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:

    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

      Nicholson, Lorna Schultz (Alberta)

      Writers’ Union Member. Fiction and NF. Multi nominations and awards. K-12.Adults. $300 plus HST for 1 session, $550 for 2, $750 for 3 and $900 for 4. Travel will need to be negotiated. She always has accommodations in Toronto and Niagara.

      Lorna Schultz Nicholson has two books being released fall 2019. Just Three is a hi-lo Orca Currents novel, and can be compared to a modern day Parent Trap.  PK Subban: Amazing Hockey Stories (Scholastic) is a non-fiction complete with text, photos and graphics.

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