Photo Credit:
Photo credit
Jan Sawyer
Don Sawyer

An educator and writer, Don grew up in Michigan but came to Canada in the 60s, where he more or less flunked out of a PhD program in Modern Chinese History, opening a world of opportunity and experiences he never contemplated. From teaching in a small  Newfoundland outport to training community workers in West Africa to teaching adults on a First Nations reserve in British Columbia to designing a climate change action course for Jamaican youth, he has worked with youth and adults from many cultural backgrounds and  in a variety of locales.  

Don has authored more than 10 books, including two Canadian bestsellers: the YA novel Where the Rivers Meet (Pemmican) and the adult non-fiction Tomorrow Is School and I Am Sick to the Heart Thinking about It (Douglas and McIntyre). The first book in his Miss Flint series for children, The Meanest Teacher in the World (Thistledown) was translated into German by Carlsen (hardback) and Ravensburger. Don’s articles and op-eds have appeared in many journals and most of Canada’s major dailies.

His new book, The Burning Gem (the first novel in the Soul Catcher series) was published by Castle Gate Media in May 2024. 

Don currently lives in St Catharines, Ontario, with his very paient wife of 54 years. 

City: St Catharines, Province/Territory: Ontario
Urban Fantasy
The Burning Gem
Castle Gate Media
Presentation details
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Audience size
Presentation Genre
Urban fiction
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Presentation Description
Presentation description

 virtual and live readings with book clubs, libraries, bookstores 

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School presentation details
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Intended Audience
I've worked with grades 2/3 through high school and ABE
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Presentation description

A Virtual Author Reading in Your Classroom via Skype? You Bet!

You wouldn’t think the kids would have a ball with The Meanest Teacher in the World, but it happens when the book’s author, Don Sawyer, Skypes the whole classroom. His books (The Meanest Teacher in the World and Miss Flint Meets the Great Kweskin; for older readers, Don focuses on Running or the bestselling Where the Rivers Meet ) are fun on their own, but it gets even more interesting when students fire questions at the author.

Here’s  what  Michael  Walkington,  principal  of Bessborough  Drive  Elementary  School  in  
Toronto, wrote last year about Don’s presentation – and the first use of the Skype-­‐ing technique 
in his school:

“What a great way to use technology to excite the students about learning. It encouraged and 
engaged the reluctant readers, and it gave the learning a live event to look forward to and 
provided a forum to understand the author’s intent and motivation. It was a tremendous success with our learners of the 21st Century. I strongly recommend such an activity for a
comprehensive reading program. . .”

Virtual author readings are cost-­‐effective, easily arranged, technically surprisingly simple, 
flexible, and fun. Don, a seasoned teacher, is able to engage learners in writing workshop 
activities, enthuse young writers, and discuss the
writing process clearly and entertainingly.

Presentation Fee(s)
Programs & Interests
Interested in participating Union’s Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program:
All members are eligible for the Union’s Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program. Are you interested in participating in this pro
Interested in participating in the Northern Ontario WITS program:
The Union’s Northern Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program funds in-person visits to northern Ontario schools when possible. Ar