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Biography

Guyanese-Canadian author NATASHA DEEN writes for kids, teens, and adults, and enjoys visiting libraries and schools to help people to find and tell the stories that live inside of them. Her novel, In the Key of Nira Ghani, was a Red Maple Honour Book, nominated for a MYRCA Award and the R. Ross Annett Award, and won the 2020 Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. Natasha is also the author of the Lark Ba series (CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teens, and a 49th Shelf Selection) and the Guardian series (Moonbeam Award, Alberta Readers’ Choice Nominee). When she’s not writing, Natasha teaches with the University of Toronto SCS and spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house. Visit Natasha on Twitter and Instagram at @natasha_deen and at www.natashadeen.com

Natasha is offering virtual presentations exclusively for the 2022-23 school year

Presentations

Writing is difficult work, and often, by the time students are done learning the mechanics and rules, they’ve forgotten the best part of writing: it delivers STORY and stories change the world!

Natasha’s dynamic sessions celebrate the funny, sad, stories of being a kid and being part of an immigrant family. She uses those experiences to help kids see the power of their own stories and get them excited about sharing their imagination and memories with the world.

Her presentations are designed to be inclusive for students of all literacy levels. They encompass not only the language arts and social studies curriculum needs of schools but also tackle social issues, including (but not limited to) diversity, inclusion, Own Voices, immigration, mental health, bullying, resiliency, racism, family and friendships, independence, and teamwork.

Natasha is also available for writing workshops, including write-ins, Residencies, Master Class, Q & A, and sessions focused on the mechanics and business of writing.

VIRTUAL VISITS

Special offer: Snack Time with Natasha
Bring Natasha in for a short virtual visit!  The session can include a reading of your students’ choice, a Q & A, or something customized just for you!
Time length: 15 minutes
Cost: $50 + GST.

Types of Visits Offered: Masterclass (Q & A, Sessions focused on one aspect of writing (i.e., character), General Writing Workshops, Literacy Presentation.

Presentation & Workshop Fees:  $150 + GST (30-40 minutes), $200 + GST (1 hour); $500+GST (3 sessions – 20 minutes for Grades K-2; 45 minutes for Grades 3-12).

Virtual visits can be divided over a course of days/weeks and customized according to the school’s needs

Audience limit: Flexible
Digital Platform: Flexible (Zoom is preferred)

PRESENTATIONS FOR K-GRADE 2

THE KEY TO IT ALL: Using the Lark Ba series, Natasha helps kids see how stories are all around them and how everyday experiences, like losing a key, can become jumping points for writing.

Themes include: kindness, being proactive, & family relationships
Writing Fundamentals: beginning/middle/end, story ideas, writing inspiration

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, TO THE STARS, AND BACK AGAIN: Fairy tales are fantastic and so is science, and mixing the two together can make for great stories! In this presentation, Natasha shares some lesser-known myths and legends, and connects it with the science to show students how stories and science go together to help us understand the world.

Themes include: science (biology, oceanography), bullying, self-care
Writing Fundamentals: myths and legends, story starters, writing inspiration

 

PRESENTATIONS FOR GRADES 3+

READ, WRITE, AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD: When most of us think of reading and writing, we think of sitting quietly, scribbling away on the paper or getting lost in a great book. But did you know that reading and writing can help you learn how to read minds and see people’s secrets? In this session, Natasha will show how creating characters, sketching plots, and reading books not only help you become a great writer, but also how they can navigate the world. (Taking it over is up to you).

Themes include: relationships, resiliency, self-identity
Writing Fundamentals: cliff-hangers, subtext, minding the story gap

I THINK I CAN: Growing up is hard to do, especially when you feel different from everyone else. In this session, Natasha uses humour to talk about growing up as a visible minority, racism, and how books and stories helped her find her happy ending.

Themes include: resilience, support networks, Seven Habits
Writing Fundamentals: beginning/middle/end, story ideas, writing inspiration

 

PRESENTATIONS FOR GRADES 6+

HUSH. LISTEN. HEAR. SPEAK: Using In the Key of Nira Ghani Natasha shows how our experiences not only help us with writing stories but help us to make sense of ourselves and the world around us. The session helps students view themselves and those around them in a kinder, more positive light, encourages them to tell their stories, and to become listeners to the voices of those who are different than them.

Themes include: mental health, self-identity & self-image, own voices narratives
Writing Fundamentals: point of view, creative non-fiction, character voice

OF MICE AND MUTANTS: Using superheroes as a jumping point, Natasha explores what it means to be the person behind the mask, and how knowing the true arc of the superhero can help students unlock the superhero inside of themselves and those around them.

Themes include: resilience, perseverance, identity, kindness
Writing Fundamentals: Point of View, subtext, deduction

PRESENTATIONS FOR GRADES 9+

THE HERO’S JOURNEY: The hero’s journey doesn’t just live between the pages of a book but breathes and grows in our lives, as well. Natasha’s session shows students how having a hero’s mindset can help them meet their goals in school and life.

