Home region: Annapolis Valley
Will travel: HRM & Annapolis Valley
Available: October – June. Half day or full day visits.
Areas of expertise: writing fiction, talking about the Kids Help Phone, understanding people with special needs, tools for coping with stress.
Presentation style/ workshop ideas: Daphne talks about the power of believing in one self and loves to help inspire that in others. She uses her own journey of how she became a writer to prove this point. She shows a very short inspirational video and ties it in with writing. She likes to do some warm up exercises to show the students they too have the power to be creative – even if they don’t believe they do. She has tools to help kids overcome fears and worries – shows them how to brainstorm and talks about the importance of not expecting things to be perfect on the first try. Helps them learn the importance of “showing vs telling.” She uses her first young adult novel, Maxed Out as a tipping point for discussions around: special needs, bullying, Kids Help Phone etc.
“Dear Daphne, thank you for your visit. You really inspired the students and myself. The kids are still talking about your visit and they’re practicing the breathing strategy you showed them. We have the believe sign hanging and it serves as a great reminder to all of us. We have one more chapter to read in your book. They are really enjoying it and are very curious when your next book will be published. We had a great conversation about the Kids Help Phone today in class.” – Janet Ross, grade five teacher, RKT Elementary, Dart., NS
About the author: Daphne, a mother of four girls has worked with individuals with special needs for over 16 years. Her first novel, Maxed Out was a nominee for the 2013 Best Quick Read by the American Library Association. Before having children she volunteered on the Adult Help Phone in Halifax which provided her with the ability to use the Kids Help Phone in Maxed Out. She loves spreading the word about this amazing service that they provide for kids in Canada. She is very comfortable working with kids and will put people at ease very quickly. She has a Bachelor of Child Studies from Mt St Vincent University. Her second Middle reader novel, Jacob’s Landing, published by Nimbus is a Hackmatack finalist 2017, a Silver Birch Finalist 2016, Best Books for kids and teens 2015. Her third book, Camped Out (sequel to Maxed Out) will be published October 2017 with Orca Publishing.
BOOKING SCHOOL VISITS: To book a school visit with Daphne simply book through ‘Writers in the Schools’ with the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.
A few weeks ago I visited a writing group for grades 5-6 at Ecole Grosvenor Park School in Halifax, NS. They call themselves ‘The Inklings.’ Cynthia d’Entroment (author of Unlocked and soon to be Oak Island Revenge) is the leader of this wonderful group of students along with grade six teacher Jane Everitt. They meet weekly over the lunch hour and work on their writing. They’ve covered such topics as spying an idea, showing vs telling, dialogue, building suspense and much more.
When talking with Cynthia about what I might do with them, I asked her where the school was located.
I nearly died.
It turned out to be the very school where I attended grades 3-5, but more importantly it was the school I imagined my characters in, ‘Maxed Out’ attend. During the re writes of Maxed Out I had decided to write in all those people who helped me with this story into it as a thank you. Cynthia became the teacher in the first chapter. But, in real life she was then taking her masters and wasn’t teaching at this school. What are the chances? Whether it’s art imitating life or life imitating art – I don’t know. But, suddenly I was no longer nervous.
I decided to talk to them about ‘Feedback,’ both giving and receiving. We talked about the importance of being open to suggestions and how no one writes perfectly on their first try. I was able to show them what my story looked like in the beginning and at various stages of its growth.
When asked, “Do you want me to read or do you want to get right to your writing?” One girl shouted “Write!”
And write they did. We started with a little warm up exercise to get their creative juices flowing. I said a sentence and then each student had to add to it. A few giggles were had as the story got larger and larger. Then I asked them to write for ten minutes. I provided several starter up sentences to help them in case they didn’t know what to write about. When we re- grouped each student read their work and we provided feedback. I was so proud of one little boy because when I had initially read his writing I gave him some feedback around the use of sounds. He took my advice and added some!
A grade six student moved me to tears with her descriptive writing of a personal experience. She asked me to sign her journal afterwards. I felt honoured to be able to once again tell her what a great writer she was.
I’m so thankful she has the opportunity to express herself with the written word, which can be healing, empowering and a pure joy to one’s soul.
How fortunate that these students discover the joy of writing at such an early age.
Having my first young adult novel, Maxed Out with Orca Publishers is symbolic to me – in that I was born in Victoria B.C. It seems appropriate that the ‘birth’ of my first story comes from my birth place. I feel very blessed.