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:

    Norstrom, Joy (Calgary, Alberta)

    Joy Norstrom is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers).

    Virtual visits:

    • $125 for a 30 to 45-minute meet and greet with an author. (Includes a reading and opportunity to ask questions about the writing and publishing process). Comfortable on most platforms (Google Meets, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc).

    In-person visits:

    • $125 for 30 mins (K-3)
    • $175 for 40 mins (Gr 4-6)
    • $225 for 60 mins (Gr 10-12, adults)
    • Discounts available when booking multiple sessions for the same day

    Travel fees:

    • Are you located in southern or central Alberta? The cost of travel is .50 cents per km in Calgary and reimbursement of fuel charges for destinations outside of Calgary.
    • Are you located further away? Joy loves visiting new-to-her communities. Cost of travel to be determined based on destination and means of transportation required.

    Joy Norstrom (she/her) is a contemporary fiction writer and social worker residing in Treaty 7 Territory, Calgary Alberta. Her first picture book, Marjorie Magic (Dixi Books Ltd) will be released in November 2022 and she can’t wait to share this story with readers of all ages, but especially those who dream of magic. Joy also writes short stories and novel length work. Her books Flying the Nest (2020) and Out of Play (2016) feature quirky characters facing real life difficulties.

    Presentations available:

    Joy is available to present in English and is experienced working with ESL students. She is happy to work with an interpreter.

    (k-3)

    • Meet and Greet plus Author Reading
    • How a Picture Book is Made

    (4-6)

    • How to Write a Story: Beginning, Middle and End
    • How to Make Characters that Jump off the Page

    (10 – 12)

    • Story as a Tool for Social Justice
    • Relationship Tension: How to Strengthen your Story and Keep Readers Turning Pages (when they should be asleep!)

    Joy is happy to meet outdoors (weather permitting) or indoors for informal reading and Meet and Greet with the author. For all other sessions an indoor space with limited distractions.

    Supplies needed: flip chart paper, colourful markers, a chair, and a glass of tap water works well when presenting to younger audiences.

    A projector and screen are needed for longer sessions and workshops. A table for Joy to place her materials as well as a chair are helpful.

    Joy enjoys getting to know the audience so prefers smaller groups of up to 35 students.

    Contact Joy for a visit:

      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

        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:

            Jain, Mahak (Toronto, Ontario)

            Mahak Jain

            Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Presents in English to all ages, including adults.

            Mahak is the author of Maya (illust. by Elly MacKay), winner of the South Asia Book Award and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year; Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes (illust. by Anu Chouhan); and The Only Astronaut (illust. by Andrea Stegmaier), forthcoming in spring 2023. She also writes poetry and fiction for adults and teaches creative writing at Sheridan College.

            Virtual Sessions (Preferred): Mahak has extensive experience presenting virtually across platforms. She works closely with educators and librarians in advance of the visit to present sessions that are dynamic and incorporate stimulating activities, including a Q&A.

            • A 30-minute session is $150. Additional same-day sessions are $100.
            • A 60-minute session is $250. Additional same-day sessions are $200.

            HST is additional.

            In-Person Sessions (Limited): Mahak has years of experience leading interactive writing workshops and activities at public schools and through the Toronto Public Library. Audience size and venue is flexible. A table, laptop, projector, projector screen, and a microphone are required; some sessions will also require paper, pencils, crayons, and writing surfaces.

            • A 30-minute session is $200. Additional sessions are $150. Minimum two sessions.
            • A 60-minute session is $350. Additional same-day sessions are $300.
            • Travel (Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton) and HST is additional.

            For all ages, Mahak can lead an interactive presentation tied to one of her picture books, including a reading, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing process, and a Q&A.

            • A presentation on Maya will discuss India’s fauna and flora, the monsoon season, and the author’s childhood.
            • A presentation on Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes will discuss the history of the dance forms, Bharatanatyam and ballet dress and jewelry, and the author’s childhood.

            Depending on audience and size, presentations can also focus on the author’s writing journey and creative process, with brief introductions to each book.

            Contact Mahak to book a visit…

              Dickson, Alessia (Vaughan/Toronto, ON)

              Alessia Dickson, author, authors' booking serviceDEAL: $225 for 1 session
              $400 for 2 sessions
              $550 for the whole day
              $80 for writing workshops
              $80 for virtual visits

              Award-winning young author of The Crystal Chronicles series. $250 + HST per session. Small group writing workshops available at $100 + HST.
              Books: $ 20 (HST included)
              Travel expenses may apply for long distances.

              Alessia Dickson is the award-winning young author of The Crystal Chronicles series. Since publishing The Crystal Chronicles at age sixteen, she has been interviewed for CBC television, appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and has given presentations to more than 20000 students across 70 schools in Ontario. She has worked alongside other authors such as Eric Walters and has a passion for inspiring young students. Due to her age, students really connect with Alessia and always leave her presentations inspired to achieve their own dreams.

              Alessia started writing The Crystal Chronicles, in fifth grade. She wrote the bulk of the book in grades 6, 7, and 8 and later published it in high school. As a result, many students can relate to her journey and young age. However, Alessia realizes, a lot of students are not creative writers which is talked about during her presentations. She highlights the importance for students to follow their passions, no matter if it’s writing, art, sports, dance, or something else. She especially focuses on how passion and persistence can get you anywhere, and how age is truly
              just a number. Students always leave her presentations excited to read and write, as well as motivated to pursue their own interests in their own lives.

              The Crystal Chronicles – The Crystal Chronicles follows the story of sixteen-year-old Alyssa Brooks who discovers she possesses magical powers and belongs to a supernatural race called Elementals, who can control earth, air, fire, and water. The Crystal Chronicles is often compared to international sensations such as Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson.

              The Crystal Chronicles and The Lost Temple – As the second installment in the series, The Lost Temple follows Alyssa and her friends as they journey into the Amazon searching for the first of four crystals.

              Presentations to grades 4-12.

              First 30 mins – personal introduction, explanation of the writing process including plotting, character development, editing, obstacles, and publication. Also includes writing advice and tips as well as a full synopsis about the book.
              Last 30 mins – a question and answer period for the audience and a fifteen-minute period at the very end for book sales. Purchased books includes a bookmark and a personalized signed copy to the student’s name.

              Small Group Writing Workshop

              Grades – 4-8
              Group size – max 35 students
              First 20 mins- introduction, how to build plots, characters and dialogue Last 40 mins – student writing period where she circulates the classroom and answers individual questions and offers personalized feedback. There is a voluntary sharing period at the end where students can read some of the work to the class. She can also integrate specific classroom material into the workshop. For example, many classes will be reading a certain novel or focusing on poetry or story writing.

              Virtual Visits: $100 (HST included) per session

              Preferred setting: Classroom, library or gymnasium
              Equipment: laptop, projector screen, microphone
              Grades – 4-12
              Group size – max 500

              Contact Alessia to book a visit:

              Continue reading “Dickson, Alessia (Vaughan/Toronto, ON)”

              Narsimhan, Mahtab (BC)

              Mahtab Narsimhan- H20-209960 8x10 300Writers’ Union Member. Silver Birch winning author available for school, public library, and conference visits. Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Continue reading “Narsimhan, Mahtab (BC)”