Anna Kerz

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Anna Kerz

Author, Storyteller
Toronto, ON
Awards

Notable Books for a Global Society Book Award (2012)

Toronto IODE Jean Throp Award (Winner, 2012)

Silver Birch Award (Short-listed, 2012)

SYRCA Diamond Willow Award (Short-listed, 2012)

Hackmatack Children's Choice Award (Short-listed, 2011)

Hackmatack Children's Choice Award (Short-listed, 2010)

SYRCA DIamond Willow Award (Short-listed, 2010)

Rocky Mountain Book Awards (Short-listed, 2012)

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards (Short-listed, 2010)

Genre

Junior fiction (Ages 8-12)

Biography

In 1954 my family left behind the barracks of a D.P. camp* in Austria for a new life in Canada. That new life began in a Toronto rooming house on Kensington Avenue, right at the edge of the market. I was six-and-a-half at the time, but my memories of the journey, the market, the people, as welll as our sometimes funny, sometimes painful adjustments to this new life, have formed the basis for both my novel, 'The Gnome's Eye', and a set of stories called 'With a Stone in my Pocket'.

In Austria I loved going to school; in Canada, not so much. I learned to speak English quickly enough; I loved to read, but spelling proved to be a challenge. Time and again my stories came back bleeding red with corrections. So, working on the premise that if I wrote less, I'd make fewer mistakes, I wrote as little as possible. Luckily, the year I was in grade six, my mother gave me a dictionary for Christmas and my spelling improved. (Over the years I've acquired several dictionaries as well as a thesaurus or two. Without them I might never have gone to university and I might never have found the courage to write.)

As a child I had two dreams. One was to be a teacher, the other, to have a family of my own. Both of my dreams came true because my husband and I have two wonderful children, and four grandchildren, and I got a teaching degree and taught public school for more than thirty years. The students I worked with came from many parts of the world, so my own experiences as an immigrant often helped me understand their concerns and troubles. The insights I got while I worked in my classroom went a long way to helping me write 'The Mealworm Diaries' and 'Better Than Weird'.

While I was teaching I came to understand what a powerful tool storytelling can be. I believe that it's an important stepping stone to literacy, that it helps develop our communication skills and allows us to understand and empathize with people from other cultures.

I suppose I am something of a late bloomer because I didn't start writing until my teaching career ended and my own children were grown. But since then I've written something every day and I've learned, and told, hundreds of stories to listeners of all ages. The day may come when I'll be able to share a story with you.

*By the end of the war thousands of people needed a place to live. They had left their towns and villages to escape the fighting or their homes had been destroyed by bombs. Camps were set up and the people who lived there were called D.P.'s. (Displaced Persons)

 

 

Presentations
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Truth and Story

 

STORYTELLING:

 

PRIMARY: Interactive stories, rhymes and songs from many parts of the world to suit a theme of your choice.

JUNIOR/ INTERMEDIATE: Multicultural tales, myths and legends to support and enhance the classroom curriculum. My stories speak of peace, kindness, perseverance, empathy, justice, honesty and courage. There are personal stories of immigration and tales of Canadian history. All the tales are designed to entertain as they develop listening skills and a love for literacy.

ADULT: Stories to touch your heart and tickle your funny bone.

STORYJAM: An interactive program to help students develop oral language, literacy and presentation skills as they learn to tell stories of their own.

 

Recommended levels: Primary (1-3), Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

Fees: to be determined

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Booktalks

AUTHOR PRESENTATIONs: All sessions are an entertaining mix of reading and storytelling to give students a view of a writer's life. The presentations are designed to make listerners aware of the importance of reading and how, with a little imagination, they can express their own ideas in writing.

 

Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6)

Fees: $250 per session