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Touring In: Quebec

Craft: Author

Genre: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction

Ideal Audience Size: 60 (3 classes)

Maximum Audience Size: 300-500 (in the gym)

Grades: Grades 2 – 6

Special Equipment: For a typical presentation, Helaine only needs a chair, a table and a mic if one is normally used in the space. For a large group in the gym, sometimes a PowerPoint presentation will be done, but that’s not typical. If the presentation focuses more on the writing process, then PowerPoint will be used.

Website: www.helainebecker.blogspot.com

 

Canadian Picture Book of the Year, Silver Birch Award, Red Cedar Award, Lane Anderson Award and The Science in Society Youth Book Award

 

Presentation Information

Choose from two entertaining and inspirational sessions:

The ‘She’s a Nut in a Good Way’ Classic (All Grades)

Always fun, always educational, always different! The ‘Classic’ includes hilarious poetry (such as the notorious giggle-inducers, Ode to Underwear and You Can Read ) dramatic interactive readings from Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 and Sloth at the Zoom, impromptu story development and/or done-right-on-the-spot science experiments, all mixed with student Q&A and a hearty dose of literacy love, writing process how-to and curriculum linking. Presentations will be customized to your needs in terms of student age range (K – Grade 12), group size, and curriculum content. (50 minutes.)

or

Making Your Writing Matter

This session requires a screen and power point projector.

What do good writing and a baby-elephant-doing-a-faceplant have in common? Your students will find out  the secret answer to that perplexing question, as well as many others, in this fun and funny exploration of the writing process. Using humorous slides, a heaping spoonful of irreverence and lots of personal anecdotes, Becker will teach the tricks pro writers use to rev up their writing and make it A1. Even more important, kids will also learn why they want to write like a boss – or a baby elephant (Psst – it’s all about power!).

 

Book List

Megabugs by Helaine Becker, illustrated by John Bindon (Kids Can Press, 2019)

Stress Less: Tips and Tools to Help You Chill by Helaine Becker (Scholastic Canada, 2018)

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2018)

Sloth at the Zoom by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Orbie (Owlkids, 2018)

Hubots: Real World Robots Inspired by Humans by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Alex Ries (Kids Can Press, 2018)

Merry Quizmas! by Helaine Becker (Scholastic Canada, 2018)

The Canadian Kids Guide to Outdoor Fun by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Claudia Davila (Scholastic Canada, 2018)

Don’t Stress: How to Handle Life’s Little Problems by Helaine Becker (Scholastic Canada, 2017)

Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive and Thrive in the Real World by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Phil McAndrew (Kids Can Press, 2016)

Lines, Bars and Circles: How William Playfair Invented Graphs by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Marie-Eve Tremblay (Kids Can Press, 2017)

Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Kathy Boake (Owlkids, 2016)

A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Werner Zimmermann (Scholastic Canada, 2010)

Dashing through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Werner Zimmermann (Scholastic Canada, 2014)

Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Werner Zimmermann (Scholastic Canada, 2016)

You Can Read by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann (Orca Books, 2017)

Dirk Daring: Secret Agent by Helaine Becker (Orca Books, 2014)

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Helaine Becker (Orca Books, 2016)

Ode to Underwear by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Mike Boldt (Scholastic Canada, 2013)

Zoobots: Wild Robots Inspired by Real Animals by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Alex Ries (Kids Can Press, 2014)

Gottika by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Alexander Griggs-Burr (DCB Books, 2014)

The Quiz Book for BFFS by H. Becker (Scholastic Canada, 2012)

The Quiz Book for Spies by H. Becker (Scholastic Canada, 2012)

 

Biography

Helaine Becker is the bestselling author of more than 80 books for children and young adults, including the “enduring Canadian Christmas classic” A Porcupine in a Pine Tree and the international bestseller Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. She’s a multi-time winner of the Silver Birch Award and a two-time winner of the Lane Anderson Award for science writing for children. She has had three nonfiction titles recognized by the Junior Library Guild, a Bank Street Best of the Year and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book under her belt.

Helaine wrote her first book at the age of 5. Then there was a long drought. She became a writer because she got fired from every other job she ever had. Luckily, the writing career worked out…so far.

A New York native, Helaine has lived happily in Toronto for more than 20 years. She shares her home with her husband and a crazy Hungarian sheepdog named Ella. (Her two grown sons, wisely, live elsewhere). She likes flowers and ice cream, but not flower-flavoured ice cream.

