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…

    Becker, Helaine (Toronto, ON)

    Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. National Bestseller. 2+time Silver Birch winner. Multi awards. K-8. Please note: Helaine’s rate is $800 + HST for two sessions, $1000 + HST for three and $1250 +HST for four, plus travel from Toronto.

    Helaine is an experienced and passionate presenter – and so funny that she is often told she should be a stand-up comedian. She can do up to four side-splitting and inspirational presentations in the same school or area in a day. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, non-fiction and YA novels, she routinely presents to an entire school over the course of a day. She also loves speaking to adult groups and showing off her underwear (her underwear puppet, that is).

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