Themes include: persistence, strategy, inner power
Writing Fundamentals: plot, character, subtext

THERE IS YOU, THERE IS ME, THERE IS US, THERE IS WE: This session gets students talking about how heavy issues can be tempered with humour, how to find their inner strength, and how being aware of the world around also helps in the creation of fiction/non-fiction narratives.

Themes include: internal dialog, bullying, relationships
Writing Fundamentals: plot twists, writer’s block, who is your audience?

Bibliography

Depth of Field, Orca Book Publishers 2022

Lark Has the Shivers, Illustrated By Marcus Cutler, Orca Book Publishers 2021

Maria and the Plague of Florence, Capstone Press, 2021

Nothing But Net, Illustrated By Katie Wood, Capstone Press, 2020

Danger on the Reef, illustrated by Giuliano Aloisi, Capstone Press, 2020

“Not that Kind of Girl,” You Too Anthology, Inkyard Press, 2020

In the Key of Nira Ghani, Running Press, 2019

  • Manitoba Young Readers Award Nominee
  • Ross Annett Award
  • Red Maple Award Honour Book
  • OLA White Pine Teen Committee Summer Reading List Selection
  • Barnes & Noble Top 25 Most Anticipated Own Voice Novels
  • Chapters-Indigo Most Anticipated Teen Books
  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teens
  • CCBC Red Leaf Literature Selection
  • Junior Library Guild Selection for Reluctant Readers
  • Junior Library Guild Book Club Selection

Softball Switch-Up, Illustrated By Katie Wood, Capstone Press, 2019

Thicker than Water, Orca Book Publishers 2019

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teen, Starred Selection
  • Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
  • Red Maple Summer Book Club Selection

Lark Takes a Bow, Illustrated By Marcus Cutler, Orca Book Publishers, 2018

Game’s End, Great Plains Publications, 2017

Lark and the Diamond Caper, Illustrated By Marcus Cutler, Orca Book Publishers, 2017

Terminate, Orca Book Publishers, 2017

Across the Floor, Orca Books Publisher, 2016

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teens

Gatekeeper, Great Plains Publishing, 2016

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teens
  • Moonbeam Award Winner
  • Alberta Readers’ Choice Award Nominee

Lark Holds the Key, Illustrated By Marcus Cutler, Orca Books Publishing, 2016

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teen, Starred Selection

Burned, Orca Books Publishing, 2015

Sleight of Hand, Orca Books Publishing, 2015

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teen, Starred Selection

The Not So Secret Adventures of Billy Vale, P.I., Blueberry Hill Press, 2015

At Dock’s End, Blueberry Hill Press, 2014

Guardian, Great Plains Publications, 2014

  • CCBC Best Pick for Kids & Teen
  • Moonbeam Award Winner
  • Starburst Award Nominee

True Grime 2: Angel-Maker, Blueberry Hill Press, 2012

True Grime, Blueberry Hill Press, 2011

  • P&E Top 5 Pick for YA Book

Reviews

I wish we would have had the time for her to visit all our students, because each and every one of them would have benefited from her message. The way she wove her love of reading and writing into how it allowed her to rise above the cruelty she encountered was a life lesson for us all. One student came into the library after school and while Natasha ran out to get her book to autograph, I asked the student, “Did you enjoy Natasha Deen’s presentation?” She responded with a very enthusiastic “yes!”.  She said the talk really impacted her and when she looked over at her friend; her friend said “wow, she makes me feel so much better about myself and also about other people!”

Shaula C. , Teacher-Librarian

Natasha’s presentation is a powerful health lesson on the power of believing in one’s self, valuing your self-worth and your power as a person. “I am me, I am strong, I am powerful,” would be a good mantra to describe Natasha’s presentation. All in all, Natasha’s presentation was awesome, and one I would recommend and see every day.

Ryan B., Principal

Thank you so much for coming to our school! Everyone is still talking about what a fabulous job you did! You really left a wonderful impression!

Colleen P., Teacher-Librarian

It was wonderful having you in today. Thanks for helping students and for giving them the experience of how fun writing can be. We are truly grateful. You are welcome back anytime!

Monica R., Teacher

You were amazing – the kids were engaged and the teachers want to know when you can come back.

Lisa M., Principal

Two months after your visit, we’re still talking about it!

RoseAnn J., Library Technician

You know how to read an audience and capture their attention. You kept our students on their toes!

Lisa H., Teacher-Librarian

You had our students engaged—even the ones that never do! You enthralled them!

Kari-Ann E., Teacher-Librarian

The kids enjoyed your presentation and I can’t stop gushing about how awesome you are!

Krista L., Teacher-Librarian