Dee White is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults. Beyond Belief, inspired by the true story of Muslims at a Paris mosque who saved Jewish children was a CBCA Notable and a finalist from 1400 entries in the Screencraft 2021 Cinematic Book competition.
Dee has presented workshops and talks to primary and secondary students and adults throughout Australia and overseas including the SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Amsterdam and the 2018 Sharjah International Book Fair. She runs online classes and activities for writers of all ages, all over the world and her international students come from USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, China and Malaysia.
Dee is passionate about working with students to help them develop their writing skills, and inspiring them to enjoy books and share their own stories. Dee also does author residencies in schools where she helps students create, edit and compile their own anthologies, and runs Professional Development sessions for staff.
Everyone has a story to tell and I want children to know that their stories matter. I want to show them that there’s more than one way to tell their story and inspire them to present it in their own unique way using the medium that they’re most comfortable with. I want to share techniques and tips that authors use when crafting their stories.
Chase the Rainbow
After reading Reena's Rainbow, students will talk about why Reena wants to be part of the rainbow. Students will brainstorm ways to include others in their play activities. They will talk about the colours of the rainbow, and draw a picture using these colours.
After reading Reena's Rainbow and viewing the Auslan version, students will discuss deafness, homelessness, friendship and resilience. They will then create their own acrostic rainbow poems
More Than One Way to Tell a Story
Cupcakes for Sleeping Beauty is a play that introduces students to a fun take on a familiar story. It invites discussion about language, different text formats and making writing fun. The workshop could involve the class performing the play.
A Duel of Words
Using A Duel of Words, students will be encouraged to think about the power of words, the places people live and how this affects their lifestyle, values and identity.
Students will be introduced to debating, and the poetic style used by Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson to argue their points of view in the Bulletin Newspaper in the 1890s.
Your World, My World
Hope for Hanna will introduce students to the life and challenges of a girl growing up in a third world country.
Students will work in groups to respond to issues and challenges faced by children within their own country and around the world. They will discuss resilience, resourcefulness and empathy.
Revolving Around the Sun
Revolving Around the Sun is a play about the Solar System that can be performed by the students, helping them identify the planets of the solar system and their journey around the sun.
Heroes and Villains
What makes a hero and what makes a villain? Where does the inspiration for characters come from and how do you make them authentic. Learn how to pit your hero and villain against each other to create a compelling story. (K9 Heroes)
A workshop inspired by K9 Heroes, four stories inspired by dogs who have saved people's lives. What is the criteria for heroism? What are heroism stereotypes? Can anyone be a hero? Do heroes have flaws?
As well as discussing answers to these questions, students will be introduced to narrative non-fiction and its ability to combine fact and fiction.
Why We Should Care About the Past
How do stories help us learn about the past? Why does the past matter? Beyond Belief was inspired by the true story of Muslims at a Paris Mosque who saved Jewish Children during WW2. This workshop looks at diversity and acceptance and how our perceptions and attitudes can be changed by our experiences. It examines the Holocaust and why stories of hope are so important to us.
Your Story Matters
Learn how to craft stories based on your own personal experiences and identity. Beyond Belief and the Eddy Popcorn books feature boys of the same age from very different worlds yet they have a lot in common. Learn how our experiences and our identity shape the stories we tell and how authors use literary devices to add emphasis and layers of meaning.
It’s All A Big Laugh
Learn how to incorporate personal experiences and humour to add tension to a serious story or add depth to a funny one. What makes a funny story and does it need a story arc and believable characters. Learn about devices that writers use to create humour in stories.
World Building and Research
Dee spent a month in Paris researching Beyond Belief. She shares her research techniques and how she created the world of Paris 1942. She also discusses the importance of verifying your sources and how the internet is full of fake facts.
Creating Compelling Characters
Eleven year-old Ruben (Beyond Belief)who fears for his life in war ravaged Paris in 1942 is very different from Eddy Popcorn who’s the same age but whose biggest problem is that he’s grounded for the holidays for not doing his homework. Yet these characters both compel readers to keep turning the pages. Dee’s session will include getting to know your characters so well that they earn their place at your dinner table. She’ll cover developing profiles and key traits that will make your characters vulnerable, real, flawed and fantastic; staying with readers long after they’ve finished your book.
Putting Characters into Conflict
Get to know your characters and how to create tension and excitement in your story by putting them into conflict.
What Happens Next
Brainstorm your story to identify your big idea then learn how to create a compelling, dynamic plot arc for your characters. This workshop includes creating a strong beginning, raising the stakes and bringing your story to a resolution that’s satisfying for the reader.
In 2021 Yarrawonga College P-12 was lucky enough to have Dee White work with all of our Prep to Year 8 students during her 4 week residency. Dee planned and presented engaging lessons that catered for each year level and she provided a variety of resources to support all of our student writers. Dee helped all students see the value of their unique ideas and she was able to inspire even our most reluctant writers to create stories they were proud of. Dee ran extension workshops to develop the skills of our more capable writers, as well as sessions for the teachers. The impact of having an actual author in the classrooms was profound. Dee piqued the interest of all students and helped them see that they too were writers. All students displayed a more positive attitude towards writing and they all produced stories they were proud of. With Dee’s help, these stories were turned into year level anthologies so our students now have the honour of being ‘published authors’.
Dee was extremely easy to work with and she readily adapted her program to suit the changes that inevitably occur in schools (including a 5-day snap lockdown!). All teachers were impressed with Dee’s ability to tailor her presentations to engage and inspire such a wide range of ages and I would not hesitate to recommend her to work with other schools, both primary and secondary.
We hope to have Dee back to our school again as the experience was such a positive one for all involved.
Thanks to Dee White and Creative Victoria for providing our students and teachers with an unforgettable experience.
Yarrawonga College P-12 - May 2022Yarrawonga College P-12 - May 2022Dee White
Dee White was an inspiring presenter when she ran workshops with our students in Years 3 to 6. The sessions were tailored to the age and learning focus of the groups, the students were actively engaged, asking questions and enthusiastically sharing their own writing. I have no hesitation in recommending Dee White's writing workshops, they're fantastic
New Gisborne Primary School - 2021New Gisborne Primary School - 2021Dee White
Thanks again for giving your talk. It was informative, interesting, and full of useful insights. The students all commented on how good it was.
Victoria University - 2021Victoria University - 2021Dee White
Without Dee’s motivation and experienced guidance, my first picture book creation would not have reached the publication brilliance that it did.
Dimity Powell - 2020Dimity Powell - 2020Dee White