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Readings & Workshops

Andrea Torrey Balsara offers readings and workshops geared to writing, art and illustration as well as for child and youth empowerment. To learn more about these readings and workshops, or to book Andrea into your classroom or children’s/youth group,

please click here to use the form provided on the contact page.

Andrea is also available for motivational speaking/workshops for adult groups.

Readings by Andrea
Readings by Andrea

(Readings are best done to smaller groups, but larger groups can be accommodated. For little ones (J.K. and S.K.) sessions can be split into two 25-minute sessions.  Usual length for one session is 55 minutes.)


YO, HO, HO, and a Visit from Greenbeard the Pirate Pig! (FOR AGES 4 TO 10)

Young piggywinkles, ages 4-10, will enjoy a romp with Greenbeard! Andrea will read the story, GREENBEARD THE PIRATE PIG, ending with a rousing pirate shanty. Participants will learn how to do their very best, “AAaaarrrr,” and “AHOY!” and “AVAST!” and will learn how to sing like a pirate! A rolicking good time, followed by Q & A. (One 25 minute session is perfect for little ones who have trouble sitting still; schools can have two 25-minute sessions back to back. One 55 minute session includes a demonstration of illustrating techniques, and the basics of the book illustrating process. Movement activities are interspersed so that wee piggy winkles don’t get too wiggly!

UNITY ROCKS! Getting Excited About Diversity! (FOR AGES 4 TO 12)

u´ni·ty (ū´nə-tė) n. 1, the state of being united or uniform. 2, the quantity and integer one. 3, harmony among elements.

di·ver´si·ty (di-vẽr´sə-tė) n. 1, essential difference. 2, variety.

Through drama, storytelling, and music, young people work together in an atmosphere of acceptance, hope and action to help them discover the power of “Unity in Diversity.” Interactive, and great fun! Andrea’s picture book, The Nightingale’s Song, will be read, songs about unity will be sung (with guitar accompaniment!) and children of all backgrounds and ethnicities will feel like they belong.


In this presentation, Andrea wears her illustrator hat. Reading from the “Happy the Pocket Mouse” series, which she illustrates (written by Philip Roy), Andrea will demonstrate how to construct a cartoon character. Perfect for young artists! The presentation can be expanded to include elements from the workshop, DRAWING FROM THE INSIDE OUT, making it adaptable for all age groups.

The Hero’s Journey (for ages 12 and up)

Through storytelling, and readings from the author’s books, including Andrea’s most recent, the young adult illustrated novel, The Great & the Small, students will learn to unlock the power of their own potential. They will be able to draw connections between the stories and heroes they love in literature, film, and pop culture, and their relevance to their own lives.  Especially powerful for young people dealing with loss, trauma, and anxiety.


*Other empowerment workshops/presentations can be crafted for your school/class.


Jennifer Alls
Vice Principal and Teacher Librarian

Kelly St James

“[Andrea] was very informative in explaining the process of book writing and illustrating. Her price was affordable and she was very accommodating to our needs. She allowed us to split her presentation time into two different sittings to accommodate our little ones….

I would highly recommend booking her as a feature author/illustrator. The presentation was both insightful and entertaining. We look forward to reading her next book and having her back for another visit….”

Laura Hurtubise
Integrated Literacy Program Teacher

Mrs. Crocker
Unionville Montessori

The children and the teachers loved the program! I would love it if she could repeat this book next year! 

-The Nightingale's Song presentation

Tralee Reford

Andrea Balsara did several excellent presentations at our school (3 presentations, to be specific; 1 for kinder to grade one, 1 for gr 2/3 classes and 1 for grade 4 and 5 classes…The focus was on DIVERSITY through the use of her excellent picture book, The Nightingale's Song, and other
resources, large visuals, props and guitar playing/songs.

