Touring In:

Craft: Author

Genre: Picture Books

Ideal Audience Size: 20-40

Maximum Audience Size: up to 40

Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 5

Special Equipment: Prefers classroom/workshop type presentations as opposed to large groups of children in the gym. Nicola requires a projector and screen with a connection to a computer. Microphone, if available. For in-class workshops, in addition to the screen, art materials or musical instruments are required, depending on the workshop.

Cost for School Readings Program: $200.00 per school presentation

Cost for Public Readings Program: $250.00 per public presentation



Presentation Information

I am an award-winning educator, comfortable in any learning environment. (Recently, at Telling Tales, I conducted a half-hour writing workshop for adults and children of all ages with no technology and nowhere for participants to write!) 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 need in the classroom. I have a fairly energetic style, but I am warm, patient and kind.

Writing in Your Head
For any age, this is a creative visualization workshop to help writers bring their stories to life through sensory detail. Participants are guided through imagining a scene as a starting-off point for writing. (60 minutes)

In this collaborative writing exercise, children in higher grades learn about story structure as they work in groups to write a picture book that includes a creative solution to a familiar problem. (60-90 minutes)

How to Write a Comic in Five Easy Steps
Using my book as a template, this writing workshop helps students in any grade develop their sequence writing by creating humorous four-panel comics. (60-90 minutes)

Amazing Cat Facts
This book presentation includes a game where children in Kindergarten to Grade 2 can learn about cats and what it’s like to write a picture book. (30 minutes)

Using Your Senses: Soundscape
In this workshop, students will consider sound in storytelling and poetry by adding sound to the text of The Pirate’s Bed. For older students, this activity serves as a jumping-off point for writing a poem. (30-60 minutes)


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.