image map

The Double Vision of the Author/Illustrator

In every picture book there are two stories being told. One is in the words; the other is in the pictures. Using his books as guides, Ian explores the delicate balance that must be achieved between text and images to create a successful picture book.

Highly interactive and laced with dollops of humour, Ian's presentations respect the maturity level of the participants. Each presentation is chock full of information that students can take back to their classrooms for discussion long after the visit has ended. There's lots of storytelling too.

The Sessions

Ian enjoys visiting schools and libraries and talking to children of all ages from kindergarten to university. He will take up to 100 students per session. His sessions last approximately 1 hour and allow time for questions and discussion. He can do up to 4 presentations in one day, or two sessions in a half-day. Ian requires a full-day session when he is working outside the city of Toronto. A full day can be shared by two institutions.


Ian will do illustration or writing workshops with children. He works with smaller groups of approximately 20 students at a time. Ian is also available to speak at conferences and workshops for adults.

Preparation and Set-Up

The school library is usually the most comfortable place for a visit, but Ian will also present in a gym if necessary. Ian may require a slide projector and screen for his presentation. Ian will be pleased to bring books to sell and autograph if requested. A booklist and parent letter can be downloaded, copied, and distributed. Schools will receive 10% of total book sales (excluding GST in Canada).

Teachers should prepare students in advance for his visit by reading his books and giving students time to become familiar with his work. If the students are excited and interested in his work, the visit will be a fun and memorable event!


Ian has travelled all over the world and is happy to do author/illustrator visits out of town. In addition to his fees, the hosting school or library will cover the cost of transportation, meals and accommodation.

Schools and libraries can apply for funding assistance from the Writers Union of Canada and the Canada Council.

For information about Ian's fees and to discuss available dates for a visit, write to


November 24, 2003

Dear Mr Wallace

I think you were a good reader because you read with excitement and expression. You also made it sound like the characters were actually speaking. I also liked your oral reading because it sounds like you love reading and you read like you would to your own children. You are a good reader because you have written alot of books. I liked when you used people to be certain things like someone who was a music instructor, a tree and other people who got to answer questions.

By Sarah Julien
Illustrated by Leslie Hanly

and ... from all the kids in Ms Drimmie's grade four/five class of Confederation Central School, Sarnia, Ontario

Dear Ian

I love your books and I think The Mummers Song was fabulous. Granny looked so real. Eaven thow you're a mainlander, you know alot about Newfoundland. You must be a great man.

Your friend
Noelle Bareaux
Gander Academy, Gander, Newfoundland

Canada rocks and so do you!

Dear: Ian Wallnut

When you came to our school I had the best time ever! I had never laughed that much in a day.

I think you should be a comed_ian_, you will make more money and it has your name in it.

from: Valerie

We so enjoyed having Ian Wallace visit Woodridge Schools as the keynote speaker for our Young Author Celebration. Students and adults alike were enchanted by his presentation! ... Equally fulfilling was the fact that Mr. Wallace shared much with us about the process of story writing and illustrating. The entire experience was enriching for our school district not only in terms of literacy exposure, but in terms of sharing the craft. Ian Wallace is a warm and gifted presenter. What a wonderful visit we had!

– Jodi Innes, Meadowview School Principal and Young Author Coordinator
Woodridge School District 68
Woodridge, Illinois, USA

I thought I was a good storyteller until I saw Ian Wallace tell The Name of the Tree. He completely brought the story to life for me and I can see there are things that I can do in my own storytelling to make them better. He was great.

– Teacher, Beaconsfield Elementary School
Vancouver, B.C.

Ian Wallace was really funny and he made me laugh especially when he changed his voice for the different characters.

He showed me things in his art that I wouldn't have noticed before and he is a very good artist.

– Students, Beaconsfield Elementary School
Vancouver, B.C.

Shanghai American School, Shanghai, China – March 2003 – From Ian Wallace We Learned...

Staff Comments

Best ever
Engaged the students – not just talking by the author
Pulled in the students – they were very responsive
Personalized – found those students who needed special attention
Asked names and remembered them
Nice to hear about revisions – 273 lines reduced to 82
Students had fun and learned about illustrating

What students learned about writing

You get your ideas from your life
Be creative and work hard
Research is cool. You get to know a lot of things
Good writing makes reading fun

What students learned about illustrating

You can explain what is happening with pictures
Think about what you want to draw and make many drafts
You don't have to draw the whole object – if you put in part of something the reader will understand and think of the part that is missing
Small details are important – where are the animals looking?
Your pictures have to show respect for the people, animals or environment that you are drawing

What we learned about storytelling

Use lots of expressions in your eyes, face, voice, and body
Be nice and kind to the audience
Be funny and embarrassing
Don't be shy and get stage fright
Speak loudly and clearly to keep things interesting but make your voice match the ideas

What we learned about publishing

Authors and illustrators don't make very much money
You may not get much money but you can get really famous and win prizes like the Mr. Christie Award
Lots of your hard work goes into the trash and not into the book
Even a professional author doesn't get it right the first time and has to edit, edit, edit.

Other thoughts

I hope that you will make more books and pictures for us
Come again!
Thank you. We had fun.

Gander Read Fest, September 2002

Read an account of Ian's visit to Gander, Newfoundland, for World Literacy of Canada's Read Fest.

Copyright © Ian Wallace