Bailey, Jen Lynn (Ottawa, ON)

Photo Credit: Sam Bond Photography

Jen Lynn Bailey is an award-winning children’s author and certified Ontario elementary teacher. She is the recipient of the 2023 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, picture book category, for her debut picture book This is the Boat that Ben Built (illustrated by Maggie Zeng, published by Pajama Press 2022).

Member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Ontario College of Teachers, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Canada, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP). English language presentations and workshops for grades K-6; all ages on request.

In-person rates for a classroom visit (45- to 60-minute sessions): $275 for one, $400 for two, $525 for three, $650 for a full day (4 sessions). For kindergarten classes, Jen offers two 25-minute sessions for $275, or a discounted rate for a single session combined with a second for an older group. For larger venues with up to 100 students in the same or adjacent grade level(s): $375 for a 45- to 60-minute presentation. A CRA-based travel rate of $0.61/km, round-trip, applies, from downtown Ottawa.

Virtual visit fees are $150 for one 45-minute session (or two 25-minute sessions for kindergarten students); $125 for each additional session the same day.

Jen is an experienced teacher, workshop leader, and presenter who loves introducing kids to the animals of the northern river ecosystem through fun, interactive sessions. She also enjoys teaching about writing and about how picture books are made. She will gladly collaborate with teachers and/or librarians to customize visits to meet the children’s interests and the teachers’ curriculum requirements. Students and staff have the option to order personalized, signed books which will be delivered to their school. Jen will provide ordering instructions.

Here are some sample presentations, which each include an author intro and Q&A: 

This is the Boat that Ben Built – Participatory Reading & Activities Age level: K – grade 1; Duration: two 25-minute sessions. Appropriate for up to 30 students for optimal engagement.

The first 25-minute session introduces kids to the northern river ecosystem in a fun participatory reading session of This is the Boat that Ben Built. Jen also discusses idea generation and the inspiration for the story. The second 25-minute session includes a generative alliteration activity and an animal size classification activity.

Key concepts: ecology, species diversity, food webs, STEM, poetry

Key themes: curiosity, natural world, exploration

Explore a Book! Explore an Ecosystem! Age level: Grades 2-5; Duration: 45-60 minutes. Appropriate for classroom visits or larger venues.

Students will explore the picture book This is the Boat that Ben Built through the lens of a reader, writer, scientist, and artist. They’ll discover how the author and illustrator work together to create a picture book, and how the animals of the northern river ecosystem are interconnected in the story and real world.

Key concepts: ecology, species diversity, food webs, STEM, picture book creation, writing process, cumulative stories, science

Key themes: curiosity, natural world, exploration

Levels: primary, junior, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5

Writer’s Workshops Age level: K – grade 5; Duration: 45-60 minutes (shorter for kindergarten). Appropriate for visits with up to 30 students.

Animals as Story Starters: Stories ideas come from our real-world experiences with people, places, and things. One great source of inspiration is animals in their natural environments. In this workshop, we’ll use animal behaviours, habitats, and adaptations to generate story characters, settings, and conflicts.

Witty Words, Awesome Animals: A Poetry Workshop: Kids will use their “poetry toolkits” to uncover meaning and music in a variety of animal poems, then generate their own. Includes an exploration of poetic techniques such as similes and metaphors, alliteration, consonance, assonance, and onomatopoeia, as well as a look into animal behaviour, habitats, and adaptations.

If you are interested in writing workshops for students in grades 6 – 8, secondary school, or college, or in workshops for adults, please contact Jen about your group’s needs. Jen offers picture book manuscript critiques as well.

Library Storytime Age level: preschool – grade 1; duration 30-45 minutes

Following a participatory reading of This is the Boat that Ben Built, Jen will lead kids in a simple craft about the animals in the northern river ecosystem. Digital templates will be provided in advance; craft supplies to be provided by the library.

General Equipment needs: For in-person visits, laptop with PowerPoint or Google Slides (Jen will bring her own laptop if it can be connected to school projector, otherwise she will bring a USB stick), digital projector and screen for presentation, microphone if the space is larger than a classroom, chair or stool. For virtual visits, school Zoom account (or similar). Student supplies depend on chosen session and will be discussed prior to visit. Teacher or librarian must be present for all presentations, virtual or in-person.

Jen offers picture book manuscript critiques as well.

Contact Jen: