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:

    Smith, Sadé (Mississauga, ON)

    Blue Spruce Award nominee for the Forest of Reading 2023 for her debut children’s picture book Granny’s Kitchen illustrated by Ken Daley.

    Rates: $250 plus HST for one session, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (four sessions). Plus a travel fee of $0.50/km if outside Toronto or Peel.

    Virtual visits: $150 plus HST for one session (60 minutes), $100 for each additional session on the same day to a maximum of four sessions.

    Sadé Smith is a Canadian children’s book author of Jamaican descent. Her books often involve food with colorful illustrations to capture the vibrancy and beauty of the Caribbean islands. In addition to writing, Sadé is also a design technologist and she is very passionate about literature. She writes books of representation for young readers. She provides games, activities, book readings and writing workshops for young students aged 3-8 (grades Kindergarten to grade 3).

    Presentations/workshops – Age group: 3-8 years old (Grades K-3)

    30 Minutes each part (split into 2 parts with a short break to accommodate for younger audiences).

    This collaborative school/library presentation includes:

    • Author introduction and background / biography
    • Introduction on writing / inspiration for the book
    • Showing of the Shelly-Ann doll to be passed around (depending on age group)
    • Topics about family, food, language, Jamaican culture and fun facts that are located on the back page of the Granny’s Kitchen book. Ask the readers/listeners about their experiences in Jamaica. Show the Jamaican flag and allow the readers/listeners to learn Patois (Jamaican language) that is shown throughout the book.
    • Colour in an empty template of the Jamaican flag and explain the colours of the Jamaican flag and what they represent. Readers/listeners can also draw and colour in their own country’s (or family background’s) flag on a blank page. Show art work.
    • A fun game involving live props (and/or a digital presentation) of cooking utensils, equipment, Caribbean foods and fruits. (Guess the name of the food/fruit/kitchen items). This is a fun and educational way for the readers/listeners to learn about new things and foods that they may not know about.
    • A live reading of GRANNY’S KITCHEN with enlarged illustrations shown on screen/projector (if needed to enhance visual effect for Storytime) followed by a Question and Comment period.
    • A quiz pertaining to the story by way of a Kahoot game or crossword puzzle, with prizes included (if in-person). (Prizes will include bookmarks with a recipe on the back, bookplates and occasionally, a signed copy of the book, depending on availability of copies on hand). Some prizes may be mailed out to school afterward for virtual presentations).
    • Social media handles and website / contact information. Information on where and how to purchase the book. Information about upcoming books and projects.
    • Information about the “Kidz Korner” tab on the Sadé Smith website where students may find fun activities and download reading and writing templates for their own use.

    Note: Workshops are 60 minutes in length and split into two parts to accommodate for a younger audience.

    To encourage interaction during in-person presentations, Sadé would prefer to meet with smaller groups at a time with a maximum of 4 groups per day.

    Equipment Required:

    • One table for presentation items and materials
    • Separate table and chair to accommodate for book sales and signings (if requested)
    • Computer with projector or television screen for displaying PowerPoint presentation from a USB drive or laptop
    • Blank paper and crayons (if children would like to draw their own flag).

    Note: Author will bring all required decorations and props needed for presentation.

    Contact Sadé to book 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:

        O’Connor, Heather (Peterborough, ON).

        Writers’ Union of Canada member. Presentations and writing workshops in English. Kindergarten to Grade 12.

        Virtual visits (45 minutes): $150+HST. Virtual kindies (Two 20-minute sessions): $150+HST. In-person visits (45-60 minutes): $250+HST for one session, $450+HST for two, $600+HST for three, $800+HST for a full day (4 sessions). Kindies: two 25-minute sessions for $250+HST. Mileage for visits 100+ km from Peterborough.

        Heather M. O’Connor’s new picture book Fast Friends is a 2021 Blue Spruce Award nominee. She writes fiction and nonfiction for kids and teens.

