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…

    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:

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    Camlot, Heather (Toronto, ON)

    Writers’ Union Member. Fiction and nonfiction writer. Heather’s rates are $250 for one session, $450 for two, $650 for three, $800 for four/full day (may be shared with a neighbouring school). $150 for a virtual visit. HST applies. No travel costs within Toronto. Able to present in English and French.

    Heather is an award-winning children’s author, journalist, editor and translator. Her debut novel, Clutch, received a 2018 Skipping Stones Honor Award and a starred selection in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Spring 2018 Best Books for Kids and Teens. Clutch was also named a 2017 Best Book from Kirkus Reviews.

    In 2020, she released two new books: the middle-grade nonfiction What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? (available in French as Et si les soldats se battaient avec des oreillers ?) and the middle-grade novel The Other Side.

    In her presentations, Heather aims to entertain and educate, leaving the audience interested in writing fiction and nonfiction as well as looking into their own history for inspiration.

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    Anderson, R.J. (Stratford)

    Writers’ Union Member. Author of thrilling yet thought-provoking speculative fiction for children and teens. $300 for one hour-long session, $525 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for a full day, plus mileage for visits outside local area. Willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius from Stratford (which includes most of the GTA); open to travelling further if accommodation and meals are provided.

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    VanSickle, Vikki (Toronto)

    Vikki VanSickle 2021 credit Connie Tsang
    Photo credit: Connie Tsang

    Writers’ Union Member. Dynamic presenter, writer and publishing professional. Red Maple Winner. Interactive presentations, related activities,  customization available. All ages. $300 + HST per presentation; $500 + HST for 2 + travel for locations outside Toronto.

    Primary School Presentations

    JK- Gr 3:  EXPLORING PUBLIC ART WITH ANONYMOUSE. Students learn about the power of public art and are given the tools to find beauty and mystery in their own neighbourhoods. Including examples from Vikki’s own pandemic walks in urban Toronto, this is a timely and inspiring introduction to art and community. VIRTUAL EVENT $300+ HST for a 30-40 minute presentation.

    JK- Gr 3: TEDDY BEAR OF THE YEAR PICNIC & SERVICE AWARDS. Students are invited to bring their teddies or stuffies to school for a virtual teddy bear’s picnic! A cozy event that celebrates small acts of kindness and promotes social emotional learning. Digital activity kit including customizable Teddy Bear of the Year certificates available. VIRTUAL EVENT: $300 + HST for 30-40 minute presentation. 

    JK- Gr 3: MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES & IF I HAD A GRYPHON  In this presentation students are asked to consider objects from a bag of clues to determine what kind of pets may be in this book about mythological creatures. Digital teacher’s guide and printed activities available. A fun introduction to mythological creatures and inferencing, based on IF I HAD A GRYPHON, finalist for the 2017 Blue Spruce & Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award. VIRTUAL event: $300 + HST for 30-40 minute presentation. 

    Gr 5-8: THE WINNOWING. This presentation focuses on Vikki’s Red Maple award-winning novel, THE WINNOWING and explores the possibilities of Vikki’s two favourite words, WHAT IF? Includes an introduction to alternative history and conspiracy theory. Digital discussion guide available. VIRTUAL EVENT $300 + HST for a 40-60 minute presentation.

    GR 5-8: SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS. This presentation is built around 2015 Red Maple finalist SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS and focuses on writing historical fiction and exploring the music and culture of the 1960s. It includes trivia and a discussion of character building featuring music clips. Students will be asked to take part in the Summer Days, Starry Nights Playlist Project. Digital discussion guide available. VIRTUAL EVENT $300 + HST for a 40-60 minute presentation.

    Req: projector, surface to project onto, mic for large groups/gym presentations Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers’ groups,) writers’ craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study. Contact her for more details. Vikki can also tailor presentations for adults (especially teachers, librarians and writers’ groups,) writers’ craft students or schools that are interested in a class novel study.

    Contact Vikki to book a visit:

      Bender, Rebecca (Burlington ON)

      Author-Illustrator. Burlington, ON. Writers’ Union Member. Blue Spruce winner. Mainly K to 3, but also any age.

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

      In-person: $350 plus HST for 1 session, two for $600, three for $800 and four for $1000, + travel for destinations further than 50 km.

      Rebecca has been working as an illustrator, designer, and art director in children’s publishing for over 10 years. She brings her expertise of book and story creation to her talks in hopes of generating a creative buzz among her audience. She is the author-illustrator of the popular Giraffe and Bird books and this year Giraffe and Bird Together Again has been nominated for the OLA Blue Spruce Award.

      Presentation

      Rebecca’s goal is to inspire children to imagine their own characters and stories and to act on it! The students will take part in creating illustrations, drawn live before their eyes, that will bring forth story ideas and animated discussion. She shares her journey of becoming an author-illustrator and her process for coming up with ideas. Rebecca requires an easel, chart paper, table, and a chair and prefers a maximum of 65 students per presentation.

      For larger groups, a variation of this presentation is done with slides. Please note a projector and sound system is required for this option.

      Workshop

      Rebecca also offers a workshop on jump-starting a picture book. She shows the students how to go from creating a strong central character to a solid story idea. For this, tables or clipboards and basic drawing supplies are necessary.

      Contact to book Rebecca:

        Bailey, Linda (Vancouver BC)

        Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member and eligible for subsidies. Vancouver BC. Writers’ Union Member and eligible for subsidies. Multiple award-winner across Canada including Blue Spruce (x2), Silver Birch and Arthur Ellis (x2) Awards, as well as in the U.S. (California Reading Medal, Georgia Storybook Award).

        PLEASE NOTE: Linda is NOT currently doing visits

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        Bass, Karen (Hamilton, ON)

        Hamilton. Writers’ Union Member. MG + Teen fiction, Canadian history, Indigenous folklore, WWII, German perspective, YA, Geoffrey Bilson, CLA YA, multiple award-winner.

        $275 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions) plus mileage.

        Skype rate: $100 for a 45 minute session.

        Karen is passionate about reading and loves making history come alive for readers. She frequently shares her broad WWII knowledge with groups of people from 10 years old to seniors. And she has done workshops with students as young as grade three, though usually focuses on secondary students and adults. She not-so-secretly loves action and adventure, with a splash of fantasy.

        Presentations:

        Karen is an enthusiastic presenter and likes to interact with students. She brings props and costumes, and loves to bring her historical knowledge to life by showing students what they would have experienced, during WWII and in pre-Confederation Canada. Almost all presentations touch on the writing process and, especially, the importance of revising.

        Examples of presentations by grade:

        3 to 6: Writing Workshop – Dynamic Descriptions. A sixty-minute interactive romp that encourages students to improve their storytelling using metaphors and strong verbs & adjectives.

        Two Times a Traitor: (4 to 8) pre-Confederation, history, Canadian history, 7 Years War, life in 1700s, identity, French & English conflict. Powerpoint pictures with costume/props.

        The Hill: Covers identity, Indigenous stories, Indigenous folklore, Cree legend, Cree culture. Indigenous in modern society, cultural conflict, economic disparity. Powerpoint pictures.

        5 to 12: The WWII history in Karen’s stories, with age-appropriate anecdotes. With Powerpoint pictures & props.

        Uncertain Soldier: Covers identity, immigration, coming to Canada, bullying, racism, WWII, prisoners of war, living in the 1940s.

        Graffiti Knight: Covers freedom of expression, protest movements, graffiti as protest, WWII, Soviet Zone, post-WWII Germany, living in war-torn countries.

        Run Like Jager: Covers friendship, bullying, student exchange programs, immigration, WWII, Germany, Eastern Front in WWII.

        Blood Donor:  “How I Learned to Love Outlining” Covers story ideas, writing methods, writing craft, teen homelessness, thrillers, YA, reluctant readers.

        7 to 12 & Adult Workshop Topics: characters, plot, dialogue, writing action. Other topics upon request.

        Maximum group size: 40-50 for optimum interaction in talks, 100 with microphone. 16 or so for workshops.

        All venues. Libraries preferred.

        Equipment required: a table, water, laptop & projector for Powerpoint, microphone for larger groups or in the gym.

        Contact Karen to book a visit

          Winters, Kari-Lynn (St. Catharines)

          St. Catharines. Writers’ Union Member. World traveling picture book and non-fiction author, storyteller, and performer. $375.00 for one session (50-55 min), $600.00 2nd 50-55 min session, $850.00 3rd 50-55 min session, $1000.00 4th 50-55 min session. 30 min. sessions for kindergarten are $175.00 when booked with at least of one full 55 min session + return travel to St. Catharines.
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