natasha2

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Touring In: Northwest Territories

Craft: author

Genre: early chapter books, junior fiction, YA, teen

Ideal Audience Size: flexible

Maximum Audience Size: Kindergarten-Grade 2: 60 (flexible); for older students, there is no preference.

Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 12, plus adults

Special Equipment: Overhead projector, access to sound for the iPad, and a microphone if the audience is larger than 80 students or if the venue is large.

Website: www.natashadeen.com

Winner of the 2015 Moonbeam Award (Bronze)
2015 Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection

Presentation Information

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2 Literacy Presentation
Her sessions are curriculum based and specifically designed to be inclusive to all students, regardless of literacy levels. Students will learn how to:

Find story ideas
Think critically
Organize their information
Communicate effectively

Connections to Language Arts include:
brainstorming
working in a group
respecting others thoughts and ideas

Connections to the world include:
family relationships
multiculturalism
deductive thinking

Using the Lark and Conner mystery series as a jumping point, Natasha talks to the students about how story is all around them and how something simple—like losing a key—can make for an exciting adventure!

The presentation helps kids celebrate their unique talents, personalities, and abilities, and how they are important to the people around them. It is also designed to get them excited about the process of learning how to read and write.

Audience size: maximum of 100 students
Session Length: 40 minutes

The sessions with division one students includes stand and stretch breaks so children get a chance to get up and move around.

Grades 3 to 6 Literacy Presentation

Her sessions are curriculum based and specifically designed to be inclusive to all students, regardless of literacy levels. Students will learn how to:

Find story ideas
Think critically
Organize their information
Communicate effectively

Connections to Language Arts include:
setting
character
editing

Connections to the world include:
bullying
friendship
leadership

One of the big lessons of this presentation is that while writing can be difficult, it’s always worth it, because writing is story and story changes the world! Natasha takes the students on a trip from her early childhood in Guyana and dealing with snakes, vampire bats, and floods, to her growing up in Alberta and some of her not so fun adventures (like racism, bullying) as well as some funny moments (like her disastrous attempts to make friends). The thrust of this session is to get kids excited not just about story but to get them excited about their story, and putting those ideas on paper.

Audience size: maximum of 400 students
Session Length: 60 minutes

Grades 6 to 9 Literacy Presentation

Her sessions are curriculum based and specifically designed to be inclusive to all students, regardless of literacy levels. Students will learn how to:

Find story ideas
Think critically
Organize their information
Communicate effectively

Connections to Language Arts include:
audience
genre
plot

Connections to the world include:
social agencies/resources
self-reliance
forgiveness

Two of her novels, Sleight of Hand and Burned deal with serious topics such as the justice system, homelessness, and corruption of justice officials. This session gets students talking about how heavy issues can be tempered with humour, the importance of the reader in the story, and how to work through writer’s block. Natasha also talks about how our lives and experiences are a jumping point for story ideas and how being aware of the world around us also helps in the creation of fiction/non-fiction narratives.

Audience size: maximum of 400 students
Session Length: 60 minutes

Grade 9 to 12 Literacy Presentation

Her sessions are curriculum based and specifically designed to be inclusive to all students, regardless of literacy levels. Students will learn how to:.

Find story ideas
Think critically
Organize their information
Communicate effectively

Connections to Language arts include:
critical assessment of text
organizing non-fiction and fictional narratives
the use of symbols to express and represent ideas

Connections to the world include:
self-identity
independent thinking
social constructs

Using her childhood experiences with racism and her family’s history with enslavement and indentured servitude, this presentation is geared to getting students to understand the power of words and how the story format is used in all facets of life. Natasha talk about how concepts like focusing and directing reader’s attention, reading character clues, and plot twists show up not just in fictional stories, but in non-fiction narratives, as well.

Audience size: maximum of 400 students
Session Length: 60 minutes

Adult Writers Literacy Presentation

Sessions for adult students are customized according to the organization’s needs. Some examples of presentations include:

Publishing – Independent versus traditional
Querying agents and publishers
How to plot a novel
Time management for the emerging writer

Audience size: 75 students
Session Length: 60 minutes

Using the Lark and Conner mystery series as a jumping point, Natasha talks to the students about how story is all around them and how something simple—like losing a key—can make for an exciting adventure!

