 cents per kilometer, round-trip for SW ON).

Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST, for one session, 20-60 minutes, $150 for each additional session on the same day.

Stephanie is the award-winning author of six picture books and one mid-grade novel. She reviewed children’s books for twelve years for Today’s Parent magazine (for which she got to interview the legendary Maurice Sendak!), operated an online bookstore for a few years called Neverending Stories, and wrote several scripts for the gemini-nominated children’s television series Roll Play (on Treehouse).

Her books have won and been shortlisted for several awards (Mr. Christie Award, Ruth Schwartz Award, Chocolate Lily Award, CNIB Tiny Torgi Award, Crystal Kite Award and Blue Spruce Award) and have received starred and recommended reviews from Kirkus, CCBC, CBC Books, Quill & Quire, School Library Journal, Resource Links, TVO Kids, Chickadee Magazine, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, City Parent, CanLit for Little Canadians and CM Magazine.

A passionate promoter of literacy, Stephanie has toured twice for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week: to Labrador in 2014 and Northwest Territories in 2018. Surrounding the release of her 2017 picture book, The Christmas Wind, Stephanie worked with almost 1,700 primary students in every province and territory of Canada (plus one school in Australia) on a unique literacy initiative that resulted in over 13,000 student drawings of her characters Jo, Murdock and the wind. Widely profiled by CBC, The Christmas Wind Story Project involved the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in the spring of 2016 and was a top 10 finalist in the 2016 CST Inspired Minds Learning Project Contest.

Presentation Description

During Stephanie’s school presentations for grades K-3, she encourages children to look for and understand their own creativity by sharing the stories behind her stories, how these stories/ideas turn into books, and what it’s like to write for a living. Specifically, she has four goals with each school presentation:

  • To entertain students with a dramatic reading of her books so they will come to know and care about her characters and about the value of story
  • To stir the writer/creator inside each student by sharing the stories behind her stories, thus empowering them to see the connection between their own lives and their own potential works of art
  • To create a natural bridge to relevant, valuable and interesting learning (e.g.Hoogie in the Middle – a simile exercise; Leon’s Song – a mini science quiz on how frogs survive the winter)
  • To give students a sense of what goes into the creation of a book (the illustrator, the publisher, the ideas) and what it’s like to write for a living 

For grades 5-8, Stephanie will focus on her mid grade novel Sully, Messed Up to explore themes of self-esteem, identity, life choices, social-emotional learning and bullying.

Ahead of each school visit Stephanie creates a school specific page on her website to help teachers and students prepare for her visit.

Maximum group size: 50-60 for optimum interaction 

Equipment required: a table, an easel (for presentation boards), water, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

Contact Stephanie to book a visit:

    Cohen, Tziporah (Toronto, ON)

    Tziporah Cohen

    Tziporah Cohen. Toronto, Ontario. Writers’ Union Member. English. Grades 4-7. Virtual rates: $175 per session (45-60 min). In-person rates: $250 for one session (45-60 minutes), $400 for two sessions, $600 for three. No travel costs within City of Toronto; GTA (excluding City of Toronto) $25 per 30 min car travel, rounded up. Not currently doing in-person visits outside of GTA.

    Award-winning author of middle-grade novel NO VACANCY and forthcoming picture book ON THE CORNER OF CHOCOLATE AVENUE: HOW MILTON HERSHEY BROUGHT MILK CHOCOLATE TO AMERICA (December 2022).

    Tziporah Cohen No Vacancy

    Tziporah Cohen’s NO VACANCY (Groundwood Books, 2020) was a JLG Gold Standard Selection, a Sydney Taylor Honor book, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, on the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year list, on the shortlist for the winner of the CCBC Jean Little First-Novel Award, and nominated for the SYRCA Diamond Willow Award, the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award and the Silver Birch Fiction Award. Tziporah was born in the US and came to Canada in 2008. She attended Harvard Medical School, later receiving an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a working physician and part-time writer who loves to talk with kids about books! Presentations include:

    *Reading plus Q&A: Fifteen-minute reading and Q&A about the book (NO VACANCY) and writing process. 45-60 min.

    *Author’s Journey: How do you go from writer to author? Learn the origin story of NO VACANCY and all the steps from beginning to publication: from idea to first draft and revisions, to acquisition, editing and copy editing, cover design and book-on-the-shelf! Includes photos from the entire process and reading of a chapter from the book. 60 minutes.

    *Revision, Revision, Revision! What are the steps in going from first draft to finished story? Get an inside view on the author’s revisions of NO VACANCY, both before and after acquisition by the publisher. Includes specific examples of revision strategies (using strong verbs; show, don’t tell; adding detail; use of outlines and calendars; eliminating writing quirks, etc) with photos of manuscript. Includes reading of a chapter of the book. This presentation works best if students have read the book, but not required.

