“In little over half an hour, Jessie Janowitz inspired a new generation of writers in Grade V. She made writing feel accessible to everyone through simple steps, clear advice, and opportunities to experiment and share ideas. Students and teachers left feeling primed and eager to write our own stories. I encourage everyone to have Ms. Janowitz visit your school!”

- David Raabe, 5th Grade Teacher, The Park School, Brookline, MA

"Jessie Janowitz hit the sweet spot with my students. She spoke with wit, verve, and ease, and the kids responded in kind. Her presentation offered a balance of just enough background on The Doughnut Fix to give a sense of her work as a writer for those kids who hadn't yet read it, and then used her own work to share some approaches to writing that young writers could use to help generate and rework their own stories. I would welcome her return to Bishop's anytime."

- Catherine Michaud, English Department, The Bishop's School, San Diego, CA

"Throughout the interactive presentation, she engaged students in discussing the writing process, asking and answering questions. Together, they covered the elements of story, talking about characters, plot and structure; the need for tension or conflict in a story – some kind of obstacle that must be overcome."

Article on the visit and students' response to it

Jessie came and spoke to an ICT fifth grade with a diverse population of students. She engaged them all! Jessie’s journey she told through her presentation was so interesting and well thought out. She not only kept their attention, she engaged the class in such an interactive way that was really inspiring, and I am forever grateful!

- Lauren Ginsberg DeVilbiss, Librarian, PS 28 Wright Brothers School, New York, NY

Jessie is excited to do author visits at elementary, middle, and high schools. Jessie engages with students to explore different elements of storytelling, including perspective, tense, and structure, using examples from her own work and ones students provide. Building on her background as a lawyer, Jessie encourages students to consider the impact of how stories are told.

Jessie can tailor the following presentations to the interests, ages, and size of different groups. With every presentation,  Jessie solicits participation to maximize engagement and make the experience a collaborative one. 

What If ?: The Secret Ingredient for a Good Story (and Just About Everything Else)

Before we do, we dream. Jessie uses the story of her journey to becoming a published author to encourage kids to see their imaginations as critical tools not just for pursuing creative endeavors but for accomplishing any goal. Along the way, Jessie will:

  • Introduce different elements of story, such as character, plot, and structure

  • Illustrate examples of types of revision, including changing perspective, tense, and structure.

Write Now! Character, Setting, and Plot

*Best for smaller groups, 4th-12th graders, workshop format

In an interactive setting, Jessie will engage the group in a discussion about the importance of character and the connection between character and plot, encouraging participants to see how plot can be generated by character. Then the group will collaborate to plan a story with the goal of developing plots out of well-drawn characters. Along the way, Jessie will:

  • Discuss and explore the different ways to create setting and how setting can impact plot

  • Introduce the idea of a character’s desire line and require participants to create a desire line for their main characters

  • Illustrate the idea of “show, don’t tell,” by requiring participants to write a few sentences of a character in action to show their emotional state