        Heather is an enthusiastic presenter. She uses fun activities and clear, kid-friendly examples to engage with young audiences. “What it’s like to write a book? A lot like doing a school project,” she explains. Heather’s workshops and presentations can be tailored to your classroom. Most come with curriculum connections, follow-up activities and teacher resources.

        Presentations:
        Book talks

        Fast Friends (Blue-Spruce-nominated picture book)
        Suze and Tyson become friends speedy-quick, even though Suze is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair. This story is inspired by Heather’s daughter Suze and her friends growing up. Themes and curriculum connections: body language, mime, inclusion, friendship, welcoming newcomers, working with
        an illustrator.

        Betting Game (high-action sports novel for readers 10+, ideal for reluctant readers)
        Jack is a hotshot soccer player. When a new player joins the team, Jack gets drawn into gambling. Heather plays soccer herself. To research this book, she toured the Toronto FC Training Ground and met TFC head coach Greg Vanney. Themes and curriculum connections: soccer, research techniques, friendship, asking for help, teen gambling.

        A writer’s life

        • So you want to be a writer (Spoiler alert – It’s a lot like being a student)
        • Digging up the facts: Research anecdotes and tips
        • Even authors need an editor: Revising process, tips and hacks, exercises
        • All roads lead to writing: Careers in writing (ideal for Grade 10 Careers)

        Creative writing for young writers

        • “What ifs” and “I wonders” (gathering ideas)
        • Going on a Bear Hunt (conflict and tension)
        • Let’s tell a story (plot)
        • World-building (setting)
        • Story polish (revision)

        Creative writing for older kid and teens and adults

        • Writer’s craft: Hands-on sessions that focus on a single element of story (character, setting, point of view,
        • conflict, plot, theme.) Book four elements, get fifth free.
        • Short story writing
        • Revision

        Nonfiction presentations and hands-on writing workshops
        Heather’s been a freelance writer for almost 20 years. Her favourite news beat is LesPlan Educational Services. Bring her in to work with your students.

        • Ask the right questions: Interview techniques
        • Google doesn’t know everything: Research methods (archives, newspapers, oral histories)
        • Persuade me!: Persuasive writing
        • News or opinion: What’s the difference?
        • Writing the news (interviews, outlines, 5 Ws, inverted triangle writing)

        Books titles and awards:
        Fast Friends, Scholastic Canada, 2020. Picture book. Blue Spruce nominee, 2021 Forest of Reading. Toronto Public Library First and Best, 2020.
        Betting Game, Orca Book Publishers, 2015. Young adult high-low sports novel. Recommended title, Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2015. Highly recommended, CM Magazine.
        Runs with the Stars, Second Story, Spring 2022. Dual language picture book, written with Darcy Whitecrow.

        Audience size and equipment needed:
        Classroom or school library preferred. Will present in gyms or auditoriums if microphone provided. Please supply podium and table, and if possible, a digital projector and screen.

        Contact Heather to book a visit…

          Messier, Mireille (Toronto, ON)

          Writers’ Union Member. French/English author. Picture books. Great for immersion students! K to 6.

          For the 2021-2022 school year, Mireille is only doing virtual visits!

          Mireille’s rate for a 45/50-minute virtual presentation is $250 for 1-5 classes, $350 for 6-10 classes and $450 for 11+ classes. HST extra. Please note that presentations may not be recorded for later use or shared.

          Mireille has a picture book ideal for Remembrance Day with students in grades 1-6! Contact her about presenting “Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War” at your school or event! (available in English or French)

          Mireille can present “Treasure”/ “Trésor”, “The Branch” / “Ma branche préférée” and “Fatima and the Clementine Thieves/Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines” ans “La magie de Casse-Noisette”/ “Nutcracker Night” in either English or French or both.

          Mireille also has many books that are published in French only and range in genre – from picture books, to chapter books and non-fiction. She enjoys presenting to immersion students and offers lively presentations that are tailored to the language level of the students.