    Size limits: 100 for virtual presentations, 30 for in-person visits (60 for Reading/Q&A)

    Equipment: For virtual visits, Skype or school Zoom account. For in-person visits, laptop with Powerpoint, (can bring own laptop if it can be connected to school projector, otherwise will bring USB stick), projector and screen for Power Point presentation, table, microphone if space larger than classroom, glass of water. Teacher or librarian must be present for all presentations, virtual or in-person.

    Contact Tziporah to book a visit:

      Cooke, Stephanie (Toronto, ON)

      Stephanie Cooke. Toronto, ON. Writers’ Union of Canada Member. English. Fantasy, Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Middle-Grade, and Young Adult. Stephanie’s rates for school visits is $300 for one session (local schools only), $500 for two sessions or for a half-day, and $900 for a full school day (maximum four sessions), plus travel if applicable. Virtual visits are $250.

      Stephanie Cooke is an author and editor based out of Toronto, Canada. She is the writer of ParaNorthern and the co-writer of Oh My Gods!

      She loves to speak to people about comics, graphic novels, and writing and devotes a lot of time to helping educate people about creating, understanding, and appreciating the graphic novel medium.

      CREATING A GRAPHIC NOVEL
      Ever wonder how a comic book or graphic novel gets made? How many different people work on one book? What’s the process for creating a story and turning it into a graphic novel? Stephanie delves into all of this and more as she helps people explore the world of the comic book industry and sheds light on the process of writing a story from inception to completion.

      Ages: Any

      Group size: Any, but especially love working with smaller groups of 15-30 kids.
      A/V needs: Projector or anything to present some images to go along with the presentation.

      Collaboration is hands-down the best parts of creating a graphic novel. Working with someone to bring an idea to life is an incredible feeling. Having someone to bounce ideas around with is amazing and inspiring. And getting to see an artist bring what was in your head to life on the page is nothing short of magical! With her experience as a co-writer on Oh My Gods! and a co-creator on an unannounced series, Stephanie has created this presentation to help teach you about the process, what to expect, and provide exercises for you to learn from.

      Ages: Any, but works especially well ages 6 and up (and for students and adults)
      Group size: 15-30

      Other topics are available upon request.

      Contact Stephanie to book a visit…

        van Staalduinen, Brent (Hamilton, ON)

        van Staalduinen

        Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Brent is a novelist and award-winning story writer, and a former army medic, radio DJ, tree planter, and high school English teacher. A member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, he’s excited about writing workshops and readings in English for grades 7-12, as well as adults and book clubs.

        Virtual rates:

        • Single session of up to 60 mins: $150.

        In-person rates:

        • Single session, up to 60mins: $250.
        • Two sessions, $500. Full day (max four sessions), $900.
        • No mileage required if distance is less than 25km from downtown Hamilton (L8P 1A1). For SW and Eastern Ontario, mileage will be calculated at the CRA rate of $0.59/km, return. For spots beyond, a travel fee will be determined based on most economical transport and accommodation needs.

        Brent is a dynamic public speaker and highly experienced educator, and easily accommodates for the different needs of his audiences. He offers two types of visits: workshops and/or readings and Q&As. For all sessions, subject matter will be tailored to the needs of the hosting organization and local curriculum requirements (experience with Ontario/IB/MYP/Pennsylvania curricula).

        A sampling of topics Brent has covered (not exhaustive — have an idea or theme you’d like to explore? Just ask!):

        • Novel writing
        • The elements of short fiction
        • Creative nonfiction
        • Memoir
        • Travel writing
        • Teaching creative writing
        • Character
        • Story structure
        • Conflict and tension
        • Submitting work to literary journals and magazines
        • Editing and proofreading
        • Setting up a writing workshop
        • Publishing with small presses
        • Contests and “making a mark”
        • Finding and landing the right literary agent
        • Self-publication and the digital marketplace
        • Social media and self-promotion

        …and more!

        For virtual visits, Brent prefers Zoom. For in-person visits, Brent requires a computer, projector, and screen. If the room is larger than a standard classroom, he’ll need a microphone, preferably wearable.

        van Staalduinen is pronounced: van-Stal-die-nen.

        Contact Brent to book a visit:

          Prins, Marie (Colborne, ON)

          Marie Prins, Colborne, Ontario, Writers Union Member, English, Grades 2-6,

          Rates: $225 for one session, $400 for two, $600 for three, $800 for full day (4 sessions), plus travel fee of .50/km round trip

           Virtual Visits Only at This Time – $150 for one 40-60 minute session, $125 for each additional session on the same day

          Marie is a remedial reading teacher who is passionate about helping children learn to read and love to read. Sharing books and stories with her students has been a highlight when she meets with them, one on one, or in group settings.

          Marie tailors each presentation to the children in front of her, sharing her experience as a storyteller, researcher, and writer in order to inspire them to read for the love of it and write to share their own stories. Her middle grade novel The Girl From the Attic is a time travel story that offers historical insight into rural Ontario, explores family dynamics past and present, and touches on themes of health/disease pertaining to asthma, tuberculosis, and pandemics. It received two awards in 2021 from Story Monsters Ink – first in Family, second in Mid-grade. Her children’s story “Grammy’s Mittens, ”about a young girl dealing with the death of her grandmother before Christmas, appears in Volume Three of Cloud Lake Literary magazine.

          Workshops –

          Storytelling with Q & A, featuring The Girl From the Attic (grades 2-6) This workshop includes sharing the book’s backstory and additional historical information about octagonal houses (book’s setting), rural life in the early 1900s, and the plague of tuberculosis before the advent of antibiotics. A Teacher’s Guide is available for classrooms who either read the book before or after the visit.

          Time Travel Writing Workshops (grades 5 & 6) – In this workshop, Marie will help children brainstorm ideas for past or future time-travel, choose characters and settings, discover portals, plot story arcs, and devise story endings.

          Nuts and Bolts of Editing One’s Own Writing (grades 2-6) – This workshop includes brainstorming creative writing ideas (“what if”), using a writer’s notebook, working with learning buddies, rereading to check spelling & grammar, and using examples from the editing process of The Girl From the Attic and “Grammy’s Mittens” to demonstrate how one edits own writing.

          Classroom, library, workshop visits – Virtually for 2021/2022, on Zoom or Google Meets (willing to try other platforms) with school or library hosting the event. Storytelling Presentation – either one or multiple classrooms; Writing Workshops prefers small groups of 15 or less.

          Will consider small, in-person groups in a library or similar setting.

          Contact Marie to book a visit:

            Lordon, Claire (Vancouver, BC)

            Claire Lordon

            Claire Lordon is an author, illustrator and Writers Union Member based in Vancouver, BC. Her presentations are in English. She presents to K-5.

            Her school visit rates are $150 for a half hour virtual presentation (for grades K-1), $200 for a 50 minute virtual presentation $250 for one 50 minute in person presentation $450 for two 50 minute in person visits $675 for three 50 minute presentations.

            GST is extra. Travel fees are extra except for the greater Vancouver area.

            Claire is the author-illustrator of one book, and the illustrator of five more. She is an experienced school speaker who loves presenting to schools. Her presentations and workshops are upbeat and fun and can be catered to your group’s needs.

            Here is a typical talk:
            Presentations include a reading, a discussion about being an author-illustrator, process sketches, how she comes up with ideas, and a fun interactive drawing game. There is also a Q&A.

            In addition to schools, she also gives presentations to libraries, conferences, organizations and more.

            Additional Presentations and Workshops:

            •How a Picture Book is Made
            Good for grades K-5

            •How Claire Became an Author-Illustrator
            Good for grades 3-5

            •Class-Created Picture Book Story
            Good for Grades 1-4

            •Professional Workshop: Create a Submission-Ready Book Dummy.

            For adults. Note this workshop is either two one-hour sessions or one 90-minute session. Priced at $500 plus GST (if applicable).

            Maximum size for presentations: 35

            Equipment needed: Drawing easel and markers, a projector and screen for some presentations.

            CONTACT CLAIRE TO BOOK A VISIT:

              Church, Dr. Dana L (Waterloo, ON)

              Dr. Dana L. Church

              Dr. Dana L. Church lives in Waterloo, Ontario. She is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and presents in English to grades 1 through 8.

              In-person rates: $250 for one one-hour session, $450 for two, $675 for three, plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside Waterloo. Virtual visit rates: $200 for one one-hour session, $150 for each additional session on the same day.

              Dr. Dana L. Church is a middle-grade nonfiction writer who loves turning fascinating science hidden in scholarly journals into prose that is fun and accessible for everyone.

              Dr. Dana L. Church has a PhD in animal cognition, which means she spends a lot of time figuring out how other animals think, remember, learn, make decisions, and solve problems. She spent many years studying bumble bees and loves to talk about why they are such amazing little creatures. Dana’s presentations include background about how she was originally terrified of bees but then eventually fell in love with them. She also answers questions such as, What are bumble bees, anyway? Why are they important? Are bees in trouble? How do scientists study bees? What can we do to help save the bees? She loves answering questions from the audience. Dana can also chat about her journey to becoming a published author, her writing process, and what it’s like to write nonfiction.

