National award-winning author of middle grade novels and picture books.
Winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Prize, the Alice Kitts Memorial Award for Excellence in Children’s Writing, and the Hackmatack Award. Shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award, the Diamond Willow Award, and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award.
Member of The Writer’s Union of Canada (TWUC), the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), and the Writers Federation of New Brunswick (WFNB). English presentations and workshops for Grades K-5; all ages and grades available upon request. Also available for PD sessions and adult workshops.
Virtual Visits: $200 plus HST
In-person rates $275 plus HST per one 45-minute session OR $1000 plus HST for four sessions (full day) PLUS travel from Moncton, New Brunswick
PLEASE NOTE: Jennifer has no in-person Ontario visits planned at this time but is open to proposals if travel and accommodations can be provided.
A dynamic presenter and workshop leader, Jennifer is known for her engaging storytelling style. Her books are popular with avid and reluctant readers alike, and have been included in classroom reading programs, literacy initiatives and book clubs across the country. Jennifer received her B.A. (Honours English Literature) from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia before going on to earn her M.A. in English Literature with a Directed Study in Children’s Literature from the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia.
*Author presentations include:
Pugs Cause Traffic Jams – Take a romp through a dog-loving neighbourhood of quirky canines and their humans. An interactive reading and presentation of the hilarious picture book, Pugs Cause Traffic Jams (words by Jennifer McGrath, pictures by Kathryn Durst, published by Kids Can Press). Includes fun activities and printables.
The Snows Knows – Who lives in the winter woods? The snow knows! Discover a world of wildlife in this gentle, seek-and-find storybook . An interactive reading and presentation of the awarding picture book, The Snow Knows (words by Jennifer McGrath, pictures by Josée Bisaillon. Published by Nimbus Publishing).
The Joob-Joob Jungle (*In-person only) – take a safari into the jungle of your imagination in this dynamic poetry presentation and interactive performance, featuring candy jungles, magic carpets and dragons!
Halloween Moon: Petrifying Poetry and Terrifying Tongue-Twisters – Join Jennifer for a treat-or-treat bag full of Halloween fun and rhymes.
Gadzooks the Christmas Goose – a holiday-themed reading and presentation about a wayward goose and a grumpy grandpa.
Grades 3-5 (and up)
Chocolate River Rescue What would YOU do if you were stranded on an ice floe, being swept down-river toward the sea? Join Jennifer for the story behind the story of the award-winning middle grade adventure novel, Chocolate River Rescue…and learn the surprising secrets of the real ‘Chocolate River.’ Themes and curriculum tie-ins include resourcefulness, friendship, teamwork, outdoor skills, geography, social studies, science and nature.
White Cave Escape The friends from Chocolate River Rescue return in this follow-up wilderness adventure. Learn about the unique ‘white rock hills’ in New Brunswick. We’ll discuss wilderness survival skills, sinkholes, caves, abandoned quarries and…forest fires! Curriculum tie-ins include: geology, science and nature, environment studies, environmental stewardship, wildlife, resourcefulness, friendship, outdoor skills.
* Other workshops may be available. Please email the author to discuss your needs.
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-5; all ages on request.
In-person rates (45-minute sessions): $250 for one, $450 for two, $675 for three, $900 for a full day (4 sessions). For kindergarten classes, Jen offers two 25-minute sessions for $250, or a discounted rate for one session if combined with a second session for an older group. A CRA-based travel rate of $0.61/km, round-trip, applies if location is more than 25 km from downtown Ottawa. Jen is willing to travel anywhere within a 150 km radius of Ottawa and is open to travelling further with additional food and accommodation charges. 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 Lynn Bailey is a children’s author and certified Ontario elementary teacher whose debut picture book This is the Boat that Ben Built (illustrated by Maggie Zeng) was published in 2022 by Pajama Press. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science Studies from Carleton University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Martin Luther College. Previously Jen taught science and French in an elementary school and writing and editing in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. Now Jen works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada where she combines her love of science, education, and writing by supporting science and engineering promotion programs.
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
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
Kids will develop an explorer mindset toward 1) picture books and 2) the northern river ecosystem. Following a reading of This is the Boat that Ben Built, they will discover how the author and illustrator work together to create a picture book, brainstorm other living and non-living parts of a river ecosystem, and add their own living thing to the story.
Key concepts: ecology, species diversity, food webs, STEM, picture book creation, writing process, cumulative stories, science
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.
All venues; library or classroom preferred.
General Equipment needs: For in-person visits, laptop with PowerPoint or Google Slides (can bring own laptop if it can be connected to school projector, otherwise will bring USB stick), digital projector and screen for presentation, microphone if space larger than classroom, chair or stool, glass of water. 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.
