Jess is passionate about storytelling and encouraging kids to read and write creatively. She enjoys interacting with children and helping them to understand the creative process. She uses examples from her own craft of narrative to connect with kids about their own writing. She presents to kids from Kindergarten to Year 6 in a fun and exciting way.
Jess uses images, storytelling, activities, characterisation and improvisation to help kids create and share their own stories. Her talks leave children excited about the power of books and the joys of reading!
Jess is adaptable to a school’s needs and can tailor her presentation accordingly. She presents on a range of topics including narrative writing, the stages of narrative, digital storytelling, the creation of characters and setting, creating tension and suspense, use of humour, genre, her own writing process and the benefits of reading.
Creative Writing Workshops
Jess is available for creative writing workshops. These range from year 3 through to year 8.
A few examples of workshops on offer -
Jess shares her own experience with writing plays, television scripts and books for children. She uses stories from her own life as a director, producer, writer, teacher and mother who has always championed stories for children. She shares her own tips and advice for creativity and story structure and empowers children to tell their own stories.
Jess is available for creative writing workshops. These range from year 3 through to year 8.
Writing Effective Endings
A good story needs to be strong from the first line through to the final page. It’s all too easy to start strong with a great hook and an interesting set of characters, but then lose momentum along the way and stop short at the end. This workshop gives writers an understanding of various endings and how to choose the one with the most emotional impact.
Overcoming Story Problems
Writers solve problems using words instead of numbers. But what to do when you don't know how to move the story forward or you hit a wall? This workshop gives you techniques to overcome writers block and solve story problems.
The Magic Door
Fantasy writing is a genre that children are naturally drawn to. In this workshop children can explore their own portal into a magic world through the device of a magic door. They will work on the world, the setting, characters, magical creatures and devices and how to make it back to their own world!
Loud Macaws and Muddy Paws
Join Jess as she takes you on a rollicking journey to create stories about her favourite subject – animals! Discover how to inject humour, surprise, suspense and loving characters into your stories.
One Lost Bag
What would you do if you found a lost bag full of interesting objects and treasures? What clues could the contents tell you about the owner? Writers observe details about the world just like detectives. In this mystery writing workshop you’ll create characters, describe settings, plot an exciting story and start writing your own mystery. Who was the owner of the bag and what happened to them?
Get Smart -
Behind every successful secret agent is a gadget genius. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to invent three tools which could save the life of a spy. We'll then write a story where your secret agent needs to use each one!
Do You Dare? -
We'll be turning out the lights in this spooky workshop as we dare to scare. Learn tips for injecting tension and suspense in your scary story and we guarantee you'll feel the chills.
My Perfect Pet
Create the perfect pet. Just what is your perfect pet like? Do they have the head of a lion, the feet of a duck and the tail of a tiger? Can they run fast, are they cuddly, do they talk? In this fun writing workshop we’ll create a new type of animal species that perfectly matches your life and then we’ll write a story about them!
The Call to Adventure
Whether your hero is on the cricket pitch, fighting tigers in a jungle or a bully at school; their adventure begins by answering the call to adventure. This workshop gives you the tools to create exciting and suspenseful stories filled with non stop page turning action.
From Foxes in Soxes to Bums going Psycho
Is it really all about poo, farts and snot? Why do kids laugh at Dad jokes? Join me for a look some of the best comedy writing for kids from Dr Seuss to Andy Griffiths. We will explore what works, why it works and how to apply it to your own writing. Learn how to write stories that will make you and your friends laugh!
The Importance of Planning
This two-hour workshop gives students the structure they need to plan their own stories prior to writing. Jess focuses on structure, character and plot to give students tools and confidence to work both within the structure of story planning and the creative freedom of the actual story writing.
What’s Your Superpower?
Imagine if you could fly or make yourself invisible? What if you could heal pain with a touch or read minds? In this fun workshop we’ll create our own superpower, work out how it was first discovered, the character’s weakness (think Kryptonite!) and whether or not to use the superpower for good or evil! We’ll create a character with this superpower and write a story about it. How does an extraordinary person fit into the ordinary world?
