Jessica Lanan
School Visits
Photograph of Jessica Lanan reading a copy of 'The Fisherman and the Whale' at a story time event

I’d love to visit your school or library!

My interactive presentations offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process behind picture book creation and inspire kids to follow their curiosity and passions. Presentations are tailored to three different age ranges:

  • PreK-Kindergarten focuses on the joy of reading and how books can open the door to discovery. I walk students through the general process of how I go from an idea to finished book. Students are left empowered and inspired to read and learn!
  • Grades 1-3 explains the process of how books are written and illustrated in more detail. I show more of my research process. Includes a video art demo and fun trivia game where students can test their knowledge.
  • Grades 4-5 includes all of the above but also empowers students to begin writing their own stories. Includes my secret Writing Recipe: a foolproof plan to get us past the obstacles that can stop us from telling our stories!

A hands on storyboarding workshop and presentations for older students are available upon request.

Looking for curriculum guides and storytime resources? Click here to see all the free downloads.

School Visit Presentations

All presentations begin with a brief introduction where I show childhood drawings and the early sparks of inspiration that led to a career as an author and illustrator. Then I dive into the process behind my writing and illustrating, from research to revision to production and, finally, the finished product. Along the way I include photos, video clips, anecdotes and interactive activities to keep the students engaged. The presentation runs 30-40 minutes, which leaves approximately 15 minutes for questions and a drawing demonstration.

Hosting a visit

Email me at for information about event availability and fees. Your local bookstore can help handle book orders and sales. (I recommend Tattered Cover, Second Star to the Right and Boulder Bookstore to name a few local options.) For in-person events, I bring my presentation either as a PowerPoint file on a flash drive or Google Slides presentation available online. I’ll need a computer, projector, and screen, and a microphone for large spaces. Speakers for sound are helpful but not essential.

Available Programs

These programs can be adjusted to fit your group's interests and curriculum.
  • JUMPER (Jumper: a Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider) Go behind the scenes and find out how this award-winning nonfiction book was made. Your students will learn about how storytelling can help us have more empathy for other living creatures, and how there is a whole world of discovery right in your own backyard!
  • Wordless Storytelling. (The Fisherman and the Whale) How do you tell a story without any words? Your students can help tell the story themselves--and explore all different types of storytelling.
  • Writing and Illustrating Picture Books. (All titles) Learn about how picture books are written and illustrated. Dveryone has a story to tell inside of them. What's yours? K-5 and Middle/high school programs available.

Many of us were inspired by her very thoughtful process and beautiful art. I love how she researches and captured the reality of the mood and setting behind the biography. When the Q&A session started, people were so curious and excited about children’s book illustration and Jessica’s art that there was rarely more than a three second pause between questions. A week later, a math major approached me and told me that seeing Jessica present her process behind making a children’s book awakened an interest and appreciation for the art of picture books, as well as a respect for the profession of illustrators.

Hannah Cheng, senior art student at Hillsdale College