              Dana used to teach outrageously large undergraduate classes in university so she really doesn’t have a size limit for her audience. She finds that her PowerPoint slides are handy for showing people photos of all different kinds of bumble bees that exist, so for in-person visits, if she could hook up her Mac laptop to a projector, that would be great. For virtual visits, she can adapt to any platform, and if she can share her screen, even better.

              Contact Dana to book a visit:

                Jain, Mahak (Toronto, Ontario)

                Mahak Jain

                Award-winning author, editor, and educator of fiction and poetry for young people and adults. Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Presents in English to all ages.

                Rates: $300 + HST per 60-min presentation ($150 + HST for 30 minutes). Virtual presentations only at this time.

                Travel: No travel costs for locations accessible via public transit in central Toronto. Actual costs for locations outside central Toronto; additional arrangements may be required (e.g., transit station pick-up/drop-off).

                Mahak’s debut picture book won the South Asia Book Award and was named a CBC Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and was a starred selection with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. She has also edited children’s books for Penguin Random House Canada, Owlkids Books, Kids Can Press, and Annick Press and developed youth creative writing workshops for the Toronto Public Library. She teaches creative writing at Sheridan College.

                For grades 5 and below, she leads interactive presentations tied to one of her picture books, including a reading, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing process, and curricular tie-ins. For small groups, she also incorporates an activity that engages students creatively.

                For grades 6 and up as well as for staff, she can lead creative writing workshops, introduce audiences to writing and publishing careers, present on how to write for different age groups, facilitate a discussion and activity on the creative process, or provide time management and productivity tips for creatives.

                All venues. Equipment: A screen and projector for PowerPoint; microphone for larger groups or if required for acoustics. Colouring pencils or crayons and writing surfaces for students will be required for some presentations.

                Contact Mahak to book a visit…

                  Garbutt, Loretta (Toronto, ON)

                  Loretta Garbutt is based in Toronto, ON.

                  MEMBERSHIPS

                  • TWUC member
                  • Canscaip member
                  • SCBWI member

                  PRESENTS TO…

                  • English
                  • JK-GR 4

                  30-min presentation – $150

                  Loretta has been a story teller and performer for years and her interaction with groups of children is one of her favourite things to do. 

                  Loretta has been enjoying class visits since her first picture book, A Stopwatch from Grampa was published in 2020. Questions from students is what she loves best, the one on one discussion and the surprises that  come from those discussions. Loretta likes to keep her presentations fresh full of interaction. 

                  Contact Loretta to book a visit…

                    Coates, Jan L. (Nova Scotia)

                    Jan L. Coates

                    Jan L. Coates lives in Nova Scotia, but she spends as much time as she can in Kingston and Toronto, Ontario. A member of the Writers Union of Canada, Jan presents to classes from junior kindergarten to grade 7.

                    Her rates include: $200 for one in-person session (45-60 minutes); $350 for two sessions; $600 for a full-day visit. Virtual visits (Zoom or Google Meets) are $150 for 45-60 minutes

                    Jan has written six picture books, six middle grade novels, and 18 chapter books for emergent readers. Her books have been shortlisted for several Canadian awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Awards, and Children’s Choice Awards such as Hackmatack and SYRCA.

                    Jan L. Coates books

                    “The overall positive student response to Jan, in my opinion, indicates how this author is able to encourage literacy and creative writing by sharing her talent.” – Heather Thorne, educator

                    “Jan led a writing exercise that had kids buzzing with ideas. Before long, kids were competing to be one of the writers picked to present their mystery objects by describing them out loud to the group without saying what the object actually looks like.” -Heather Doepner, Youth Services Librarian

                    “Because inside I’m still 11,” is Jan’s answer when asked why she writes for kids. Jan is a writer because she’s always been a reader, and because stories are the best, whether you’re reading them or writing them. There’s no better way to escape, learn, and grow. Her books are often about resilient kids tackling tough challenges head-on. Other than reading and writing, she’s learning to illustrate, loves to be at the beach, get outside on her bike in the woods or on the dykes, go thrift-shopping and spend time with her family, including her Golden Irish, Charlie

                    Jan’s school visits include a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation/discussion about writing, the writing life, tools we all use to create story, a short reading, Q&A, and a fun shared writing (or drawing) activity. Specific workshops include:

                    1. building a character;
                    2. creating a picture book;
                    3. using all five senses to create 3D story worlds;
                    4. growing a story from a tiny idea seed.

                    Sixty minutes please for grades 2-7; thirty minutes for grades JrK-1. Jan prefers to work with one class at a time, but she’s flexible, and she’s happy to talk about specific writing topics suggested by teachers. She needs a projector with connected laptop to show her PPT, as well as a table, water, and lunch for full-day visits (cafeteria food can be surprisingly tasty). Jan enjoys doing virtual as well as in-person school visits, and she’s been visiting young readers and writers for over 10 years.

                    Contact Jan to book a visit…