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Heather McLeod

Heather McLeod

Photo: Arno Kalbus

Heather lives with her family on an old homestead on the edge of town. Writing is her third career. She studied music in University and paid for her education working as a busker and jazz singer. Upon graduation she launched her first career as a singer/songwriter. It kept her on the road for up to two hundred days a year and saw the release of six albums.

In 2002 she left Montreal (where she had lived for a dozen years) and moved to Thunder Bay. CBC Radio had offered her a position co-hosting a daily current affairs program and she decided that was a great reason to make journalism her second career. She won the RTNDA Dave Rogers award twice while at CBC Thunder Bay.

In 2008 she decided to pursue writing as a career. Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!) was the first manuscript she submitted to a publisher - and it was accepted! Then by vote of hundreds of thousands of Ontario kids it was named a 2012 Blue Spruce honour book. That makes Heather so happy she gets giddy.

Thunder Bay


Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince!). Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011


Blue Spruce Honour for Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince!), 2012
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

I am happy to tailor presentation length and focus to fit audience and setting. But these are my templates:

Frogs and Fairytales (JK to grade 2)    

Using songs and storytelling I tell how walking around my farm one spring led me to learn many fascinating facts about frogs, then to change the classic fairytale The Frog Prince until it became Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!). Finally I lead them through the publishing journey from finished story to book.

Note: Frog facts focus on growth and change in animals, daily & seasonal changes and needs & characteristics of living things – which compliments grade 1 & 2 science curriculum.

Try, Try Again (Grades 3-5)  

Using the song / game Mr. Frog Went a Courtin’ I illustrate how storytelling is integral to being human and how that storytelling experience can make you a better writer. I then trace my book from my decision to write an illustrated book that will be read aloud, through finding my “seed  idea”, writing, rewriting and editing my story until it was ready for submission. Finally I describe the publishing journey and all the other professionals who played a role in it.

Note:  Focus on writing for an intended purpose and audience, drafting, revision, edition and publishing compliments Grades 3, 4 and 5 language curriculum.

Recycled, Rewritten, Renown! (Grades 6-12)

As a songwriter, journalist and author I’ve been working to be a better storyteller my whole life. The key is paying attention and revising. Using the Frog Prince and my book Kiss Me! (I’m a  Prince!) I illustrate the power and the importance of refining, recycling and reframing a story.  I talk about what gives a story “legs”, where ideas come from, how to recycle a classic tale and make it your own, and rewriting to suit your medium and intended audience.  Then I describe the publishing journey from pre-pitch research to store shelf.

Note:  Focus on various writing forms, models and genres and the writer’s craft compliments language curriculum.

Presentation Length:
45 min.
preschool to high school and general public
Audience Size:
Workshop Description:

Mr. Frog – the accordion book (grades 2 to 4)     

90 minutes

I introduce Mr. Frog Went a Courtin’ as both a song and a game – one that presumes anyone can make up a verse on the spot. We talk about storytelling as something we all do. Then we brainstorm subjects for new Mr. Frog verses, analyse the form and together write one. I explain the journey my book took from an idea through much rewriting to finished manuscript, submission for publication, editing, design, illustration and printing. They pair up to edit, design and publish their newly written verse as accordion books.


From Freaky Facts to Published Fiction (grades 4 to 8)     

120 minutes

I tell how frogs on my farm inspired me to learn about them and introduce my five freakiest frog facts. Participants then share freaky facts they know. I tell them how freaky frog facts inspired me to change the fairytale The Frog Prince into Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!). We brainstorm as many fairytales as they can name. We then put one (or more) of their freaky facts into a fairytale and see how it changes things. After a break I introduce the six line story skeleton. Using the folded page technique we write together as many stories as there are participants, aiming to fit in as many freaky facts and fairytale features as we can. We talk about revision and editorial feedback then read one of the stories and give it two editorial notes. Finally I explain the journey from first draft of a story to published book and show them how they can self-publish their stories.

Fairytale Reform School (Grade 12 Writers’ Craft)  

180 minutes

I talk about where I get my ideas for songs, journalism and fiction. We compare The Frog Prince to Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!). We discuss how the medium and the audience shape the story. The group splits in two, one half telling Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!) as three newspaper articles, the other half as five tweets. We compare both versions. Then we discuss their favourite kids’ books and brainstorm elements that make kids books good.  I talk about how my chosen medium and audience informed my revisions of Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!). We brainstorm reforms to fairytales. Then each participant prepares to tell a reformed fairytale aloud. Paired off they tell each other their tales then give structured feedback. I walk them through a story’s journey from first draft to store shelf and explain why many authors of children’s books self-publish early drafts. Each then writes down their revised tale. Again working in pairs they design and publish these early drafts of their reformed fairytales.