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Touring In: Quebec

Craft: Author

Genre: Picture Books, Junior Fiction

Ideal Audience Size: 30-100 (for Grades 3-8); 30-60 (for Kindergarten-Grade 2)

Maximum Audience Size: 300 (for presentations); 30 (for workshops)

Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 8

Special Equipment:

  • A microphone (preferably hands-free) for larger groups (more than 75).
  • A laptop, projector and screen for the slide show for the Grade 3 – 8 presentation which I bring on a USB stick
  • A flip-chart, markers, paper and pens/pencils for workshops

Website: jennifermooksang.com

 

Winner of the 2017 Surrey Schools Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the 2017 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
Shortlisted for the 2017 Diamond Willow Award
Shortlisted for the 2017 Red Cedar Award

Presentation Information

With a background in child psychology, and experience working with children of all ages in educational and health settings, Jennifer is an enthusiastic and engaging speaker. She enjoys sharing her love of reading and the discovery of the surprises that lie between the covers of a book.

Presentation: Grades 3 to 8 (Speechless) 45 – 50 minutes
Jennifer describes the inspiration for, and the writing of her humorous middle-grade novel Speechless. She shares her handy-dandy tips on how to be a writer and enthusiastically encourages students to read, read, read! She talks about the creative process of writing, where she finds her characters, and what happens when she runs out of things to write about. Jennifer put the “pro” in procrastination, and she reveals the secrets to keeping her seat in the chair to write, write, write. Revision is one of Jennifer’s favourite things; she shows samples of her early scribbles and manuscripts, and talks about the kinds of changes a story goes through on its way to becoming a book.  There will be time allotted for questions and answers at the end of the presentation.

Reading: Kindergarten to Grade 2 (Captain Monty Takes the Plunge) 20 – 25 minutes
(Jennifer can do two of these, back-to-back, to count for one presentation)

Jennifer involves the students in thinking about the kinds of things pirates say and do. This is followed by a reading of her picture book Captain Monty Takes the Plunge. Captain Monty is the stinkiest pirate to ever sail the six or seven seas, because he’s never had a bath. His terrible secret? He’s afraid of the water—because he doesn’t know how to swim. But when his lady love is dragged under the waves by an evil sea creature, Monty must finally face that fear. There is a discussion of bravery, jumping in the water when you don’t have your life-guarding certification, and the sharing of pirate riddles.


Presentation: Adults (Writing for Children) 45 – 50 minutes
Jennifer describes her writing journey and answers questions about the writing process, editing and publication. What to do with that manuscript gathering dust in a drawer? Want to write a children’s book but don’t know where to start? Wonder if you need an agent? Bring your questions and get the usual advice – read, write, submit! Okay, maybe you don’t need a workshop to tell you these things but we can have a lovely chat about it all over tea. Bring pen and paper and we’ll start that story together.


WORKSHOPS (Grades 3 – 12)
Using examples from her own journey in writing her novel, Jennifer will give your students the scoop on one or more of the following topics:

  • Where do ideas come from and what to do if you have none—zilch, nada, nothing to the power of nothing? Do an idea generating exercise.
  • Creating believable characters. What you need to know about these people who keep showing up to the party! What does developing a character really mean? Build a character—write a story.
  • How much setting is too much, too little? Jennifer describes it all for you, then you practice.
  • How to make your story exciting. Things could not get worse — let’s make them worse!
  • Editing and revising. This is Jennifer’s favourite part of the writing day. She’ll show you why.

PRESENTATION AND WORKSHOP REQUIREMENTS
All Venues, library preferred.

Group sizes: flexible for presentations, maximum of 30 for writing workshops.

Equipment Requirements:

  • A microphone (preferably hands-free) for larger groups (more than 75).
  • A laptop, projector and screen for the slide show for the Grade 3 – 8 presentation which I bring on a USB stick
  • A flip-chart, markers, paper and pens/pencils for workshops

Book List

Captain Monty Takes the Plunge
Written by Jennifer Mook-Sang
Illustrated by Liz Starin
(Kids Can Press, 2017)

Speechless
(Scholastic Canada, 2015)

Biography

Jennifer Mook-Sang was born in Guyana, South America, and moved to Canada at the age of fourteen. Since she can remember, she’s loved to read. Summers would find her curled up with humungous stacks of comic books. When she’d read those a trillion times over and knew them by heart, she’d start reading her textbooks for the coming year.

