Available for VIRTUAL visits in: Yukon, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nunavut
Home Location: Toronto, Ontario
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Teen Fiction, Non-Fiction, Hi-Lo Books for Reluctant Readers
Target Audience: Grades 2 – 12
Cost for School and Public Presentation with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes
1) Gross Science Workshop (Grades 2 – 7)
My “Gross Science” presentation is based on my series of the same name for Kids Can Press, consisting of three books: Stinky Science, Germy Science and Poopy Science. They are currently being adapted for television by Shaftesbury Films (Hudson & Rex, Murdoch Mysteries), so a variety of comedic animated two-minute video shorts dealing with those subjects are available to show. It is a lively, hands-on presentation that includes a visit from a Venetian Plague Doctor in full costume. Students will learn fun and amazing things, such as:
- There are more germs on their thumbs than there are people in all of Canada.
- This tiny dot . can hold more germs than the Rogers Centre can hold people!
- Bad breath and body odour are actually made by germs, not us, and more!
Kids will learn practical things (but in fun ways!), such as that the reason they should brush and floss their teeth isn’t so that their dentist won’t nag them but because microbes are constantly pooping acid into their mouths, which rots their teeth! Or why they shouldn’t pick their noses because fingernails make tiny scratches through which germs can get into their bodies! There is lots of audience participation to keep things lively, as well as sneak previews of the animated series based on the books.
2) “How to be Funny” Comedy Writing Workshop (Grades 5 – 12)
My science writing is closely tied to my comedy writing. There is a growing body of data-driven research proving that humour helps us stay physically and mentally healthy, develop social skills, communicate and retain information more effectively, and be more resilient and successful in school and in life. With that in mind, I also offer a workshop entitled, “How to be Funny“. It draws on my years of writing comedy for programs such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans, Air Farce, as well as children’s comedies such as League of Super Evil, Addison, and Jimmy Two Shoes. Although the orientation is on comedy, my workshop is also useful for teaching students writing techniques that apply to all situations, as well as creative problem-solving skills that can be applied in many areas of their lives. The presentation is highly interactive. Students will learn what makes a picture, story or joke funny as well as specific exercises and techniques to find funny things to write about, create funny characters, learn how to play with language and ideas to create jokes with setups and punchlines, how to write puns, and how to create stories with comedic arcs and callbacks.
3) “A Likely Story” Fiction Writing Workshop (Grades 4 – 7)
In my fiction writing workshop, students will learn about how to write stories. Whether novels and short stories or for television and film, there are certain key elements that help a writer engage their audience with stories that keep readers and viewers hooked. In this workshop, I will show the proven techniques that I have successfully employed to write the four novels I have had published so far: STAR Academy and STAR Academy II: Dark Secrets (Penguin Random House), Sink and Destroy: the Battle of the Atlantic (Scholastic) and At Rope’s End (Crooked Lane/Penguin Random House), as well as numerous television programs.
Among the areas covered are: how to create memorable characters, how to grab readers from the first page, how to write the beginning, middle and end, how to add details to draw a reader or viewer into a story, and where to get ideas. My workshop is particularly useful in that it incorporates recent scientific research conducted on hundreds of test subjects measuring physical and psychological reactions to variations on stories to arrive at the 8 Essential Story Elements. To demonstrate those 8 Essential Story Elements, we will analyze a popular story, geared to the age and interests of the students, and analyze why it works and what would happen if we changed crucial pieces of information.
This is a highly interactive workshop where students will participate with me throughout to get to the bottom of what makes a great story!
Maximum number of students per presentation: 100 (35 for comedy and fiction writing workshops) I am comfortable presenting in: classroom, library, auditorium.
Equipment and other requirements: For Gross Science, ideally I would like to have either a video monitor and DVD player or a video monitor and computer with a Wi-Fi link to play back a 30-second musical introduction and several two-minute clips from the Gross Science television series, as well as show illustrations from the books. However, if for any reason your school does not have this equipment, it’s not a deal breaker. There is still lots of great show and tell, and lots of fun interactivity for students. For younger students, drawing materials are highly recommended, as I find that encouraging kids to draw some of the things that we are discussing – germs, poop, dinosaurs, etc. – is a great way to keep them engaged. For the comedy and fiction writing workshops, I require a blackboard and chalk or dry erase board and markers, as well as a DVD player and television for showing some age-appropriate comedy writing in completed form, drawn from my television shows. Students will require writing and drawing materials.
Kay, Edward. Star Academy. Doubleday Canada, 2009.
Kay, Edward. Star Academy Dark Secrets. Doubleday Canada, 2011.
Kay, Edward. Sink and Destroy: The Battle of the Atlantic. Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2014, 2014.
Kay, Edward. At Rope’s End. The Quick Brown Fox & Company LLC, 2017. Adult novel.
Kay, Edward. Stinky Science: Why the Smelliest Smells Smell so Smelly. Kids Can Press, 2019.
Kay, Edward. Germy Science: The Sick Truth about Getting Sick (and Staying Healthy). Kids Can Press, 2021.
Kay, Edward. Poopy Science: Getting to the Bottom of What Comes out Your Bottom. Kids Can Press, 2022.
Kay, Edward and Deidre Havrelock. Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge. Christy Ottaviano Books, Little, Brown & Company, 2023.
Edward Kay was a staff writer and producer on the hit political satire series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during its four most successful seasons and was a contributor to Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans. Since then, he has gone on to create three hit television series for kids, including Jimmy Two Shoes (Teletoon, Disney) and the comedy inflected science series, Finding Stuff Out (TVO). He is the author of three middle grade novels as well as four non-fiction science books for kids, including the Gross Science series, and, as co-author, Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge (to be released in May 2023). Edward enjoys reading and performing in front of audiences, and has appeared at Toronto’s Word On The Street literary festival and the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and been a guest speaker at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.