Author Visits

Jessica loves talking books and craft with readers and writers of any age and is available for virtual and in-person school visits, festivals, conferences, and webinars. She is based in the Kitchener/Waterloo region of Ontario and willing to travel (the nearest airports are Waterloo and Toronto). Sessions can be customized for your needs or selected from the following:

SCHOOL VISITS (GRADES 4-8)

The Story Behind the Story (45-60 minutes)
This presentation includes the inspiration behind The Rabbit’s Gift, a short reading, stories of tenacity and perseverance related to the author’s unusual childhood and her 14 year journey to publication, and a peek at the revision process (including the most important item in her writer’s toolbox!). For small or large groups. Q&A included.

Stand Out from the Crowd: Creating Compelling Characters (45-60 minutes)
In this hands-on writing workshop, participants look at what makes characters come alive in readers’ hearts and minds and learn how to develop memorable characters using the author’s secret technique to show and not tell. For small or large groups (and can be geared for adults).

“Jessica’s presentation was so inspiring and energizing for our fifth and sixth grade students! Her stories – both on and off the page – are magnetic. A couple of our more reluctant learners sought Jessica out after the talk to connect with her and have their photos taken. What a wonderful celebration of reading and writing!” ~ Ms. Zuk, Elementary School Librarian

“Jessica did a beautiful presentation for my 7th grade reading classes. My students were engrossed! At the end, she answered all of their questions about being an author, the writing process, and everything in between. It was such a fantastic experience for my students!” ~ Ms. O’Connell, 7th Grade Teacher

“Jessica . . . told engaging, relatable stories for our middle school students. She . . . also left the kids with a positive message that they, too, can achieve their dreams however out of reach they may seem.” ~Ms. Bartlett 7th grade ELA teacher.

CRAFT CLASS (FOR ADULTS)

The Building Blocks of Story (45-60 Minutes)
Using the building blocks of story, we’ll work through a flexible pre-writing strategy that provides authors with a framework to draft a novel without bogging them down or making the drafting process feel too prescriptive. For small or large groups (adults only).

“Your presentation totally changed my life! It was so incredibly helpful and exactly what I needed for my writing.” ~Amy P., Workshop Attendee

This was, seriously, one of the best writing classes I have attended!” ~ Workshop Attendee

Virtual school visits are $250/hour. To schedule a visit or inquire about an in-person presentation, please email info@jessicavitalis.com.

Technical requirements
*Microphone (where necessary)
*Projector
*Laptop (Jessica will provide a PowerPoint presentation on a USB.)

Preparing for an author visit
*Offer students opportunity to pre-purchase the author’s book
*Generate enthusiasm by working on book-related projects, costumes, posters, etc.
*Coordinate travel plans, emergency contact, presentation schedule, food, and equipment with the author
*Publicize the event
*Get kids involved in greeting the author, etc.
*Most important: have fun!

More tips available at: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/teaching-tools/collections/author-visits.html

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer any resources to help my students prepare for your visit or use your books in my classroom?
Yes! A teaching guide for The Wolf’s Curse is available here (The Rabbit’s Gift teaching guide will be available soon.)

How do I coordinate for my students to buy your book?
It’s best to work through your local indie; please reach out if you need assistance or a flyer to distribute!

Why do you charge for school visits?
My time is valuable! As an author, it’s also best spent writing my next book; I can only justify leaving my desk if I’m compensated accordingly.

What if our school can’t afford your fees?
Consider reaching out to your parent groups for fundraising support. In the U.S., there are also grants available to fund author visits. U.S. Grants

Do you speak to non-literary conferences and professional organizations?
Yes! Jessica can speak to a variety of topics including death/grief and tenacity/perseverance.

“Phenomenal presentation! Jessica captivated our audience of several hundred funeral professionals with her knowledge of and passion for middle grade literature centered on grief!” ~Kathleen Barry, Wilbert Funeral Homes

Note: Jessica supports equity and inclusivity in the world of books and beyond. She is not available for any literary events that discriminate against marginalized or underrepresented people, either on the page or off.