          School presentations will include a reading of the selected book, an activity based on the theme of the book and a discussion with the author about her craft.

          Available in French or English/French (bilingual) Mireille is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and so schools wishing to invite her may be eligible for a travel and fee subsidy to off-set the cost of her visit.

          Here is an example of her presentations by grade:

          JK to 1: two 30-minute sessions for the price of one full session using her book “Quel fouillis!” (includes a tool-related activity and a song) or “Une Bestiole à l’école” (includes an insect-related activity and a song).

          Grade 1 to 4: The majority of Mireille’s books are for this age group. 45 to 60 minutes: Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected.

          Themes available: Remembrance Day/World War I/ World War II/Military Mascot (Sergeant Billy), Environmental conservation (Treasure/Trésor), Environment/Weather (The Branch/Ma branche préférée), Nature/Animals (Tellement Sauvage), Travel/Geography (Charlotte partout), Non-Violent Conflict Resolution (Fatima), Anagrams/Word Play (Voilier d’Olivier/Quand les zéros), Food/Cooking (Salade de César), Sports (Charlotte Olympique)…

          Grade 4 to 6: 45 to 60 minutes. Session featuring a book of your choice plus a related activity followed by a Q&A on topic/book selected. Books available for this level are “Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines” (advanced picture book) and the middle-grade chapter books from Les aventures de Viviane et Simon series.

          Contact Mireille to book a visit:

            Larsen, Andrew (Toronto, ON)

            Andrew Larsen Photo 2018

            Picture book author, Blue Spruce nominated, award winning, inspiring. Andrew is presently taking bookings for virtual visits. Even though we are necessarily apart, we are connected by our stories. Andrew would love to share his stories with your students. He charges $250 + HST for a single virtual visit (approximately 45 minutes).

            In person visits are $300 + HST for a single session and $500 + HST for an entire morning or afternoon. Andrew charges for travel only when visiting locations outside of Toronto.

            Andrew is convinced that we all have stories to tell and our own way of telling them. His presentations inspire students to believe they have what it takes to discover their own stories and to share them.

            Presentation Details

            Grades JK – 3: (approximately 40 minutes) We’re all storytellers. We’re born that way. We tell stories when we play, pretend, squiggle and dream. Andrew encourages students to recognize that they are surrounded by stories just waiting to be told. Some of those stories are made up. Some are based on real events or real people. He talks about how ideas grow into stories and, in turn, stories can grow into books. Using show and tell, an unforgettable magic trick, and an engaging style, Andrew inspires the belief that we can all be authors. He demonstrates how a single piece of paper can be turned into a book, ready to be filled with words or pictures. He reads one of his own books and, finally, he welcomes questions. Andrew leaves students wanting to make their own books and share their own stories.

            Grades 4, 5 and 6: (approximately 50 minutes) Andrew believes that a story is a story is story, whether the story is told in a picture book or in a chapter book. Building on his conviction that we all have stories to tell, Andrew talks about the value of keeping a writer’s journal. Keeping a journal reminds us that we are all writers! We all have stories to tell! Andrew talks about how the seed of an idea, jotted in a journal, can grow into paragraph. A paragraph can grow into a chapter and a chapter can grow into a book. We are all authors! He reads from Dingus, his middle-grade chapter book.

            Family Literacy Events: Andrew loves to engage families and to instill a sense of fun in the stories we share together. Some of the best stories begin at home with our families. Andrew talks about how most of his own stories began at home. Some even began as handmade, homemade books. A great way to wind up a family literacy event is to engage families in the making of a book. Andrew’s family literacy events are fun! Most of all, they’re inspiring.

            Andrew will happily present to any number of students. He has presented to as few as 6 and as many as 250. Andrew will present in a classroom, library, gym or under a tree. He loves to do presentations for Family Literacy Events (fun for the whole family!) If it is a large group Andrew will require a laptop and projector.

            Contact Andrew Larsen: