Touring In: Northwest Territories

Craft: Author, Illustrator

Genre: Picture Books

Ideal Audience Size: 40-60

Maximum Audience Size: 100

Grades: Preschool – Grade 7

Special Equipment: Projector to plug a computer or phone in to.


Shortlisted for the 2017 Towner Award, WA


Presentation Information

As an artist and designer, Sara’s presentations are designed to inspire students to discover tangible and tactile ways that they can bring their stories to life with words and pictures! Sara shares her experiences as a book designer, art director and illustrator to explain the process of how a book is made. Visuals and hand-on activities can be tailored to any age, and are used to engage play with words, pictures and stories.



These picture books are a wonderful fit for pre-school to grade 2 – and the interactive presentation/reading covers themes around how to build friendships and how to care for others and work as a team in a playful, relatable and age-appropriate way. Participants make a collage-based, cooperative craft at the end of the presentation.



A great fit for grades 3-7 that includes an overview of the constellations and an introduction to the stories behind them, as well as their origins. Participants will learn about how to find constellations in the night sky, and will create their own ‘fantasy constellation’ drawings by connecting the dots of the stars.



A great fit for grades 3-7 that includes an overview of Signal Flags/Morse Code and the NATO Phonetic alphabet – as well as a peek into the amazing world of ships and boats! Participants will play with deciphering and sending coded messages.



This presentation can be tailored to any age (preschool-adult) and includes a brief overview of Sara’s experience in books, and an overview of the picture book making process. Hands-on activities can be a part of this experience for smaller groups (20 or less).


Book List

How to Grow a Friend (board book edition) (Penguin Random House, 2018)


Seeing Stars (Phaidon, 2018)


The Doll Hospital by Kallie Georgellustrated by Sara Gillingham (Atheneum, 2018)


Boats are Busy (Phaidon, 2018)


Alpha Bravo Charlie (Phaidon, 2016)


Love is a Truck by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Sara Gillingham (Cameron Books, 2016)


How to Mend a Heart (Penguin Random House, 2016)


Snuggle the Baby (Abrams Books, 2014)


I Am So Brave, I Can Do It Myself, I Know a Lot!, Now I am Big by Stephen Krensky illustrated by Sara Gillingham (Abrams Books, 2012-2014)


In My Series by Sara Gillingham, illustrated by Lorena Siminovich (Chronicle Books, 2009-2014)



Sara is an award-winning art director and designer of hundreds of books, who has worked in book publishing for many years for publishers such as Chronicle Books, Disney and Scholastic. When Sara had children of her own, it inspired many book ideas, and since then, Sara has been published as an author/illustrator of over 25 books such as: How to Grow a FriendSnuggle the Baby, The Empowerment Series and the bestselling In My Series. Sara has studied, lived and worked in the UK and the United States, and now lives with her family in Vancouver, BC, where she loves to share her passion for books and picture-making with audiences of all ages.



Love is a Tutu

  • Included in the 2016 Original Art Show, The Society of Illustrators, NY


How to Grow a Friend

  • Included in the 2015 Original Art Show, The Society of Illustrators, NY

Alpha Bravo Charlie

  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Towner Award, WA


I Am So Brave

  • Toronto Public Library First and Best, 2014
  • Honors Winner, National Parenting Publication Awards, 2014



“When Sara visits our library, she is not just an author, she is a talking book. She begins her presentations by telling her story; she invites the listeners to know her. Sara doesn’t just share her books; she shares herself. Her tales are accompanied by images of her first works which she created as a child and then as a teen. The children are able to see themselves in her early stages of creativity. They connect with her. As she shares her published work, they are able to see how being committed, being passionate and having resiliency help to shape one’s life . . . The children always invite her back before she’s even had a chance to pack up!”

—Geri Gruft, Teacher-Librarian


“Sara was easy to work with, had good ideas for a follow-up craft, and was an engaging presenter who held the attention of her audience, including the parents! Of particular relevance to our school is her book, How to Grow a Friend, as it ties in beautifully with both our garden work and our focus on self-regulation. I highly recommend Sara Gillingham as a presenter.”

—Christine Evans, Teacher-Librarian