Jain, Mahak (Toronto, Ontario)

Mahak Jain

Award-winning author, editor, and educator of fiction and poetry for young people and adults. Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Presents in English to all ages.

Rates: $300 + HST per 60-min presentation ($150 + HST for 30 minutes). Virtual presentations only at this time.

Travel: No travel costs for locations accessible via public transit in central Toronto. Actual costs for locations outside central Toronto; additional arrangements may be required (e.g., transit station pick-up/drop-off).

Mahak’s debut picture book won the South Asia Book Award and was named a CBC Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, and was a starred selection with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. She has also edited children’s books for Penguin Random House Canada, Owlkids Books, Kids Can Press, and Annick Press and developed youth creative writing workshops for the Toronto Public Library. She teaches creative writing at Sheridan College.

For grades 5 and below, she leads interactive presentations tied to one of her picture books, including a reading, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing process, and curricular tie-ins. For small groups, she also incorporates an activity that engages students creatively.

For grades 6 and up as well as for staff, she can lead creative writing workshops, introduce audiences to writing and publishing careers, present on how to write for different age groups, facilitate a discussion and activity on the creative process, or provide time management and productivity tips for creatives.

All venues. Equipment: A screen and projector for PowerPoint; microphone for larger groups or if required for acoustics. Colouring pencils or crayons and writing surfaces for students will be required for some presentations.

Contact Mahak to book a visit…

    Grant, Joyce (Toronto, ON)

    Joyce Grant

    Writers’ Union of Canada member; journalism, fiction, picture books. Rainforest of Reading Award winner, Top 10 Best Books (Ontario Library Association) and Best Books (Canadian Children’s Book Centre). All ages.

    $350 for an engaging, high-energy customized one-hour presentation (in-person or online), $250 for a Q&A session only.

    Joyce is a subject-matter expert on “fake news” and journalism. She is a freelance journalist and owner of internationally award-winning TeachingKidsNews.com.

    BOOKS:

    * Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts, 2022, illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte. Illustrated non-fiction. Themes: Fake news, critical thinking, journalism.
    * Gabby picture books: Gabby, Gabby: Wonder Girl, Gabby: Drama Queen. Themes: text to concrete things, friendship, creativity, phonics
    * Middle-grade baseball novels for reluctant readers: Tagged Out and Sliding Home. Themes: bullying, diversity, teamwork, empathy

    Joyce delivers high-energy, interactive, engaging presentations and workshops for all ages. She has written picture books with a literacy angle, and middle-grade baseball novels that deliver baseball action with underlying social themes (immigration, bullying, diversity, teamwork).

    Joyce is also co-founder of TeachingKidsNews.com: free, kid-friendly news plus curriculum connections. She is a freelance journalist and her popular “How to Avoid Fake News” presentations can be tailored for students or teachers.

    “We were honoured to have Joyce Grant as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Our audience of about 200 people (was) captivated by her content … students were incredibly engaged and just ate up what she had to tell us.”
    —Laura Alopaeus-Gomes, Literacy Lead K-6, Algoma District School Board, 2018

    NOVELS:
    SLIDING HOME
    This middle-grade baseball novel focuses on Miguel, who is holding down part-time jobs so he can bring his father to Canada from El Salvador. Set in Toronto's Christie Pits baseball field.
    (Sequel to Tagged Out.) Themes: immigration, teamwork, diversity, empathy, baseball.

    TAGGED OUT
    Fast-paced middle-grade baseball novel for reluctant readers. Includes a strong secondary character who is gay. Themes: diversity, tolerance, empathy, teamwork, baseball.
    A teaching guide is available free.

    PICTURE BOOKS:
    GABBY 
    When Gabby drops her magic book, all its letters fall out. Whatever she spells with those letters
    comes to life! Includes two pages of literacy activities. (Illustrator: Jan Dolby)
    A teaching guide is available free.

    Also in the series:
    GABBY: WONDER GIRL (Includes question words.)
    GABBY: DRAMA QUEEN (Includes words with consonant blends.)

    PRESENTATIONS—GENERAL INFO:
    Joyce customizes her high-energy, interactive presentations to suit your students and support their learning. She can speak to most ages, but asks that they’re grouped (ie, K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 5+).

    Groups can be small (one to two classes) or larger, depending on how hands-on you want the presentation to be. Presentations for younger students are 40 minutes; for older students, 45 minutes to an hour. All presentations include Q&A.

    HOW TO AVOID FAKE NEWS
    Gr. 4-7
    Identify and avoid fake news—and find the good stuff online. Includes how to think more critically.
    “Practical and engaging. The students are still talking about it, and the teachers have been using your ideas in their classrooms!”

    WORD SCRAMBLE
    K-3
    Super energetic, interactive presentations using scrambled letters. Includes a behind-the- scenes look at how picture books are made.
    “Interactive and fun!”

    CHARACTER, SETTING, PROBLEM, MAGIC!
    Gr. 2-3
    Together, we build an exciting story and then we act it out.
    “The kids loved it—we went back to the classroom and built more stories!”

    WRITING WORKSHOPS
    Gr. 4-9
    Journalism (writing headlines, interviewing, the 5 Ws) and picture book workshops. 
    “Real-world, hands-on learning.”

    GETTING KIDS READING
    Parents
    Parent/literacy night coming up? My popular, practical session for parents will help you get your kid reading.

    HOW TO TEACH KIDS TO AVOID FAKE NEWS
    Teachers
    Practical, popular presentations for teachers and teacher-candidates.

    KEYNOTES AND SKYPE VISITS
    Students or Adults
    Memorable keynotes for conferences and meetings (price to be discussed), and Skype visits
    ($250/45 mins). 

    EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:
    I use PowerPoint, so I’ll need a projector and screen. Oh! And a bottle of water, please. My voice projects well (a-hem!), but if you think your space requires a microphone, I’ll need you to supply that—preferably hand-held.
    I’m fine with small groups (one or two classes) or larger auditoriums. The bigger the group, the less hands-on the session, so workshops are best with a smaller group. I have great presentations for nearly every age group. Here are the preferred grade groupings: K to 1, grades 2 to 3, grades 4 to 6, grades 5 and up. I also present to teachers and teacher-candidates and to parents (ie, literacy night).

    To book Joyce, please send us an email using the form below:

      • Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts, 2022, illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte. Illustrated non-fiction. Themes: Fake news, critical thinking, journalism.
      • Gabby picture books: Gabby, Gabby: Wonder Girl, Gabby: Drama Queen. Themes: text to concrete things, friendship, creativity, phonics
      • Middle-grade baseball novels for reluctant readers: Tagged Out and Sliding Home. Themes: bullying, diversity, teamwork, empathy

      Kerrin, Jessica Scott (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

      Jessica Scott KerrinHalifax-based. Writers’ Union Member. Best-selling English author of 16 works of fiction (picture books, chapter books and middle grade). K-6.  Jessica’s rate is for a virtual visit is $175 (per session, flat fee, with her dog Ivy making a cameo appearance upon request). Her fee structure for in-person visits is: $300 for one 45-60 minute session, $575 for 2, $825 for 3 and $1,075 for 4, plus $50 per session to help defray her travel expenses from Halifax.

      About Jessica’s presentations

      Jessica’s jam-packed presentation to young writers is a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday experiences that she writes stories about. She includes props, audience participation and video clips sure to keep students engaged and glued to their seats. They will learn how to identify sources around them for creative inspiration, understand how brainstorming works to launch a writing assignment, discover how to take an idea and shape it into a story, and develop an appreciation for editing and good writing habits. Reported outcomes following her visits include an increase in library borrowing, an enhanced understanding of the writing process, a surge in creativity, and the application of new techniques for creative writing. Often, students will declare that they’ll be writers when they grow up, too!

      For grades P-3: SENSES – Her new picture book, The Better Tree Fort, features a father/son relationship. Jessica also shares an interest in birding with the characters in this story. She will include a fun mini-lesson on local birdsongs during her presentation that encourages young writers to use all their senses.

      For grades 4-6: DETAILS – Her new middle grade novel, Clear Skies, is a historic novel that depicts the 1960s space race to the Moon while exploring mental health. She will also use this story to demonstrate the importance of including accurate facts and engaging details for better fiction.

      For grades 4-6: STORY IDEAS – Her travel adventure novel, The Things Owen Wrote, explores the relationship between a boy and his ailing grandfather dealing with loss. She features this novel in her presentation to demonstrate where she gets her story ideas.

      In person visits:

      • Maximum number of students per session: 40 – 200
      • Preferred venues: one location, either a library or auditorium work best
      • Equipment requirements: The venue will provide a table for Jessica’s equipment, a microphone for groups over 100, and a viewing screen or whiteboard. Jessica brings the rest (her own projector, speakers, and laptop).

      Virtual visits:

      • Maximum number of students per session: flexible
      • Preferred platform: Zoom or Google Meet. Jessica offers a “technical rehearsal” in advance of presentation

      Maximum number of students per session: 40 – 200 (flexible)

      Preferred venues: one location, either a library or auditorium work best

      Equipment requirements: The venue will provide a table for Jessica’s equipment, a microphone for groups over 100, and a viewing screen or whiteboard. Jessica brings the rest (her own projector, speakers, and laptop).

      Contact Jessica:

        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)”

        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:

          Fernandez, Caroline (Toronto, ON)

          Caroline-Fernandez

          Writer’s Union member. CANSCAIP. SCWBI. Silver Birch Non-Fiction Honour Book Award 2016.

          Rates: $275 for one session, $500 for two, $800 for a full day (max four sessions) + travel expenses outside GTA.

          Virtual visits: $150 +HST (one 60 minutes or divided into two 30 minutes) (Zoom or Skype)

          Caroline is an enthusiastic presenter who encourages interaction during visits.

          Presentations by Grades

          Caroline is happy to work with teachers and librarians to develop a need-specific presentation, but here are some examples:

          Grades JK-6 (60 minutes)

          Picture book reading + author Q & A

          Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan

          When Asha and Baz have a challenge with a paper rocket competition in science class, they use a magic stick they found in the school yard to travel back in time to meet real life rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan.

          Keywords: science and technology, women in science, history, biography, space

          • Stop Reading This Book

          The book judges the reader by their cover. Would you….could you stop reading this book?!

          Keywords: antagonists, protagonists, conflict, resolution, picture book, diversity, bullying, reading.

          • The Adventures of Grandmasaurus
          • The Adventures of Grandmasaurus At the Aquarium Rescue Centre

          Grandma sneezes herself into different dinosaurs on a field trip to the museum. Role reversal story where the kids know the rules better than Grandmasaurus.

          Keywords: inter-generational relationships, non-gendered characters, role reversal, literary non-fiction, diversity, facts, role reversal, dinosaurs

          • Boredom Busters
          • More Boredom Busters

          Let’s dive into busting boredom! Brainstorming on things you can craft using supplies you have around your home or classroom. Great for makerspace and school-vacation activity ideas!

          Keywords: Screen-free activities, recycle/upcycle, STEM, creativity, boredom busters.

          Equipment required: Table. Library or classroom preferred.

          Mid-morning start time requested.

          Caroline also offers book marketing coaching for authors

          Contact Caroline for a visit:

            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:

              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).

              Continue reading “Becker, Helaine (Toronto, ON)”