Public speaking wasn’t expected of students in Guyana, so when she came to Canada and discovered she had to do a class presentation, Jennifer was a little nervous. But she managed to survive giving a speech about Leonardo da Vinci. Phew! After high school she went to the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo and earned two degrees in psychology.

Jennifer didn’t consider writing until she began reading stories to her own kids. Those books were so much fun and so clever, creating one seemed like the best thing anyone could do. She took writing classes and workshops and read lots about writing. She wrote bad stuff and not-so-bad stuff until she had written a whole book about a boy who really didn’t want to give a speech.

In one of Jennifer’s writing classes, the instructor invited everyone to read something they had written to each other. “It’s good practice,” he said, “for reading from your book when you’re rich and famous with thousands of fans.” Jennifer thought that was funny. Since then, she’s been practising reading out loud and has been thrilled to be invited into schools and libraries to talk to thousands of readers about her love of reading and how her first book got written.

Jennifer lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband, who likes to garden (his last name is Gardner, isn’t that cool?). Her two grown sons are both seriously into technology. And while one prefers to quietly create music and video games, the other really enjoys giving speeches about his work. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer likes to read recipe books and cook things like biryani, cassava pone, and guacamole. She can also twist a mean balloon animal.

Awards

Speechless

  • Winner of the 2017 Surrey Schools Book of the Year
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Red Cedar Award
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Diamond Willow Award
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Langley Book of the Year
  • Shortlisted for the 2016 OLA Silver Birch Award, Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the 2016 IODE Canada Violet Downey Award
  • Commended for the 2017 TD Summer Reading Club
  • Commended for the 2016 Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Commended for the 2015 CBC Best Books of the Year
  • Commended for the 2015 Ontario Library Association Best Bets

Captain Monty Takes the Plunge

  • Chosen for the 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection

Praise

“Jennifer was a lovely presenter. She spoke with passion and her genuine love for books was apparent.”

—Smita Karam, Mulgrave School (West Vancouver, BC)

“The students were engaged throughout the entire presentation and still talk about her visit.”

—Kim Gammel, James Kennedy Elementary School (Langley, BC)

“Her manner was friendly and engaged, and she asked questions that got students thinking as she talked about the development of her interest in … and her process of writing and revising. She had lots of helpful tips for student writers.”

—Susan Perkins, Dorothy Peacock Elementary (Langley, BC)

“Jennifer gave a dynamic, professional and engaging presentation … She explored the writing process in a way that kept students interested and was more than happy to answer questions along the way.”

—Whitney Shantz, Prince Edward County Public Library & Archives (Prince Edward County, ON)

“Jennifer Mook-Sang’s book really got our students at Paisley Road Public School excitedly talking! Students actually jumped up and down … while getting an autograph after her presentation! Watching their faces during the presentation and when they spoke to Jennifer brought me so much joy as a Teacher-Librarian – they were mesmerized by an author and her writing. Thank you for the sincere and inspiring presentation for our kids.”

—Julie Richer, Upper Grand District School Board (Guelph, Ontario)

“Jennifer Mook-Sang is a delight. She was one of our featured authors during our World Read Aloud Day school assembly and was a huge success! She is very personable, approachable, friendly and open to new experiences – like signing around 100 autographs to adoring fans after her visit! She speaks to students in a way that they can understand, and piques and engages their interest through visual cues. Our students loved Speechless because many of them can relate to the character’s experiences on a personal level. Speechless was voted #1 in our Silver Birch category by a landslide! We really enjoyed having Jennifer at our school – and I look forward to booking her at my next school.”

—Melanie Mulcaster, Peel District School Board (Mississauga, Ontario)

“Jennifer’s presentation was well planned and she did an excellent job educating the audience about the writer’s process. She was lovely with the kids, and answered their questions with kindness and patience. A highly recommended speaker!”

—Gayle Casey, Oakville Public Library (Oakville, Ontario)