Member Profile

Please note: All profiles are member-generated.

Jan L. Coates

Photo: Nancy Jennings 2014

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 thirteen English as a Second Language chapter books for use in 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. My kids Liam and Shannon are young adults and live in Toronto.

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


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
Talking to the Moon. Red Deer Press, 2018
A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune. Nimbus Publishing, 2018


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 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 Harmony or Rocket Man. For all grade 2 and up classes, I have a 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 :)

b) A picture book creation workshop which works well with all ages; this takes a minimum of 2 hours as the students write and illustrate simple picture books, and requires follow-up time by the classroom teacher.

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

Presentation Length:
one hour
children's fiction
Audience size:
up to 75
Workshop Description:

My two-hour picture book creation workshop runs most smoothly with a single class, grades 2 and up. I bring along several simple but effective picture books as examples. It works best if students spend some time before my visit thinking of a picture book topic. Students work at their own pace, beginning with creating a picture book "dummy" on a large sheet of paper, representing the 16 (or so) pages of their soon-to-be finished books. After some editing with me, students copy their text into picture books (which I provide), with the illustrations being the final (and longest) stage of the project. Students will require coloured pencils, but I provide all other materials.

I've done this workshop with students from grades 2 - 9, and it's really a lot of fun - they can come up with amazing ideas, and many are wonderfully creative illustrators. Rarely does a student complete the entire project within the two hours allotted, but teachers seem happy to allow additional time in the days following my visit.

Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
Two sessions:
Three sessions:
Four sessions:
GST not applicable