Available for virtual tours in: Nunavut, Quebec & Prince Edward Island

Craft: Author

Genre: Picture Books

Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 3; Grade 4-5

Virtual Presentation Information

I am an award-winning educator, comfortable in any learning environment. While I use my books as a jumping-off point for all writers to develop their craft, I am comfortable designing a fun, collaborative and active workshop that fulfills a specific learning needs. I have a fairly energetic style, but I am warm, patient and kind.

Virtual Visits for Children’s Book Week

Words and Images

Do you ever wonder how the words and pictures in a picture book “find” each other? How does the illustrator know what the writer sees in her head? And does it matter? In this half hour presentation, Nicola will show how words and images come together to create a picture book, will show some early drafts of both the story and the illustrations, and will read from her book Mel and Mo’s Marvellous Balancing Act.

In a half-hour workshop follow up, Nicola will facilitate at-home or in-school drawing/writing exercises designed to spark creativity and encourage collaboration.

Curriculum tie in: Visual literacy

How to Write a Story

In this half-hour presentation, Nicola will explain the steps for writing a good story by talking about her own writing process and reading her book How to Give Your Cat a Bath.

In a half-hour workshop follow up, Nicola will guide a collaborative writing exercise, in which participants will make decisions about what should come next in a sequence. This exercise is adaptable any similar-age group including kindergarten.

Curriculum tie in: Sequential writing

Book List

Mel and Mo’s Marvelous Balancing Act by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by Marianne Ferrer (Annick Press, 2019)

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by John Martz (Tundra Books, 2019)

A Bedtime Yarn by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller (Tundra Books, 2017) 

The Pirate’s Bed by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by Matt James (Tundra Books, 2015)

Cinnamon Baby by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by Janice Nadeau (Kids Can Press, 2011)


Nicola Winstanley’s works include Cinnamon Baby, (shortlisted for the 2012 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and honor-prize winner of the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats Award), and How to Give Your Cat a Bath, (shortlisted for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award.) Her most recent picture book is Mel and Mo’s Marvelous Balancing Act. She is also a fiction writer, poet and comics creator who has been published in various Canadian literary magazines including Geist, The Dalhousie Review and Grain. Nicola is a full-time professor at Humber College, where she was awarded the Humber Teaching Excellence Award for 2018.  She has appeared at The Telling Tales Festival, Word on the Street, IOFA, and Wordstock. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Auckland and an MFA from UBC. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.