Book List

Lark and the Diamond Caper
(Orca Book Publisher, 2017)

Terminate
(Orca Book Publisher, 2017)

Lark Holds the Key
(Orca Book Publisher, 2016)

Across the Floor
(Orca Book Publisher, 2016)

Gatekeeper
(Great Plains Publishing, 2016)

Burned (Orca Book Publisher, 2015)

Sleight of Hand
(Orca Book Publisher, 2015)

The Not So Secret Case Files of Billy Vale, P.I.
(Blueberry Hill Press, 2015)

Guardian
(Great Plains Publishing, 2014)

At Dock’s End
(Blueberry Hill Press, MG, 2014)

True Grime 2: Angel Maker
(Blueberry Hill Press, MG, 2012)

True Grime
(Blueberry Hill Press, MG, 2011)

Biography

So, here’s my confession. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. The deeper confession? I really wanted to be a superhero. My family immigrated from Guyana to Canada to escape the country’s political and racial violence, which was great. But when I was growing up in Calgary, I was often the only coloured kid in class and usually the only mixed race kid, too (Chinese, African, West-Indian, East-Indian), which led to funny moments and moments I wish I could forget. For sure, I grew up feeling different from…well, everyone. Thank goodness for books and comic books, cause boy, where those things *full* of weird, oddball, don’t-quite-fit-in characters who actually turned out to be amazing and cool and, yep, kind of super-heroic.

Which was awesome because it meant I could live through their adventures. I knew I’d never grow up to be a superhero. I’m scared of bugs, trip over my feet, and am easily defeated by anything bright and shiny. Superman will never invite me to join the justice league. So I went to university and got a degree in Psychology *but* wouldn’t you know it, while I was there, I found out something amazing. Actually, I found out a bunch of somethings amazing. Like stories change brain chemistry and writing can boost your immune system and help speed up the body’s heading process. And, oh yeah, when you read, it’s like this crazy, amazing, awesome literary magic trick between you and the writer.

How cool was that? Reading and writing, the things I did because it made me feel okay to be different, actually turned out to be superpowers. Finally, *finally* I could be a superhero. More than that, through my characters I could be anything I wanted to be. And best of all, I could write stories that help kids find their inner superhero.

I write for kids and teens, and I love mixing mystery, action, and creepy with a whole lot of humour.  My books have been described as “gripping” (School Library Connection), “engaging” (CM Magazine) and “feel good” (VOYA).

The funny, sad, embarrassing moments of my life aren’t just part of my books, they’re part of my presentation, too. I love using all the times I felt different to show kids that at heart, we’re all the same. Students enjoy my sessions because I make them laugh and help them see it’s okay to be different. Teachers appreciate the presentations because they connect with curriculum and showcase writing skills in easy to implement ways.

My latest works include the Across the Floor, Lark Holds the Key (the Lark Ba series), and Gatekeeper (the Guardian series). Oh, and my final confession? Writing is the hardest thing I’ll ever do, but I love it, because writing is story and stories change the world.

Twitter: @natasha_deen | Blog

 Awards

Sleight of Hand

  •  CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens 2015 Starred Selection

Guardian

  • CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens 2014 Selection
  • Winner of the 2015 Moonbeam Award (Bronze)

Praise for Natasha Deen

“I just wanted to thank you again for your wonderful presentation. My class and I have spent a lot of time discussing your stories, ideas, and passion for writing. We had an engaging conversation today about your ability as a storyteller. You had us all captivated—one of my students said, “She wields words like magic!” I couldn’t have phrased it any better.”
Ms. Ayers, Teacher

“Thank you for the great presentation—it was truly amazing hearing and watching storytelling at its best.’
—Ms. Odonalcook, Teacher

“Everyone very much enjoyed your presentation. One student told his teacher he cried during the presentation because your stories touched him (I’m not kidding—that’s what he said!)”
Ms. Petras, Teacher-Librarian

“I’ve heard nothing but great feedback from everyone. The staff and students all raved about the awesome presentation. You really reeled them in hook, line, and sinker. I hope to work with you again one day!”
Ms. Hearsey, Teacher

“You are delivering very important messages to Canada’s young people. Keep up the awesome work!”
Ms. Cowan, Teacher-Librarian

“We were all lost in your animated stories, unaware at first, that each journey would lead us to understand the effects of racism, bullying, growing up and overcoming awkward moments, living with imperfect family members, developing a sense of compassion…Students and staff members of many ages and backgrounds were riveted by the chronicles of your life.  You did not simply give a talk, but a gift, to our children.”
Ms. Ellery, Teacher

“You know how to read an audience and capture their attention. You kept our students on their toes!”
Ms. Hautcoeur, Teacher-Librarian

“Thanks for giving our students the experience of how fun writing can be. We are truly grateful. You are welcome back anytime!”
Ms. Riemann, Teacher

“The kids enjoyed your presentation and I can’t stop gushing about how awesome you are.”
Ms. Labelle, Teacher-Librarian

“My colleagues raved about your presentation and how you were able to engage students with such ease.”
—Ms. Longthorne, Teacher

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