Helaine volunteers for several literacy organizations and charities, including First Book, ABC Literacy, CODE and Librarians Without Borders. She is also a certified pyrotechnician, so — KABOOM! — expect fireworks at any time.

 

Awards

Helaine Becker’s books have received numerous awards including Canadian Picture Book of the Year, Silver Birch Award, Red Cedar Award, Lane Anderson Award and The Science in Society Youth Book Award. Counting on Katherine, Zoobots, and Worms for Breakfast have all been Junior Library Guild Selections. For a complete list of books and awards, please go to www.helainebecker.com

 

Praise

“I unhesitatingly recommend Helaine Becker. She is a highly skilled speaker with an engaging and funny personality, as well as an author who introduces children to new ideas and gets them excited about the wonders the world has for them to explore. She is comfortable with all aspects of touring and is a joy to accompany for those who have the pleasure of hosting her.”

— Nancy Edgar, Head of Children’s Services, Fredericton Public Library

 

“I am one of the coordinators for the New Brunswick Public Libraries’ Hackmatack Author Tour, of which Helaine took part in May 2018….When Helaine presents her titles to children and answers their questions about her writings and being a writer, she is captivating, highly interactive, lively and imaginative. She is also highly intuitive, ensuring that everyone remains respectful towards one another.

Outside of her presentations, she is timely, professional and courteous towards others. It is clear that Helaine is experienced in regards to author tours. Overall, it has been a wonderful, positive experience to take part in this tour with Helaine.

Her curiosity for our surrounding world and her passion in presenting to children are infectious; she takes us on an imaginative journey with her wonderfuls books and inspires us to keep reading and learning!”

— Catherine Vienneau LeClair, Head of Children’s Services, Moncton Public Library.

 

“The students all loved her great sense of humour as well as her enthusiasm. I know that we all benefited from her visit to our school and we would love to have her back soon.”

— G. Wong, Teacher-Librarian, Castlemore Public School, York Region District School Board

 

“Her rapport with the children was excellent and she was very patient with their many questions.  She held their attention when she spoke and the children were delighted to learn of the different aspects of writing a book.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Helaine as a touring author and I would be delighted to have her visit again.”

— J. Baril, Carleton Place Public Library

 

“Ms. Becker presents material in a fun and accessible way for children. Pulling tidbits from a variety of her books, Ms. Becker entertained the children in an appropriate way. Her strategies included using a puppet when the crowd became restless, a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” rating system for her hilarious poetry, and soliciting ideas by email for future books. She inspired the children and at the same time, left them wanting more. … Helaine Becker is an excellent speaker. I have attended dozens of author visits for children and Ms. Becker is among the best. I hope we will be able to bring her back to the Cambridge Libraries to visit and speak again in the near future.”

— B. Maddigan, Children’s Service Coordinator, Cambridge Libraries

 

“Helaine brought a down to Earth, human element to the role of “author” for our students and the enthusiasm she shared about her career as a children’s author allowed the students to view writing as a fun and carefree activity.  Helaine’s presentation was engaging from the start and she held the children captivated in the palm of her hand for the duration of the hour.  The puppet was a hit and she spoke/sang/chanted in an animated manner so that the children felt inclined to join the fun!  The presentation included a range of her poetry, fiction and nonfiction that the primary students all enjoy from the school library.  Within Helaine’s collection of writing there is something for every student.  In particular, I have been able to “hook” many reluctant male readers with both the Looney Bay All Star series and the nonfiction books like Boredom Blasters.“

— L. Bafaro, Teacher Librarian, Crestwood School (Toronto, Ontario)

 

“It can be pretty daunting to keep a gym-full of 9-12 year olds engaged, but Helaine was up to the challenge. The students enjoyed hearing her speak and she eagerly answered their questions with gusto and frankness. “

— D. Maliszewkisi, Teacher-Librarian, Agnes MacPhail Public School, Toronto District School Board

 

“She had an instant rapport with the students and used humour to capture and maintained their attention for the entire hour that she spoke.  As a successful writer of poetry, fictional adventure novels and non-fiction texts she has great experience to describe the process of writing to students very well.  Her experience with publishing and making presentations was evident.  She tailored her presentation to suit the needs at our school very well.“

— M. Jensen, Teacher-Librarian, Trillium Woods Elementary School, Simcoe County District School Board