Reading Workshop – KGD – Gr. 12

Reading Workshops For KGD to Gr. 12

“Open your eyes. See what others do not see or ‘choose’ not to see. Reach out to those who have lost everything including their desire to go on. They are NOT there by choice. But WE do have a choice. A smile or a hello is a start to mending a broken heart.”

The Reading Workshop focusses on a reading of my illustrated picture book, Sally, a story of the unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and a homeless woman. This workshop is geared to students of all ages. This talk involves a reading, conversation about the story and its impactful themes, as well as a detailed look at the inspiration behind the story: the idea, the planning, the influences, the inspiration. Homelessness is topical. It is something we all need to become sensitized to. The homeless need a voice. We can give them a voice by opening our ears and our hearts to them.

Sally (Chipmunka Publishing, UK, 2015) is a very special story conveying messages of hope, empathy, compassion, and acceptance. I wrote Sally during a difficult time in 2005, looking for some sort of spark, some sort of hope in my life. My goal was to create a story that highlights the connection between mental illness and homelessness. Homelessness is not a choice. Most, if not all, of the homeless population are suffering from some form of mental illness or affliction of the mind. Many have been rejected and abandoned for this very reason. Homelessness has never been more prevalent as we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. It has brought fear, unpredicability, and uncertainty for so many, and has separated us in every way. It has left many families and individuals without homes, shelter, and food, the very things we take for granted every day. Had I lacked support in my suffering, I would have resorted to the streets. Perpective changes with education and awareness. Judgement and prejudice wither away. Each homeless person has a name. They deserve our utmost respect. Never let our loved ones go. We must educate and steer our children towards healthy living by teaching them to be PREVENTATIVE and PROACTIVE. If they are struggling, they must speak up early and often. Early intervention is key to short-term recovery and finding hope, true joy, and fulfillment in life. Living healthy and getting help immediately will keep our youth off the streets.

Give and you shall receive. Paraphrasing Jesus’ poignant words, when we impact another through a random act of kindness, we inevitably feel this impact within. Change begins with a choice. Selfish becomes selfless.

Safety Measures/Preparatory/Follow-Up



Unfortunately, we are not through this pandemic. Our hospitals are overwhelmed with many of our youth and infections are still prevalent. It is for this reason I am not visiting schools in person as I do not want to host any gatherings that will increase the risk of infection or long-term ramifications for those attending. My talks are solely VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS at this time.

This DOCUMENT outlines activities that your school and school community can implement prior to, and following my visit, to ensure that my message is well received, understood, and reinforced. I provide staff with several documents which include mental health links, resources, effective strategies, ideas, and several ways that teachers/parents can educate their students and children at home to create awareness, understanding, and compassion for those who struggle. Included are steps teachers/parents can take to receive direction and treatment for their own ailments. Each listener, upon request, will receive a bookmark that links to my website. On there are mental health links and resources, and a contact page where I can always be reached. Help is always available, prior to, and following my talk. Never hesitate to reach out. PREVENTION IS EARLY INTERVENTION. It is most definitely the key to pro-action.

Here is a QUESTIONNAIRE that can be distributed following my visit. It is a chance for students to reflect on my messages. Questions can be used for any follow-up activities, or discussion prior to my visit. Classroom activities tied to mental health and wellness are always encouraged to continue the conversation. You can also review my “goals” on this page.

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

Presentation Fee: $400 for one presentation, $500 for two, $600 for three.

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 on the gifts of reading and writing. 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. With effective use of these critical skills, we foster an enjoyment in learning and in life. We create a passion which will lead to future success down any chosen path.

Iliteracy. When a child cannot write or read, they lack a desire to speak up, to reach out, and to share their ideas, their stories, their adventures. Grades suffer, motivation drops, and there is a higher likelihood they will drop out of school before graduation. With a strong base of reading and writing, a student is equipped for subsequent learning and lifelong success. If we can instill an enjoyment in these areas, imagination and creativity will do the rest. As an author of 6 publications, my presentation stirs this energy, this joy, creating a yearning to reach for more in reading and writing, and in life. We can change our schools one word at a time and, in turn, avoid the devastating effects of illiteracy. We all have a story to share. My own journey proves that sharing your story will not only change your life, but also the lives of those you impact.

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 & Tina Sidoli

Teachers, 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


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


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. We learned how we should deal with the homeless in our world.

Anne McEwen


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

Principal, 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