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Touring In: Quebec

Craft: Author

Genre: Picture Books, Early Chapter Books, Junior Fiction

Ideal Audience Size:  20-50

Maximum Audience Size: up to 100 (with microphone)

Grades: Grades 3-8

Special Equipment:

  • screen
  • table for my equipment
  • power cord that reaches from the table to an electrical outlet
  • microphone for large groups in auditoriums
  • Important Note: each student should bring a sheet of paper and a pencil for the writing exercise

 Website: jessicascottkerrin.com

 

Shortlisted for the 2015 Red Cedar Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 Diamond Willow Award

Presentation Information

Jessica’s jam-packed hour-long presentation to young writers is a behind-the-scenes look at everyday experiences that she writes stories about. She includes props, audience participation,  a short writing exercise and video clips, all of which is sure to keep the audience engaged and glued to their seats. Students will learn to identify sources for creative inspiration; understand how brainstorming works to launch a writing project; discover how to take an idea and shape it into a story; and, develop an appreciation for all stages of editing and good writing habits. Teacher resource packages are provided after the presentation to encourage follow-up activities.

Jessica ends her presentation with a reading from her newest novel, The Things Owen Wrote. In it, Owen discovers that his granddad has accidentally donated Owen’s notebook to an archive in Iceland. Owen is desperate to get it back. He doesn’t want anyone to read what is in it. A last-minute trip to Iceland, just Owen and his granddad, seems like the perfect way out. For Owen’s granddad, the trip is about paying tribute to a friend with Icelandic roots. But Owen keeps his reasons for going to himself. The pair gets on a plane, excited to leave their prairie town for a country of lava fields, glaciers and geysers. However, as they explore Iceland, the plan to recover Owen’s notebook starts to spiral out of control. Why does Owen’s granddad seem so confused and forgetful? And can Owen really hide the truth of what’s in his notebook?

Reported outcomes following Jessica’s presentation include: an increase in library borrowing; an enhanced understanding of the writing process; a surge in creativity; and, the application of new techniques for creative writing. Often, students will declare during the Q & A that they’ll be writers when they grow up, too!

Book List

The Better Tree Fort
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Qin Leng
(Groundwood Books, 2018)

The Things Owen Wrote
(Groundwood Books, 2017)

The Missing Dog is Spotted
(Groundwood Books, 2015)

The Spotted Dog Last Seen
(Groundwood Books, 2013)

The Lobster Chronicles: Spit Feathers!
(Kids Can Press, 2013)

The Lobster Chronicles: A Narrow Escape!
(Kids Can Press, 2013)

The Lobster Chronicles: Lower the Trap!
(Kids Can Press, 2012)

Martin Bridge: Onwards and Upwards!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2009)

Martin Bridge: The Sky’s the Limit!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2008)

Martin Bridge: In High Gear!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2008)

Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2007)

Martin Bridge: Sound the Alarm!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2007) 

Martin Bridge: Blazing Ahead!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2006)

Martin Bridge: On the Lookout!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2005) 

Martin Bridge: Ready for Takeoff!
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Joseph Kelly
(Kids Can Press, 2005)

Biography

Jessica grew up during the era when the world’s first astronauts were superheroes. She continues to be fascinated by rockets, as well as monster lobsters and creepy graveyards. She is best known for her early chapter books and junior fiction, including an eight-book series called Martin Bridge, a trilogy called The Lobster Chronicles, two mystery novels called The Spotted Dog Last Seen and The Missing Dog is Spotted, and her newest novel: The Things Owen Wrote. This last book was inspired by her travels to Iceland, where early astronauts trained in preparation for lunar missions.

Jessica’s books have been a finalist for the Book of the Year for Children Award by the Canadian Library Association, the John Spray Mystery Award (Canadian Children’s Book Centre), British Columbia’s Red Cedar Award, Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Book Award, Saskatchewan’s Diamond Willow Award, Manitoba’s Young Readers’ Choice Award, and numerous Atlantic Canada Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Awards. Her work is also included in the New York Public Library’s Top 100 Children’s Books, the Association of Canadian Publishers’ Top Grade Canlit for Classrooms, Best Books of Exceptional Caliber by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Best of Books by Horn Book, the Junior Library Guild Premier Selection and the Notable Books List by the American Library Association.

Born and raised in Alberta where she completed a degree in political science and psychology from the University of Calgary, Jessica moved to Halifax to study at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. There, she received a fine arts degree. She later completed a graduate degree in public administration from Dalhousie University. She spent her career working for galleries and museums as well as protecting heritage sites. Jessica resides in downtown Halifax surrounded by shipyards, fog and historic cemeteries where she now writes fulltime, favoring east coast characters and settings for all her work.

