Kate Foster

Kate Foster

Kate Foster is a children's author writing about friends, family, and dogs. Originally from a small town in the southeast of England, she now lives on the stunning Gold Coast in Australia with her family and second-hand dogs.

Her debut middle grade novel, Paws was published in 2021 in Australia and 2022 in the UK. Her second, The Bravest Word was published in 2022, and her first early reader series, Harriet Hound along with two further middle grade novels are coming in 2023. She is passionate about encouraging and teaching a wider understanding of autism and mental illness via a positive approach and representation in both her books as well as her presentations and talks.

As a speaker, Kate is authentic, enthusiastic, and friendly in her approach. She talks sensitively but always positively and sincerely with children, with the help of an interactive PowerPoint, about autism and mental health, encouraging them to understand the internal, invisible struggles others may be having, to recognise behaviours, and how they can be a better friend to those around them, just like our canine buddies. She shares her own diagnoses with the children with the aim of smashing harmful stereotypes and misinformation, ending stigmas, and passing on her confidence and belief that every child she meets has an important story to tell and deserves to be heard.

Kate enjoys speaking and presenting to children in schools and book clubs, both in-person and virtually, but also to adults, be that parents and carers, teachers and librarians, or other authors, covering why books like hers with positive disability representation are so important to put in the hands of children. Her message is that we can all do better in accepting and helping autistic people be their best selves in environments that allow them to comfortably participate. Kate provides some insight into the day-to-day life of one autistic person as well as how to identify depression as early as possible in children. Based on her own experiences, she talks openly about what we can do to support the young people in our lives, to prevent more serious problems in their futures.

 Kate's Books:

Paws 

Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park . . . right?

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The Bravest Word

When eleven-year-old Matt finds Cliff, a hurt, neglected dog abandoned in the bush, he knows the brave little pup needs saving. He wants to help. But can he?

Harriet Hound

Meet Harriet Hound. She's eight years old, vegan, autistic...... and has an ENORMOUS secret!

The Monday Mystery Club

Small Acts

The Dog and the Lizard in Sunflowers and Nightingales

An anthology of stories, poems and artwork created by children aged 6-13 years, intertwined with stories written by well-known children’s authors.

This unique anthology is a celebration of hope, happiness and love, guaranteed to make you smile. Featuring stories by Glen Blackwell, Kate Foster, Anna Hoghton, Rob Keeley, Karen McCombie, Lizzie Sands, Dan Smith, Lou Treleaven and Nikki Young. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to charities providing vital support to the displaced people and animals of Ukraine.

 Talks:

1. Paws:

Autism, Acceptance, Awareness, and Dogs!

Includes a reading from Paws - (One hour: 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 4-7)

After introducing myself and a fun icebreaker game, I will read a chapter from Paws and talk a little about the book and the themes included. From there, I focus my talk on differences and how this is something to celebrate and accept and nurture. I cover details of how all of us have a unique story to tell, even if we think nothing interesting ever happens to us, and that even those who are not big readers or writers are storytellers too. I include the children in a few fun exercises, before chatting about autism and what this is, eventually circling back to Paws. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.

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2. The Bravest Word: 

 Anxiety, Depression, and Why Asking for Help Matters

Includes a reading from The Bravest Word - (One hour: 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-7)

After introducing myself and a fun icebreaker game, I will read a chapter from THE BRAVEST WORD and talk a little about the book and the themes included. From there, I focus my talk on mental wellbeing, ensuring the children feel comfortable saying big words such as depression and anxiety, and understanding that the brain is as important to exercise and look after as the rest of our bodies. I include the children in a fun exercise, before chatting about the differences between healthy emotions we should allow ourselves to experience and mental illness, covering signs and behaviours to look for in ourselves and our friends. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.

3. Neurodiversity and Mental Health:

What it means to have invisible disabilities and how we can all be better friends. 

Can include a reading from PAWS or The Bravest Word if requested.
(One hour: 50 minutes presentation and 10 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-7)
This presentation follows both a similar format and takes elements from talks 1 and 2.

