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Touring In: Saskatchewan Northern Region

Craft: Author

Genre: Middle Grade

Ideal Audience Size: 50 – 80

Maximum Audience Size: 120 with microphone

Grades: Kindergarten – Grade 7

Special Equipment: A projector to attach mac to, a screen, a flip chart and a few pens.

Website: www.saraleach.com

 

Shortlisted for the 2019 Chocolate Lily Book Awards
Shortlisted for the 2018 ALA Schneider Family Book Award

 

Presentation Information

Sara brings 24 years of teaching experience to her presentations. She uses her experience working with children to keep her school presentations engaging and age-appropriate. Sara knows the challenges students and teachers face when writing in the classroom. Students leave her presentations with story ideas they are excited to write.

 

K-2 Where do authors get their ideas? (30-40 minutes)
Kids often have trouble finding topics for their writing. Sara will use Slug Days, Penguin Days, Mountain Machines and Sounds of the Ferry to discuss where her ideas for the books started, and how students can use their interests and surroundings as a jumping off point for writing.

 

2-4 What does every story need? (40 minutes)

Every story needs three things – a main character, a setting and a problem. Using Slug Days and Penguin Days, Sara will discuss how the three parts interact and will lead the students in activities to create their own stories.

 

2-4 I know that place! (40 minutes)
A strong sense of place is a theme that runs through many of Sara’s books. She lives in the mountains and spends time on the coast whenever she can, and both make their way into her writing. In this author talk she’ll discuss Jake Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle? Jake Reynolds: Against the Tide, the writing process, and how she used events and locations from her own life to add exciting details to the books.

 

4-7 Where do authors get their ideas? (40 minutes)
Everyone has a story to tell, and authors draw from all parts of their lives (and sometimes those of their friends), to write a book. In this workshop Sara will describe where the ideas for Count Me In and Warm Up came from, and how she used bits and pieces of experiences from throughout her life to write these fictional stories.

 

Book List

Penguin Days by Sara Leach, illustrated by Rebecca Bender (Pajama Press, 2018)

 

Slug Days by Sara Leach, illustrated by Rebecca Bender (Pajama Press, 2018)

 

Jake Reynolds: Against the Tide (Poppy Productions, 2016)

 

Warm Up (Orca Book Publishers, 2014)

 

Sounds of the Ferry by Sara Leach, illustrated by Steven Corvelo (Poppy Productions, 2011)

 

Count Me In (Orca Book Publishers, 2011)

 

Mountain Machines by Sara Leach, illustrated by Steven Corvelo (Poppy Productions, 2009)

 

Jake Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle? (Orca Book Publishers, 2009)

 

Biography

Sara Leach is an award-winning author of books for children. Her newest book, Penguin Days, illustrated by Rebecca Bender, is the sequel to Slug Days, which received an Honourable Mention in the Foreword INDIES Book Awards for Juvenile Fiction and was nominated for the Chocolate Lily Book Award. Her middle grade novel Count Me In has been translated into four languages, and won the Red Cedar Book Award.

Sara has been elementary school teacher-librarian and classroom teacher for over twenty years. She is a frequent presenter at elementary schools and public libraries, both in person and through Skype.

Even though Sara’s grandparents, mother and uncle were all writers, as a child she disliked writing and wanted to be an engineer. It wasn’t until she took an education course in university that she realized writing could be kind of fun (and that engineering wasn’t for her). Ten years after that she saw a bald eagle nearly eat a seal pup for lunch and was inspired to write her first book for children.

Sara lives in Whistler, BC, where she works as a teacher-librarian. She enjoys skiing, hiking and biking in the local mountains with her two teenaged children and husband.

 

Awards

Slug Days

  • Honourable Mention, 2017 Foreword INDIES Book Awards for Juvenile Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the 2019 Chocolate Lily Book Awards
  • Shortlisted for the 2018 ALA Schneider Family Book Award

Count Me In

  • Winner of the 2013 Red Cedar Book Awards

 

Sounds of the Ferry

  • Shortlisted for the 2013 Chocolate Lily Book Awards

 

Praise

“Not only is Sara a gifted storyteller, she is a fantastic teacher. Few people have the skills to engage a gym full of Grade 2 & 3 students, and Sara had them riveted with her entertaining, humorous and sensitive chapter book about a child who has a hard time fitting in. She also led the students through a story building exercise, and together they created characters, a problem, and a solution.”

—Rebecca Wood Barrett, Program Manager, Authors in the Schools

 

“Sara genuinely engaged the students and strengthened their understanding of literary elements and processes.  In addition, she answered their numerous questions with ease that reflected her understanding of elementary school aged children.”

—Renee Kranz, teacher-librarian