Writers’ Union Member and eligible for subsidies. Norma Fleck winner. Kirkus Best Book 2020. Forest of Reading finalist (multiple). Numerous starred reviews in Canada and U.S. Grades 3-8.
Rates: $350 for one session, $650 for two, $875 for three (plus HST). Travel costs waived in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Milton and local area. NEW! For virtual 30-50 minute sessions: $200 +HST. Want to book Kira and one of her talented illustrators for a joint presentation? Please ask for rates. (Psst! They’re super fun – the illustrators “live draw” while Kira speaks. It’s a party on your screen….)
With her background in broadcast and journalism, Kira is a talented and experienced presenter who knows how to tell entertaining, true stories that bring new concepts to life with warmth and humour. Kira believes strongly that there’s nothing “non about non-fiction.” So whether she’s exploring why worms come out when it rains, why yap stones are the coolest form of currency, or how fondue became a fad, her high-energy and interactive style makes for engaging, funny and educational sessions. Kira is also able to tailor stories for multiple ages and grades. Flexibility is her middle name.
What kids say about Kira and her author talks:
“That was way better than I expected.”
“I can’t believe you have some grey hair. You’re too funny to be old.”
“You sign books weird.” (It’s true. She does.)
Here is a sample of Kira’s sessions: She is also happy to cater to your class based on any of her books, or do a more traditional author reading and Q&A visit.
What’s up with fads and trends?
Would you ever swallow a live goldfish? Pour a bucket of ice water over your head? Wear seriously ugly shoes? Who would do that? And — more importantly — why? Trends may seem trivial on the surface, but they have the power to make regular people do pretty irregular things! Jump into the frenzied world of viral videos and songs, faddish food and clothes, and even dangerous crazes!
NEW ON REQUEST: Coming together online, Trending: How and Why Stuff Gets Popular (Owlkids, 2020) author Kira Vermond and illustrator Clayton Hanmer tell (and draw!) stories about how fads take off and spread, how they can be crafted to lure you in — and how to recognize bandwagon behaviour the minute you see it. (The pandemic toilet paper craze, anyone?)
To listen to a sample, google: “The Buzz: Kids Edition.” Or find the podcast wherever you listen to your pods.
Length 30-60 minutes, depending on class needs For grades 3-6
Why don’t cars run on apple juice, anyway?
Can rats burp? If you sneeze in space, will your head explode? And why do we have butts? With a team of Ontario Science Centre experts, Kira wrote two Q&A books that serve up fun and surprising answers to science questions from curious kids. In this interactive session, students discover mind-blowing facts about our world and beyond, from burps to black holes, T. rexes to time travel.
NEW ON REQUEST: Coming together online, author Kira Vermond and illustrator Suharu Ogawa tell (and draw!) stories about science facts based on real kids’ questions.
Length 30-60 minutes, depending on class needs For grades 3-6
Let’s talk money!
Credit cards, bartering and yap stones. What do they have in common? They’re all part of my dynamic presentation for schools and libraries. With money and personal finance getting more airplay at schools across Canada and the U.S., Kira makes the curriculum come to life with fun stories, weird anecdotes and audience participation. Kids check out a counterfeit bill, discuss the downside to winning the lottery, and examine their own values and beliefs about what makes a person rich. After this presentation, students will never look at a can of beans or a bag of jellybeans in the same way again! (Schedule a visit to find out why….)
Length: 50-60 minutes
For grades 5-8
Maximum number of students per session: JK-G2 up to 50 students. 100+ for older grades. Writing workshops for middle school students are best for small groups (12-25 students).
I am comfortable presenting in classroom, library, auditorium, and gymnasium. (Library preferred.)
Equipment and other requirements
A microphone for large rooms or groups, a table for props, chair for breaks, glass of water.
A black or white board, or flip chart. Markers or chalk.
I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be present throughout presentations. Thank you!
Writer’s Union member. Member of the Children’s Writers & Illustrators of British Columbia Society; Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers; Society of Environmental Journalists; American Society of Journalists and Authors. Fellow of the Explorers Club; UK Royal Geographical Society: Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Isabelle is available for author visits, school and library presentations, and conferences.
In-person visit rates (45 minutes to 1 hour): $400 for one session: $550 for two; $700 for three: $850 for the full day (four sessions) plus GST. Travel fees (airfare and lodging) apply for in-person visits outside the Lower Mainland.
Virtual visit rates (30 minutes to 1 hour): $250-400 per session (plus GST)
Isabelle Groc is an award-winning writer, conservation photographer, documentary filmmaker, and children’s book author focusing on environmental science, wildlife conservation, endangered species and the relationships between people and the natural world.