 4. One Author’s Journey to Publication:

The highs, the lows, and why I love my job

(One hour: 40 minutes presentation and 20 minutes Q&A. Suitable for grades 5-12)

After opening with a fun icebreaker and reading from one of my books, I share details about my journey to becoming a published author. I cover everything from my childhood, where I grew up, and the types of stories I used to write, to some of the pivotal moments in my life which led to what I write now and why these stories matter. I discuss how I honed my craft and eventually chose to pursue publication, before covering details such as the word counts of my books, the time it takes to write them, and the editing process. I offer insight and tips to what it’s like behind the scenes, the hard parts of the job to navigate and the magical moments which make it all worthwhile. I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality.

Length of above sessions can be adjusted to offer more time for Q&A if preferred.

Workshops:

1. Creating Colourful Characters

This is a fun and detailed workshop where I offer tips and ideas on how to create engaging, 3-dimensional characters. We look at every aspect of personality, appearance, and past. I provide a worksheet for children to complete and build their own characters, encouraging them to look at themselves or someone they know for inspiration. With the children's help, I go through the process of building a character, giving them a goal, a conflict, and motivation. I encourage the children to ask “why?” at every opportunity, so they appreciate the importance of a character's back story and allow readers to make strong connections and build story tension. If time permits the children can draw their character or complete a writing exercise where they utilise all the information we’ve discussed.
I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality. A PowerPoint presentation can be provided to keep the children amused and interacting.

2. Show Don’t Tell

This is an interactive workshop where I share my own tips for mastering show don’t tell. Together we cover ways in which this can be included, from the world building to filter verbs to emotions, and help them understand how showing can create a more immersive experience for the reader but why telling is sometimes the right choice too. Together we list ideas on how to show emotions through body language and thought and then work through sentence examples, switching them from telling to showing. With the children's help, I play some interactive games to show the power of everyday observation which can be brought into our writing, taking it to the next level.
I close by inviting all and any questions from the children, and emphasis that no comment or question is wrong and that I never judge and always encourage individuality. A PowerPoint presentation can be provided to keep the children amused and interacting.

(Each of the above are one hour in length but can be modified or combined to create longer sessions.)

Bespoke workshops on most aspects of creative writing can be created for individual class or curriculum needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss.

 

Testimonials

  • Kate’s visit to our school was a highlight of the year! Her presentation to our Year 6 kids kept them enthralled, as she interwove engaging and empowering stories about her journey as an author, her inspiration for writing books, and the writing process itself. Kate gave invaluable lessons about treating others with respect, and her message that, ‘We all have a story to tell!’ was particularly powerful for our students. Teachers and students haven’t stopped raving about the ‘author who loves dogs!’

    Kate also ran a Writers Workshop for our Grade 5 and 6 kids, where she gave fantastic tips and tricks on generating ideas, creating engaging characters, writing riveting plot lines and the mechanics of writing itself. Students loved getting the opportunity to work with Kate as she inspired them to become the authors they didn’t know they could be. I highly recommend booking Kate – we certainly will be!


    Varsity College - 2022

    Varsity College - 2022
    Kate Foster
  • Kate spoke to our year 4, 5 and 6 boys about PAWS in a way which was highly engaging, and appealed to every boy’s love of dogs. She used visual stimulus and personal stories to connect well with our students. The topic of the autism spectrum was dealt with openly, sensitively and in a highly relatable way. Her presentation really helped to foster understanding and break down barriers, and I would highly recommend Kate to schools looking for a rich and valuable experience.

    Anglican Church Grammar School - 2021

    Anglican Church Grammar School - 2021
    Kate Foster
  • Kate is a very engaging and generous presenter. The Grade 5 & 6 children were totally involved in her session - what's not to love when it involves dogs and friendship. The children couldn't wait to get home and read her book.

    Murrarie State School - 2021

    Murrarie State School - 2021
    Kate Foster
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Kate Foster