Reading Workshops Grades K-12

"I found my purpose beyond illness. That's when transformation began and healing happened. Whether you suffer or support a loved one, I want to help you find your purpose. It all begins with hope and positive change." 

The Reading Workshop focuses on a reading of my new illustrated picture book, Sally, geared to students of all ages. This talk involves a conversation of the story and its themes, as well as a detailed discussion of what inspired me to write the story. We discuss how it was created, the development of illustrations, why I wrote it, and how I came up with the idea to write a life-changing story. I also carry my other four publications and my manuscripts to show and share. I finish with a discussion of upcoming projects that I am currently working on. This workshop is geared to any grade level, from K to 12. Depth and intensity will vary depending on the grade I am speaking with. Homelessness is topical. It is something we all need to become sensitized to. People are lost, people are suffering, many are family and friends. What can we do about it? The homeless need a voice, and only we can give them that by opening our ears and our hearts to them. My reading and discussion will be age-appropriate depending on the grade I speak with. The complexity increases with each grade level.

Sally (Chipmunka Publishing, UK, 2015) is a very special story with an extremely important message. It conveys a message of hope, empathy, compassion, and acceptance that we all need to hear. I wrote Sally during a difficult time in 2005, looking for some sort of spark, some sort of hope in my life. I thought that a story for youth would definitely promote change in our world, and in my world. My goal was to open eyes to the connection between mental illness and homelessness. I achieved this. I am convinced that most, if not all of the homeless, are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Without the loving support I had during my times of extreme suffering, I would have resorted to the streets. If we can open eyes, hearts, and minds to the severity of homelessness, the intensity of extreme sickness, and the stigma that surrounds our lost ones, we will change perspective, and ultimately, bring our homeless … home. Sally is a story that humanizes those who live on the streets. No one chooses to live on the streets. Sickness, rejection, abandonment, addiction … these are all reasons why someone ends up alone. No one deserves the streets. Sally proves this. It is not only a story … it’s a reality, reminding all of us to never let our loved ones go.

Sally carries a deep and profound message. I was convinced that the primary message was "reach out and help someone who is suffering and alone". Once I completed the story, I realized there was another hidden message. It is this: Give and you shall receive. Jesus shared this message with us 2000 years ago. Although Tom changes Sally's life forever by “giving of himself”, something even more magical happens. He realizes that his life has changed just as much, because of his random acts of kindness. It is a powerful message of reciprocity. That's how love works. If only we all recognized it.

Time for Workshop: 1 hour (+/- 5 min.)

Presentation Fee: $500 for one reading/discussion, $600 for two readings, $700 for three readings.

Travelling to your city: I would love to visit. There will be reasonable travelling expenses needed or trips that require 2 or more hours of driving.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the "Reserve Your Presentation Now" button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.

Changing Schools One Word At A Time

Since 2013, I have hosted over 70 presentations and workshops at schools on the beautiful gifts of reading and writing. My feedback has been superlative. I will continue to host workshops in the 2018-2019 school year. I would love to come out to your school to present to your staff and students.

Literacy. It is one of the most important gifts bestowed upon us, yet so many students lack the education and resources necessary to read and write effectively. They are the building blocks of all learning. Without them, we would not comprehend or understand the worlds of mathematics, science & technology, social studies ... the list just goes on and on. With effective use of these critical skills, we are guaranteed to foster an enjoyment in learning and in life. In turn, we create a passion which will lead to future success down any chosen path.

We are all responsible for our school and the people within it, and especially for those who struggle with literacy. Literacy is one of the most important, life-changing skills in our schools today. Many children are falling behind, lacking an inspiration and desire to reach out and share their ideas, their stories, their adventures. When students fear speaking up, their grades suffer, their motivation drops, and there is a higher likelihood that they will lose complete interest in school by their teenage years. It is during these years that reading and writing must peak if they are going to find success in society. With a strong base of reading, writing will begin to flourish and a student is equipped for subsequent learning. When they are equipped, they are enthusiastic, and they find a love of learning that will carry them lifelong. If we can instill an enjoyment in these areas, imagination and creativity will do the rest. As an author of 5 publications, my presentation helps stir this energy, this joy, creating a yearning to reach for more in the areas of reading and writing. We can change our schools one word at a time and, in turn, avoid the devastating effects of illiteracy. Our kids are worth it. With the right guidance and direction, their capabilities are limitless. We all deserve a chance to share our story in whatever way we choose. I have proved that sharing your story changes your life forever. It now changes the lives of others.

If you are interested in a visit, please click on the "Reserve Your Presentation Now" button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page. Thank you.



"Chris Nihmey presented his new picture book entitled, "Sally", which involves a teenager and his interactions with a homeless woman. He spoke to 60 grade 2 students at the Ruth Dickinson Library. His enthusiasm was contagious and he kept the students focused for over an hour-and-a-half which can be very challenging to do with 7-year-olds!  He read the story with the use of an LCD projector and spoke in an age-appropriate way; his friendly demeanor was very heartfelt. 
We learned how we should deal with the homeless in our world."
Sean Haughian, Ottawa
Tina Sidoli, Ottawa

"My daughter and I read “Sally” and we loved it! The story was beautiful and the illustrations are breathtaking. She keeps it beside the bed and always says how much she loves it. A few tears were definitely shed! We were so moved by your beautiful book."

Octavia La Prairie, Ottawa


“What a powerful book!  I read it to her last night and we both had tears in our eyes.  Wonderful book and message!  I wish you success and continued healing.” 

Chris Topper, Ottawa


"I did pick up a copy of “Sally” and it is fabulous.  I love the message.  It is exactly what I think society needs to hear.  And the illustrations are phenomenal.  There should be a copy of it in every school library, not just in Ottawa - across the country.  Mental health literacy should be woven into the curriculum in a very significant way, for two reasons. First, if we could start really identifying kids with issues at a young age, so much potential might be saved, and secondly, we need awareness to build a more compassionate society that will really go out and gather up these people and help them heal or at the very least, live in dignity with their illnesses."  

Anne McEwen, Ottawa


"I just finished reading your book. Wow, well done! What a powerful story to share with students. So much discussion can come from it for sure. I really enjoyed it. It was so well written. Thanks for sharing your gift with all of us."

Lisa Hurd, Teacher, Ottawa 


"I read your beautiful “Sally” and will definitely share it. It is very well written and contains a powerful message - THE INCREDIBLE VALUE OF COMPASSION. Chris is an entertaining and prolific author. I encourage all readers to purchase his two fantastic books. If you want to learn more about mental health and homelessness, these are the books to buy. Pure gems!"

Raymond Tremblay, Ottawa