I highly recommend Andrea as a presenter for other schools... Andrea is extremely talented and has written numerous books, including an excellent novel suitable for grade 7 and 8 levels and beyond. I personally read it, hence the recommendation, as it has strong direct and indirect
messages regarding diversity as well as historical references to past situations on our planet.

Holly Earp
Grade 3/4 Teacher

Joan Blackburn
Event Organizer

Andrea was a wonderful speaker at the ladies lunch at Kendal. Andrea reads her stories and brings them to life.

She shared her personal life story and how she draws from experiences for her writings …She was very interesting speaker.

Imagine In The Park

Andrea is a kind, loving individual that inspires everyone around her to use their imagination! While having the pleasure of working with her, her true colours came through. She works wonders with children, and helps them see the possibilities in the impossible. Something that looks so complex she has the art of breaking it down and while using her imagination building the picture to be even more complex than it started. She has a nurturing, calm approach while teaching with children and will accept anyone that shows interest with using their own imagination. You never really know what you are going to find outside in nature, however you won’t know until you start looking!

We cannot wait to work with Andrea again- thank you for everything you do! 

“Ms. Balsara’s presentations were highly engaging and interactive. Students were captivated by her ability to bring her book’s characters to life…. The presentations included a strong message of child and youth empowerment and positive character attributes…. She seemed really able to reach students with her message of ‘never giving up,’ and to always use their imaginations…. Many students asked me when Ms. Balsara could come back again!”

“Andrea’s arrival was highly anticipated by students and staff…and she did not disappoint! Her presentations were engaging and interactive with many interesting visual aids. Andrea’s stories about her family, her pets and her journey to becoming a published author and illustrator, helped the students realize that they can also be great writers…! Many students purchased one or more of Andrea’s books and she signed and personalized every one of them. Students were anxious to take them home to share with their families….”

Andrea has been a huge inspiration to my students and to me. Last school year I read Andrea’s book, “Greenbeard The Pirate Pig“ to my grade 3/4 class. The book was recommended by one of my students. This was just the beginning of what has turned out to be an amazing learning adventure for us! This year we were blessed with an opportunity to learn with and from Andrea through a virtual author visit. We were spoiled further with an illustrator lesson too!


Through these two videos we got a sneak peek into Andrea‘s creative world of being an author and illustrator. Andrea spoke directly to the kiddos explaining her process, experiences and her learning along the way, you could’ve heard a pin drop in my classroom-true engagement! Students have taken the learning from Andrea and have applied it to their writing and illustrations, even during free time! Andrea has become a mentor to many and has kindly been writing us back, answering our many wondering’s. We are so grateful for this amazing opportunity and I know this will be a highlight in my student’s memories for years to come. Thank you so much Andrea! We are truly grateful. 

Workshops by Andrea
Workshops by Andrea

(Workshops are  limited to 30 students at a time, with a 90 minute minimum, depending upon the ages of participants. All workshops will be adapted according to participants’ ages. Ages 8 and up. All art supplies and paper are to be provided by the school/program; the list for supplies will be sent to the school/program in advance.

Drawing From the Inside Out!

A drawing workshop where participants will learn... basic drawing elements and techniques, explore movement and feeling in their own art, as well as create pieces of art that reflect their unique approach to art

Wearing TWO HATS: Being Author AND Illustrator!

A workshop where participants will learn…the elements of story writing, create their own cartoon characters, use a storyboard to lay out illustrations, and create their own comic page.

(For longer sessions, participants can create their own small, illustrated book)

Writing from the Heart: How to Write What You Love

In this writing workshop, participants learn how to write about what matters to them.  Using writing exercises, music and writing prompts

Zen and the Art of Living (and Allowing)

In this workshop/presentation, participants will learn that our “failures” and heartbreaks can pave the way to joy and transformation.

As someone who has struggled with mental wellness, and who continues to manage PTSD, Andrea shares her experiences to help participants shift their perspectives.

Useful for people in all fields and walks of life, but particularly for writers/creatives. 

Can be adapted for any audience.

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