Isabelle grew up in France and now lives in Vancouver. With degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats. Her stories and photographs have appeared in international media including National Geographic News, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Wildlife, New Scientist, and The Guardian. Isabelle has also written and directed over a dozen films on wildlife.
Her book Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection; has been selected as a 2022 Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book; and has won the 2022 American Society of Journalists and Authors Book Award in the Children’s Book Category. The book has also received a starred review from the American Library Association’s Booklist and highly recommended reviews from the Canadian Review of Materials and the School Library Journal.
Sea Otters: A Survival Story is the winner of the 2021 American Society of Journalists and Authors in the Children’s Book category; was on the 2021 Outstanding Science Trade Book List and was a 2021-2022 Red Cedar Book Award nominee.
Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat was a finalist for the 2021 Yellow Cedar Award.
Her documentary Toad People won a Wildscreen Panda Impact Award.
Isabelle loves sharing her passion for the natural world with audiences of all ages, and delivers unique presentations, supported by stunning visuals and film clips. Isabelle’s background as a writer, photojournalist and filmmaker greatly enhances her presentations as she shares personal stories from working in the field alongside conservationists and scientists to inspire and educate students. Her presentations are also relevant to adults who want to make a difference for the natural world.
Presentations (all grades)
Wildlife’s best friends: dogs working for conservation (all grades)
Based on Isabelle’s book Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, Isabelle shares the stories of brave canines working to protect wildlife around the world.
Act for the wild: Conservation close to home (all grades)
Wildlife conservation starts on our doorstep. You don’t have to travel to the most remote corners of the earth to engage with wildlife. Any step you can take to protect habitat and wildlife close to home makes a difference and helps create global impact.
Combining stories, photographs and short film clips, this talk presents the “how” and “why” of endangered species around the world, what people are doing to conserve them, and what children can do on their own and with their families to reduce their impact, engage with the wild, and take steps to protect habitat and wildlife close to home. The book draws from field stories and photographs from Isabelle’s book: Gone is Gone: Wildlife under Threat.
Sea otters: A survival story (all grades)
Hunted to near extinction for their fur during the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters are returning to their territories from California to Alaska, through dedicated conservation efforts. They symbolize the large impact — both positive and negative — that humans can have on wildlife. They now have also unleashed their great ecological powers and have become one of the best examples of a keystone species.
Based on Isabelle’s book, Sea Otters: A Survival Story, this engaging and visual presentation takes audiences on a tale of survival and transformation. Drawing from the author’s journey in sea otter country along the Pacific Coast over a period of ten years, the presentation explores the otters’ unique lifestyle, their remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction, and how they leave their mark (or pawprint) on the environment, in obvious and subtle ways.
British Columbia’s species at risk (all grades)
From burrowing owls to grizzly bears, rattlesnakes and American badgers, British Columbia is home to more wild plant and animal species than any other province in Canada and is also one of the last holdouts for many large mammals that once roamed much of North America. Sadly many of these species are at risk. Learn about BC’s species at risk through this compelling presentation supported by Isabelle’s photographs, films, and field anecdotes, working alongside conservation groups and scientists to obtain better protection for some of Canada’s most precious species.
Wildlife’s best friends: dogs working for conservation (all grades)
Based on Isabelle’s upcoming book to be published in the fall 2021, Isabelle shares the stories of brave canines working to protect wildlife around the world.
Storytelling programs (secondary and adults)
The three programs below appeal to young people and adults who are interested in and/or consider careers in the environmental sector, journalism, photojournalism, documentary filmmaking, and conservation photography.
From whales to toads: visual storytelling for conservation (Grades 9-12)
Bringing attention to little-known, elusive, under-appreciated species that people do not often see in the wild can be a challenge for environmental groups or anyone interested in making a difference for wildlife conservation. Visual storytelling tools can help address this disconnect and renew public commitment for those species that are often overshadowed by more charismatic members of the natural world. Drawing from examples of impact-driven storytelling campaigns, Isabelle’s presentation explores how photography, filmmaking, art, and visual branding combined with science-based information can all work together to give new voices to endangered species, inviting the public to experience the natural world in a powerful and intimate way and take action for wildlife conservation.
Life of a Conservation Photographer: Stories from the field (grades 9 to 12)
From photographing mountain caribou from a helicopter to working with scientists capturing narwhal in the Arctic’s freezing waters, Isabelle has many field stories and photographs to share. In this presentation she highlights her work with scientists in the field, how she develops trust, builds story angles, adapts to different working environments, and how her photography and stories can help build public exposure on important science and conservation work.
