Bobet, Leah. (Toronto. ON)

Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction. OLA Best Bets selection. Winner of the Prix Aurora Award, Sunburst Award, Utopia Award, Copper Cylinder Award, and Lydia Langstaff Prize; shortlisted for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, Cybils Award, and Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award.

$350 for one hour-long session, $600 for two, $850 for three, and $1000 for four, plus transit costs to public transit-accessible schools, or where transport from the nearest transit stop/station is available. For virtual visits: $275 for one session, 60-90 minutes, $175 for each additional session on the same day. Leah is happy to discuss alternate rates with high-needs or under-resourced schools.

Fantasy novelist, bookseller, critic, and editor Leah Bobet knows the half the joy of reading is getting curious about something new. She gives inclusive, information-rich presentations that make sure to keep things fun—and emphasize the talents participants already have. She specializes in fantasy and science fiction, climate fiction, and poetry, and strongly believes in a supportive, positive presentation style that emphasizes tools over rules. The goal: to make sure students leave feeling confident, curious, and inspired.

Leah works with groups from Grade 7 and up (adults included!) and has given presentations and workshops at Toronto Public Library, Oakville Public Library, London Book Camp, Word on the Street, the Tucson Festival of Books, and universities across North America. Presentations are tailored to fit your group’s interests and current classroom topics, and can be custom-designed for your group with appropriate lead time.

Recent presentation topics include:

Writing Urban Fantasy: Finding Magic in Your Neighbourhood

A workshop-style presentation for fantasy readers, geography classes, or Writer’s Craft groups, this presentation introduces students to the core concepts of writing urban fantasy and finding places in one’s everyday world where magic can fit. Includes a 30-minute writing and sharing activity, and focuses on the basic skill of reading and writing fantasy: seeing wonder in our everyday surroundings.

Where It Comes From: Worldbuilding, the Apocalypse, and All Our Stuff

Using Leah’s 2015 YA novel An Inheritance of Ashes as a basis, this presentation talks about the everyday things we use—sugar, plastic, soap—and how many people’s work goes into building our average day.  Through showing how Ashes builds a post-apocalyptic world without industrialization, the group discusses repurposing, reusing, sharing economies, and how making it yourself can be a lot of fun.

This presentation is great for classes focusing on sustainability, materials science, or environmental studies.

Above and Toronto’s Secret Spaces

Using Leah’s 2012 novel Above as a jumping-off point, this presentation digs into Toronto’s (very real!) underground sewers, tunnels, and abandoned places to explore the cooler side of local history, and how our neighbourhoods are made of not just buildings but experiences.

This semi-interactive presentation touches on fantasy-novel worldbuilding, but prompts students to explore how people move through the same spaces in different ways, consider whose stories we tell

—and think about how we design space for the society we want.

This presentation is a great fit for classes focusing on Canadian history, social studies, or geography.

Poetry is music

Poetry can be intimidating—or not! This presentation draws on pop songs, contemporary poetry, and music theory to show participants how to think of poetry as a house made of sound. The goal: to take down obstacles between poetry and readers.

This presentation is a great fit for English or music classes, or as an extracurricular for school choir groups.

Equipment: Leah is happy to work with groups of up to 75, though workshops will run best when capped at 20 participants. Screen and projector appreciated for Powerpoint presentations; clear sound equipment for poetry presentations. If the room is larger or has difficult acoustics, a microphone is appreciated, as is a bottle of water. For multi-presentation days, a strictly gluten-free lunch or snacks (celiac-safe) are greatly appreciated.

Contact Leah 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:

      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:

        MacKay, Elly (Owen Sound)

        Writers’ Union Member. Author, illustrator, picture books, Forest of Reading, lightbox, paper, children’s books, primary, workshop, art project. Elly’s rate is $275 for one session, $475 for two, $675 for three and $800 for four, plus local travel from Toronto when in the area (either taxi or being picked up by a teacher to accommodate her in bringing her miniature theatre and supplies). Continue reading “MacKay, Elly (Owen Sound)”