School Visits / Writing & Publishing Workshops

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 8.51.39 AMOne of my favourite things to do is to visit schools and talk to students about the writing process, books and publishing. I also give writing and publishing workshops to groups of all ages. With COVID, I am visiting schools virtually, which allows me to speak anywhere in the world!

Other topics covered include getting an agent, publishing, writing, conservation and Ancient Egypt. Please send me an email if you’d like me to come and speak with your group.

Usually I give a brief background of my writing and agenting experience and how/why I was inspired to write my novel, do a short reading from my book, then focus on one of the areas below or combine elements from each. All workshops can be customized.

Creative Writing Workshop

Students are given soScreen Shot 2015-10-24 at 8.54.02 AMme warm-up questions to discuss in groups, for example: “What are your favourite genres?”, “What makes you keep reading a story?”, and “What are some things you like/don’t like to see in books?”. Moving into the creative writing component of the class, I typically focus on setting or a sense of place, as this is something that plays an integral part in my own writing. I have students think of a place that they love or thought was interesting and write a descriptive paragraph, making sure to use all five of their senses. Depending on the group, I sometimes have them switch with a partner and, with guidance, have them offer constructive feedback.

Publishing Woavanti-networkingeventseptember29_Alishafacebookrkshop

Usually for teens or an older audience, I discuss the ins and outs of publishing a novel. From concept creation to book deals with traditional publishers vs. self-publishing, I take students through the entire journey and answer any questions they might have. Putting the students in groups or pairs, I then have them come up with a concept for a book to pitch to the “publisher”. This involves a catchy title, a brief description of the plot and characters, and those with artistic inclinations often enjoy creating a sample book cover to go with their presentation. Writers’s groups may present their own projects.

Environmental (or other) Themes in Writing

Here I delve deeper into my own eScreen Shot 2015-10-24 at 8.52.59 AMxperiences and what inspired me to write Kissing Frogs (my travels to Panama and learning about their culture and conservation issues affecting the frogs there and around the world). I have students discuss themes that they think are important in literature and why. I encourage children to talk about books that have affected them or that they really enjoyed. Students are then asked to choose an endangered animal and encouraged to do some research on it (if there’s access to materials or computers – the library is an ideal place for this) and write a paragraph based on the viewpoint of the animal then read to a partner.

Reading / Colouring Workshops for Younger Audiences

For younger audiences I usually read the original version of “The Frog Prince” fairy tale and ask the children basic comprehension questions. “What did the frog get from the well for the Princess?” I then hand out print-outs of frog/jungle colouring pages for a fun hands-on activity.

 

2 comments

  1. Nicole Gregoire says:

    Hello Alisha,

    We are very pleased to announce that the Bibliothèque Régionale Jolys Regional Library is running its second year of Junior Book Club. The participants named their book club “The Imaginative Dreamers”.

    The book club is designed specifically for children aged 8 to 12. We read Canadian authors featured by MYRCA (Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards). The 2021-2022 program will include French titles from Forest de Lecture (Prix Tamarac). Each participant gets to keep a copy of each book to add to their personal collections. We meet virtually twice a month. The first meeting we discuss plot, characters, make predication and discuss themes from the book. Typically, our last meeting is to discuss our final thoughts, delve deeper into themes and sometimes we have the honour of meeting the author virtually for a short Q & A, which is so rewarding to the readers.

    The Lost Scroll of the Physician is one of the books we will be reading. We will be meeting on February 10 & 24, 2021 at 4 pm CT. Would you consider meeting our group?

    We have accessed the readers guide from your website. I absolutely love how comprehensive it is. I wish every title we read had this resource.

    Lastly, each participant keeps a Reading Journal, we would be so grateful if you would share any promotional items from your book.

    We hope to hear from you soon.

    Sincerely,
    Nicole

  2. Marie Wallden says:

    I am the teacher librarian at an elementary school in Prince George. Our school will be participating in the Red Cedar District Battle of the Books and we are hoping to kick off the reading preparations with virtual author visits with our intermediate students. I cannot find any contact information on your website so I am hoping this comment will be seen. I hope to hear from you. Thank you.

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