Writers in the Schools (WITS)

NEWS FOR 2021-2022: In-person author visits will be possible this year. I’ll be doing those in Kings and Hants Counties (Oct, Jan, Feb, April), but I’d prefer to have virtual visits elsewhere, if at all possible. For virtual visits, half-day bookings, please. I’m also taking bookings in Ontario through Authors Booking Service: https://authorsbooking.com/coates-jan-l-nova-scotia/

BOOKING BEGINS SEPTEMBER 8th, 2021! Hope to see you!

LINK for WITS VISITS 2021-2022:


During these strange times, I’ve adapted my school presentation such that I can do a virtual visit, including presenting my PowerPoint via a Zoom meeting or Google Meets, wherein I can also answer questions, do a reading, and introduce a relevant writing activity for students. For schools without reliable internet connections, I’ve also created an MP4 video of my PPT presentation and readings, which are available upon request.

Some feedback from teachers:

  • Jan is a substitute teacher and her experience with children of varying age levels shines through in her management of the groups, knowing what appeals to specific age levels and how it ties into curriculum, and practicing methods to involve all students. Her presentations were well planned and executed; her readings and PowerPoint engaged, interested, and stimulated thoughtful questions from our students. The sensory writing exercise actively involved all the students. The overall positive student response to Jan, in my opinion, indicates how this author is able to encourage literacy and creative writing by sharing her talent.
  • It was clear from the beginning that Jan is a dedicated writer and that she takes her passion seriously. She creates a relaxed learning environment for the students. Jan effectively encourages all the kids to participate and to get involved with the writing process. Our students quickly learned that they are all writer and life-long readers. Thanks, Jan Coates, for helping our students along in their journey through literacy!
  •  Jan showed the students some sample books she had created and she brought all the supplies for each student to make a rough draft and a final finished book that they could take home with them after they completed it. The students were engaged the whole time they worked on writing their stories and were especially thrilled to work with an author when editing their work. 

WITS: Jan Coates’ Profile


Works with grades: P-7

Maximum group/class size: prefers to work with one class at a time, but open to other situations as required. Half-day visits preferred, especially for virtual visits.

Home Region: Annapolis Valley

Will travel: Kings and Hants Counties for 2021-22, please. But I’m happy to visit classes anywhere via Zoom/Google Meets.

Available: Oct, Jan, Feb, April for this year.

Areas of Expertise: Fiction writing, picture books, middle grade (grades 3 – 7) novels.

Presentation style/workshop ideas:

  1. A.  Reading one of my picture books, A Halifax Time Travelling TuneSky PigRainbows in the Dark , The King of Keji, Dancing with Daisy, or Karissa & Felix, suitable for audiences grades P-4 (30 minutes for P/1 groups, followed by writing/drawing activity; an hour for grades 2, 3, 4 classes).

B. Reading from A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (a finalist for the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Awards), suitable for audiences grades 5-9, or Talking to the Moon,  Say What You Mean, The Power of Harmony , Rocket Man,  The Hermit (grades 3-7) followed by a discussion of the writing life, and a hands-on creative writing exercise using the “other” four senses (not sight); this takes about an hour. I incorporate my PowerPoint presentation (25 minutes) into presentations with grades 2 and up. I can bring my own laptop, if necessary, but I will need a projector, the cord to attach it to my laptop, a screen, and someone who knows the school’s technology 🙂2. I’m open to suggestions from teachers if there’s a certain aspect of writing they’d like me to address. As well, I sometimes read from my current work-in-progress as I’m always looking for feedback from readers.

About the Author: I’m curious about everybody, and I like to watch strangers and imagine their lives; Why is he doing that? How did that raccoon get in there? What would she do if…? Basically, I’m nosey. Being a visiting author is one of my favorite parts of being a writer because I get to share my love of reading and writing with lots of other people with big imaginations and amazing ideas.
In my free time, I play badminton, shop at Frenchy’s, travel, go to the gym, and, lately, I’ve been trying my hand at illustrating. Besides my books mentioned above, I’ve also written eighteen English as a Second Language (ESL) chapter books, primarily for use in Korean language schools, and two adult ESL workbooks. Besides my Golden Irish, Charlie, I live with my husband, Don, in Wolfville. My kids, Liam and Shannon, are young adults who, sadly, have settled in Southern Ontario with their partners, Rachel and Peter.

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