Additional facts about Jessica:

  • Her first novel was autographed by John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth
  • She recently met and chatted with Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut
  • She is married and has one son; both have inspired many of her books
  • She has visited well over 100 schools and libraries across Canada and the United States
  • She recently acquired a puppy, who will likely inspire future stories
  • She is a terrible speller

Awards

The Missing Dig is Spotted

  • Chosen for the 2015 Junior Library Guild catalog

 The Spotted Dog Last Seen

  • Nominated for the 2015 Diamond Willow Award (Saskatchewan’s Readers’ Choice Award)
  • Nominated for the 2015 Red Cedar Book Award (British Columbia’s Young Readers’ Choice Award)
  • Nominated for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta’s Readers’ Choice Award)
  • Finalist for the 2014 John Spray Mystery Award (Canadian Children’s Book Centre)
  • Nominated for the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award
  • Selected for 2014 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Finalist for the 2014 Book of the Year for Children Award by the Canadian Library Association
  • Selected for the 2013 New York Public Library’s Top 100 Children’s Books
  • Chosen for the 2013 Junior Library Guild catalogue

 Lower the Trap

  • Nominated for 2013/14 Atlantic Canada’s Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Selected for 2012 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Martin Bridge: Onwards and Upwards!

  • Selected for 2010 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Martin Bridge: The Sky’s the Limit!

  • Selected for Best of 2009, Resource Links (Canada’s national journal devoted to the evaluation of Canadian resources for children and young adults)
  • Selected for 2009 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Martin Bridge: In High Gear!

  • Chosen for the 2008 Junior Library Guild Premier Selection Award
  • Selected for 2008 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Nominated for the 2009/10 Atlantic Canada’s Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Selected for 2009 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit!

  • Chosen for the 2007 Junior Library Guild Premier Selection Award
  • Selected for 2008 Best Books of Exceptional Caliber, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

 Martin Bridge: Blazing Ahead!

  • Nominated for the 2008 Atlantic Canada’s Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award

 Martin Bridge: On the Lookout!

  • Nominated for the 2007 Gate City Book Award (by the New Hampshire school library media specialists).

Martin Bridge: Ready for Takeoff!

  • Nominated for the 2007 Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award
  • Selected for the 2005 New York City Public Library’s “Top Books”
  • Selected for 2005 The Horn Book’s “The Best of”
  • Selected for the 2006 Notable Books List by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), American Library Association
  • Nominated for the 2007 Atlantic Canada’s Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Nominated for the 2007 Diamond Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice).
  • Nominated for the 2008 Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award.
  • Nominated for the 2008-2009 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award

Praise

“I can honestly say that every student and teacher who I spoke with enjoyed Jessica’s presentation very much. Many students in my grade six class wanted to borrow her books from our school library including some very reluctant readers. It was a great day for my kids and Jessica made a difference in their education.”

—Colby Village Elementary (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)

 “Jessica gave one of the best presentations we have had at the school. It was amazing, it kept the attention of the children, and they were able to make connections with her real-life pictures. Showing them her revisions was great. They said she rocked!”

—Dutch Settlement Elementary School (Elmsdale, Nova Scotia)

 “Jessica was informative and friendly. The students listened very attentively to her. Our school is a special needs school and I was worried about the attention span of our students. I was thrilled when they remained interested to the very end.” 

—Dr. Oakley School (Calgary, Alberta)

 “My class was enthralled with Jessica’s presentation and keenly interested in what writers do and how they do it. They could relate, very well, to her crafting a story from idea (and one they could relate well to through her interesting real- life experience) to ending (that is finishing a rough draft). They’re just learning that ‘the end’ is only the beginning of their job as writers. Her wonderful powerpoint presentation added so much to the telling! It truly made what she had to say more powerful and gave all of us encouragement!”

—LeMarchant St. Thomas (Halifax, Nova Scotia )

“A confident and engaging presenter, Jessica was always attentive and respectful towards the children. She arrived with well-prepared workshops, using audio visual material and props to enhance her presentations.  The children participated with great enthusiasm.”

—MASC Young Authors and Illustrators Conference (Ottawa, Ontario)

 “Jessica’s presentations were strongly geared towards encouraging children to write stories of their own, and the students who attended her presentations demonstrated a clear enthusiasm for doing so.  In the words of one school librarian, ‘My teachers and students absolutely loved our author visit with Jessica Scott Kerrin. The teachers said that this was the best author visit we have had due to how Jessica presented and taught elements of story writing.  It was very valuable.’ ”

—Grande Prairie Children’s Literature Roundtable (Grande Prairie, Alberta)