Story and Photographs By…: The Craft of Storytelling (grades 9 to 12)
In this program, Isabelle shares her experience as an environmental photojournalist and how she combines photography and words to tell conservation stories. She shares her creative process and discusses best practices for crafting pitches, finding the right audience, and taking a project from concept to publication.
In-person visit equipment: microphone for larger group, table, screen and projector for PowerPoint presentation, speakers for video and audio clips, and adaptors necessary to work with Isabelle’s MacBook. Vegetarian lunch for full-day visit; water Maximum number of students per session: flexible. And varies with program.
Virtual visits: conducted via Zoom or other preferred online platform; support personnel (to moderate and manage technical aspects)
Kitchener-Waterloo. English author. Grades 2–6. $275 + HST for one 45–60 minute session in-person. Virtual (Skype) visits: $150 + HST for 30–60 minutes.
Anna is the author of the Megabat series (ideal for readers 6–9) and of the comic-filled Clara Humble series (for readers ages 8–12). She is also the author of Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea, a middle grade novel that relates to simple machines/Rube Goldberg machines and ties in well with STEM topics.
Presentations will include a talk about what it takes to become an author and a discussion about craft (from finding inspiration, to making your words ring true, to revising, then revising again). There will also
be a short reading and an opportunity for students to ask questions.
Maximum number of students per session: 150 (flexible)
Preferred venues: library, classroom
Equipment requirements: table, screen with laptop set up for PowerPoint, microphone if the only space available is the gymnasium.
Writers’ Union Member. Now doing virtual visits only: $200 for one 60 minute session, $350 for 2, $525 for 3, $675 for 4. Maximum 4
sessions per day. JK to SK: two 30-minute sessions for the price of 1.
Cinders presents to JK to Grade 3. Single class size is best for discussion, but Cinders is flexible.
Author-illustrator of the Moneybunnies financial literacy for young children series, published by Penguin N.Y. She is also a well known human rights cartoonist and musician. Cinders has 20 years’ experience in Canadian and British books and newspapers, is the creator of the 8-year-old Broomie Law cartoon and one of the few published, women political cartoonists in the world. She is also an experienced performer (singer, songwriter, double bassist with a record on Billy Bragg’s label) and cartoon workshop presenter. She wrote and illustrated EARN IT! SPEND IT! SAVE IT! and GIVE IT! for ages 3- 8 because it’s never too early to teach children about money. The Moneybunnies series is popular with STEM educators.
Writer’s Union member. CANSCAIP. SCWBI. Silver Birch Non-Fiction Honour Book Award 2016. Purple Dragonfly Award winner.
Rates: $275 for one session, Additional same day sessions are $250.
Virtual visits: $200 (one 60 minutes or divided into two 30 minutes) (Zoom or Skype)
Caroline is an enthusiastic presenter who encourages interaction during visits.
Presentations by Grades
Caroline is happy to work with teachers and librarians to develop a need-specific presentation, but here are some examples:
Grades JK-6 (60 minutes)
All presentations include read aloud and author Q & A.
Asha and Baz Meet Mary Sherman Morgan
When Asha and Baz have a challenge with a paper rocket competition in science class, they use a magic stick they found in the school yard to travel back in time to meet real life rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan.
Themes: science and technology, women in science, history, biography, space, STEM, gender equality
Hide and Seek: Wild Animal Groups in North America
Themes: collective nouns, animals, migration of monarch butterfly, North America, finding one’s place, inclusivity
Stop Reading This Book
The book judges the reader by their cover. Would you….could you stop reading this book?!
Writers’ Union Member. YA and MG fiction. Picture Books. White Pine. Crystal Kite Winner. Writing workshops. K to 12. Karen’s rate is $300 plus HST per session, plus travel from Toronto. Mileage within Toronto may be waived. A virtual visit is $150 plus HST.
Karen Krossing is the author of seven successful novels for kids and teens as well as the picture books One Tiny Bubble and Sour Cakes. She regularly mentors emerging writers through workshops for kids, teens, and adults, and she’s a versatile presenter with an engaging manner.
Karen has been conducting book talks and workshops since 2002, and she has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She loves meeting readers and writers of all ages. Continue reading “Krossing, Karen (Toronto, ON)”
Toronto. Writers’ Union Member. National Bestseller. 2+time Silver Birch winner. Multi awards. K-8. Please note: Helaine’s rate is $800 + HST for two sessions, $1000 + HST for three and $1250 +HST for four, plus travel from Toronto.
Helaine is an experienced and passionate presenter – and so funny that she is often told she should be a stand-up comedian. She can do up to four side-splitting and inspirational presentations in the same school or area in a day. As the author of picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, non-fiction and YA novels, she routinely presents to an entire school over the course of a day. She also loves speaking to adult groups and showing off her underwear (her underwear puppet, that is).