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Jan L. Coates

Jan L. Coates

Photo: Shannon Vooys

I’m curious about everything and everybody. I like to watch strangers and imagine their lives. Why is he doing that? How did that raccoon get in there? What would she do if…? Basically, I'm nosey. Being a visiting author is one of my favorite parts of being a writer because I get to share my love of reading and writing with lots of other people with big imaginations and amazing ideas.

In my free time, I play badminton, shop at used clothing and antique stores, browse Kijiji, travel, go to the gym, and work as a substitute teacher. Besides my books mentioned below, I’ve also written eighteen English as a Second Language chapter books for use in South Korean language schools (Caramel Tree Readers), and two adult ESL workbooks. I live with my husband, Don, and our Golden Irish, Charlie, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Sadly, my adult kids Liam and Shannon both live in Ontario.

Wolfville (also Ontario)
Nova Scotia


ROCKET MAN (middle grade novel). Red Deer Press, 2014
THE POWER OF HARMONY (middle grade novel). Red Deer Press, 2013
A HARE IN THE ELEPHANT'S TRUNK (young adult novel). Red Deer Press, 2010
RAINBOWS IN THE DARK (picture book). Second Story Press, 2005
THE KING OF KEJI (picture book). Nimbus Publishing, 2015
SKY PIG (picture book). Pajama Press, 2016
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN (MG novel). Nevermore Press, 2019
TALKING TO THE MOON (MG novel). Red Deer Press, 2018
A HALIFAX TIME-TRAVELLING TUNE (PB). Nimbus Publishing, 2018
KARISSA & FELIX (PB, both author/illustrator). self, 2019
DANCING WITH DAISY. Running the Goat Press, 2019
THE HERMIT (MG novel). Nimbus, 2020


Ann Connor Brimer Award Finalist, Violet Downey Award Finalist, OLA's Best Bets List, Hackmatack Book for THE POWER OF HARMONY, 2014
Governor General's Literary Award Finalist, IBBY's Honour List of Outstanding International Books, SYRCA Finalist, Ann Connor Brimer Finalist for A HARE IN THE ELEPHANT'S TRUNK, 2011
IBBY's Honour List of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities for RAINBOWS IN THE DARK, 2006
YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers for ROCKET MAN, 2015
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

a) I read one of my picture books (DANCING WITH DAISY, RAINBOWS IN THE DARK, THE KING OF KEJI, KARISSA & FELIX, SKY PIG, A HALIFAX TIME-TRAVELLING TUNE) to students in grades P-4 (requires 30 minutes for P/1 groups; an hour for grades 2, 3, 4 classes). For students in grades 5-9, I read from A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (a finalist for the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award). For students in grades 3-7, I read fromThe Power of HarmonyRocket Man or SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. For all grade 2 and up classes, I have an interactive 15-minute PowerPoint I use to generate discussion of the writing life, and a hands-on creative writing exercise using the “other” four senses (not sight); this takes about an hour in total. I can bring my own laptop, if necessary, but I will need a projector, the cord to attach it to my laptop, a screen, and someone who knows the school's technology :) For 2020-2021, my presentation can be delivered via Zoom, or other online platforms.

b) I'm open to suggestions from teachers if there's a certain aspect of writing they'd like me to address. In particular, building characters is a special interest of mine. As well, I sometimes read from my current work-in-progress as I'm always looking for feedback from readers.

Presentation Length:
45 - 60 minutes
children's fiction
Audience Size:
up to 30