Alison is available for both virtual and in-person visits beginning in mid-October. She prefers to stay within 1 hour radius of Edmonton, but will consider overnight travel for multiple days of bookings.
30-minute presentation for K-2 (or Q&A for any grades): $150
45-minute presentation: $200
100-minutes (4-5 sessions): $550
VIRTUAL or IN PERSON FEES (half and full day)
Half day (two 50-minute presentations) $425
Full day (four 50-minute presentations) $600
*Recommended times are 30 minutes for Grades K-2, 45-50 minutes for Grades 3-12
*Audience limit is flexible
Valuing Yourself and Your World! (Kindergarten-Grade 1)
My book What Matters explores how small actions can have big impacts. You’re never too little to make a difference and we’ll brainstorm (and sing about) tiny things we can all do to make this world a better place. I use my picture book Gerbil, Uncurled (about a gerbil who sleeps differently than the other gerbils in her busy cage) to show types of illustration, and to discuss valuing our unique gifts and celebrating our differences (there will be gerbil-scampering, whisker-cleaning, and digging). Finally, we’ll read The Silence Slips In to appreciate quiet times and to brainstorm strategies we can use to calm ourselves when we’re overwhelmed.
Curriculum links: Home and community; environment; citizenship; your unique place; inclusion, diversity, and difference; problem-solving in a group; sharing and showing respect for others; social and emotional learning; self-regulation; resilience.
Writing: Practice and Teamwork! (Grades 2-3)
Do you play sports or piano or speak another language? Practice makes you better, right? Same with writing! We might play my famous YES OR NO? game to dispel some common misconceptions about writing or a fun card game to show that story ideas can be found anywhere, that description, dialogue, and detail make stories come to life, and that editing is super-important. I’ll do a reading from my early chapter book Beatrice More and the Perfect Party, and we’ll also talk about how books are made (with some amazing original illustrations), and the teamwork involved in putting all those books on library shelves.
Curriculum links: Using techniques such as outlines, humour, dialogue, vocabulary, detail and editing to communicate ideas more effectively through storytelling; group brainstorming and problem-solving; sharing and showing respect for others.
Writing Survival Stories (Grades 4-6, and Grades 7-9)
Could there be a topic more exciting and suspenseful than survival? This popular session, which can be an interactive presentation or a writing workshop, is based on my novel Lost in the Backyard. It explores getting seriously lost, which involves action, setting, description, drama, and often wet socks. We also use my other books (Fly and Over the Top) that explore the less overtly intense quest to survive middle school and follow some of the different steps of story-writing: inspiration, research, characters, setting, plot, and editing. We finally peek at the world of publishing and explore the 20+ team of people (from author to graphic designer) that help to get a book ready for publication.
Curriculum links: Using techniques such as humour, dialogue, vocabulary, detail and editing to communicate ideas more effectively through storytelling; group brainstorming, and respect for the opinions of others; family relationships, communication, and discovering connections with others.
Write Like There’s No Tomorrow (Grades 7-9, and Grades 10-12)
What are you waiting for? There’s no magical right time to write. My latest YA, Life Expectancy, taps into the urgency of a character’s realization of their shortened life to explore what’s really important to living. So, don’t wait for the diploma, the degree, or the time: jump in now. In this presentation, I encourage students to journal, blurt and write honest, really ugly first drafts. My first draft of my YA novel Hit the Ground Running (nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Awards) followed months of wrangling with the story. I share how the kernels of stories can be shaped, tugged, and polished through useful elements like dialogue, humour, atmosphere, and description. We’ll also look at the oh-so-glamorous path to publication, including tons of editing, lots and lots of rejection (I’ll share some of my many rejection letters!), the necessity of hard work, a pig-headed belief in your stories, and never, ever giving up.
Curriculum links: Using effective language/symbols; setting and character to build coherent storylines; thinking critically about advertising as communication and manipulation; healthy relationships; self-reliance, resilience, and leadership; building space for creativity into your life
Romp Around: Writing in Multiple Genres (YA-adult)
“Write the story you want to write, then worry about where it fits.” This was wonderful, the-sky’s-the-limit advice from my first editor. I took it to heart: I’ve written a wide range of stories I wanted to write, fitting them all along the spectrum from picture books to early readers to middle grade to young adult. I’ve written short stories, poetry, and a novel in verse, just because it felt like the right fit for the project. In this presentation on writing omnivorously, we look at both the joys (interest, stimulation, and freedom) and challenges (audience, language, organization, building a profile, publishers, marketing, etc.) of writing in a variety of genres.
Curriculum links: Using effective language and symbols; story as an ancient medium relevant to the technological age; thinking critically about issues; healthy relationships and life skills (such as self-reliance, resilience, and leadership); building space for creativity