Bags of Awesome
You just found out you have inherited a lolly factory! Time to start inventing new ideas for chocolates and sweets. Let your mind run wild and get a bit Willy Wonka with it! Will you make gob stoppers that glow or the world’s largest lollipop? We’ll write stories about the inventions and how they might go wrong!
Dear Diary – All About You –
Writing a diary is a great way to reflect on your day, your holiday or even your year. In this journaling workshop, we’ll explore subjects which reveal your unique way of looking at the world. We’ll tap into your memories, favourite holidays, what you love doing most and even your most prized possessions!
As an author, parent and tutor who has been speaking in schools for over 10 years, Jess Black is passionate about teaching creative writing. Jess has taught hundreds of writing workshops for kids and adults and knows how to make the process fun and engaging. Jess knows how to help students understand the balance between planning and writing, using character to drive story and helping tap into the imagination to come up with inventive plots. Jess helps students tap into their own lives and memories to create exciting stories that resonate.
Workshop for Adults
Writing for children means thinking about your own past, while staying in touch with young people of today.
As a writer for children this is the line you will walk – using your own memories of life but making them relevant to a new generation of children. It means staying open to the world around you, in touch with the child inside you while also having an idea of what sells and why.
An introduction to the market of children’s publishing, what publishers look for and the perennials kids love. This course will help you find the hook for your idea, pitch a story and write a synopsis. You’ll also learn about themes and language suited to different age groups and basic story structure used when writing for children. You will get a taste for the three-draft process, your character arc, as well as themes and language suitable for your chosen age group.
We had the opportunity to listen to Jess Black speak during the Newcastle Writer’s Festival. The students found her presentation entertaining and very interesting. Listening to stories from Jess’ youth and her love for animals and the pleasure she received from their many adventures were both enjoyable and engaging. Like the books Jess has written, she really had the ability to relate to the children and take their imaginations on a memorable journey.
During the presentation Jess was able to inspire the students to become better writers by suggesting practical strategies and ideas for them to get started with their own writing. The benefits of this were definitely evident in the work samples the children produced afterwards.
I would most definitely recommend selecting Jess Black for an author visit to your school. Thanks Jess for a fabulous presentation! Renata Powell, St Joseph’s Primary School
I had the absolute pleasure of attending two sessions at Newcastle Region Library on Thursday 4 April.
The sessions gave the school children an insight into how Jess became involved in writing the very popular Bindi Irwin series and the RSPCA series of books.
Jess also shared with the children some great creative writing tips, where do ideas come from? how to overcome writers block, and most importantly to have fun with their writing.
I can highly recommend Jess for school visits, library visits and creative writing workshops.
Well done Jess! Kylie Duncan, Marketing Manager MacLean’s Booksellers
We were fortunate to have Jess Black visit us last Thursday. She brought with her excellent communication skills and love for what she does.
Jess has had a background in publishing and editing as well as a love for reading. During her visit Jess spoke openly about the positives of reading and using imagination every day. She engaged with the students in developing characters for future stories.
The students were keen to find out about Bindi Irwin and Australia Zoo as well as the development of the stories in the Bindi Series that Jess wrote. Jess told tales of her life and adventures in South Africa, Mexico and Australia. The children were spellbound. Jess came with beaded animal toys made in South Africa as a stimulus for character development and asked various students to carry on the building of each new animal character.
I would like to thank Jess Black for her great rapport and desire to meet the brief for her visit to our College. Neil Walpole, Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College
We would highly recommend choosing Jess Black as your guest Author. Jess has a warm conversational style that really puts the children at ease. They enjoyed hearing tales of her childhood; listened intently as she read from one her books; and during jointly constructed story time, the students were all engaged, critically thinking and wanting to contribute to the discussion. Mrs Papadopoulos, Al Noori Primary School, Greenacre
Fun, engaging and informative. Jess Black visited our preschool children to discuss the importance of caring for animals. During the visit the children asked many questions about Jess’ love for animals and about how she comes up with ideas for stories. Jess then invited the children to join in with her, and with the use of puppets, engaged the children in the reading of an animal story. There was lots of laughter and smiles and a great time was had by all. We can’t wait to have her visit again! Ann Parker, Riverview Early Learning Centre