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)
Finding the Magic (45-60 minutes)
This special presentation* explores how the author overcame a difficult childhood and turned those experiences into a magical tale of courage and resilience. In addition to discussing the challenges Fud faces in the story, students will be offered a behind-the-scenes look at the drafting process with a special emphasis on the power of revision.
*It is recommended that students read the book before the presentation (but not required)
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. Best for small 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.
“Jessica is an incredibly engaging, thoughtful, and encouraging workshop facilitator for kids! Kids ages 8-12 attended her character workshop in a public library setting, and they all left with their very own character ready to jump off the page. She is very skilled at crafting activities for kids that balance their own experiences, while also challenging themselves to see things through another person’s perspective.” – Jackie M., Public Library Programmer
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
To schedule a visit or inquire about rates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Microphone (where necessary)
*Projector and connection cords (Jessica will provide a PowerPoint presentation via her MacBook Air and typically brings a flash drive as a back-up in case of technical difficulties)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer any resources to help my students prepare for your visit or use your books in my classroom?
Yes! You can find a tips for hosting a successful visit here and here, a teaching guide for The Wolf’s Curse here, and a teaching guide for The Rabbit’s Gift here.
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.