Schools/ Festivals

I have been visiting schools, libraries, book festivals, colleges and theatres for over fifteen years. Would you like me to visit your school? I have a 'handy school visit sheet' you can request by email, it has details of what you can expect, and my fee.

Some of the places I have performed include: The Cheltenham Book Festival, The Polka Theatre, Edinburgh Book Festival, Hay-on-Wye, The Foyles Summer of Fun, The Polka Theatre Sunday Story Session, The Northern Children's Book Festival, Beverley Book Festival, Niddfest, The Aye Write Festival in Glasgow, Alnwick Playhouse, Tate Britain, Seven Stories, Hexham Book Festival and many more.

Some places I have given lectures, or taught about making picture books: The Association of Illustrators, SCBWI, Anglia Ruskin University MA in Illustrating for Children and Anglia Ruskin Illustration Summer School.


Cheltenham Festival sent a total rave about you and the event. Even saying how great your family and dog were!
— My publisher talking about Cheltenham Book Festival
Helen’s event was fantastic! Children loved being involved in the story telling part, looking for the lion and exercising their creative minds by predicting various outcomes. Helen taught children how to draw a lion in easy to follow steps, allowing the children (and their parents) to have their own lion to hide. Helen also created us a bespoke window in September 2016. The large fully coloured lion adorned our window for longer than originally planned because we just LOVED it (and so did our customers). It was a striking window display that added colour and excitement as both adults and children stopped to admire it and visited the shop to buy a book. Helen’s window and event left a long lasting buzz and is still mentioned by many of our customers.
— Tereze, Tales On Moon Lane Bookshop, London
Helen’s combination of interactive storytelling and engaging craft inspired the children (and their adults) to make some splendid popup lions based on ‘How to Hide a Lion.’ The group really enjoyed guessing what Helen was drawing on the flipchart and her ability to switch between activities meant that short attention spans were well-catered for. Thanks Helen, we all had great fun.
— Jill Chambers, Spellbound Project Manager, Northumberland
It was a great pleasure for us to welcome Helen to Seven Stories, the audience were enthralled with her interactive way of telling the story. The children (and some adults) loved the opportunity to get to draw with her too. We hope to see Helen back at Seven Stories very soon!
— Paul Black, Events Officer, Seven Stories, Newcastle
Helen engaged wonderfully with our pupils, providing an entertaining, active workshop. There was lots of fun and laughter and the opportunities for learning were always skilfully related back to her books.
— D Mackenzie, Principal Teacher, George Watson's College Junior School, Edinburgh
Fantastic visit to school today from the author / illustrator Helen Stephens!
— Red House School, Norton
To have an author come and read her book to an assembly of children and work with individual classes was an absolute treat! Helen brought her books to life by allowing the children to participate through dressing up as characters and giving the children the opportunity to create a pop up lion. She willingly answered questions by children, demonstrated how she created her characters and explained her process in writing a book - all extremely helpful for possible future authors! The children felt that they had a celebrity in school for the day! Thank you, Helen.
— M Reilly, Class Teacher, St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow
I really enjoyed ‘Fleabag’ and the illustrations because they looked like they were moving and that was because Helen said that she didn’t like her drawings to be perfect.
— Lucy J, Pupil Y10 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow
The children really enjoyed being involved with telling the story and were really motivated to write their own stories. From a teacher point of view I loved the way you took them through the full planning process and the bubbles worked very well.
— Mrs Summerson, Y4 Teacher, Etherley Lane Primary, Bishop Aukland
Helen was a real inspiration to the children who were all keen to show her their own drawings. Watching Helen draw really brought the books to life and we are all looking forward to her return visit.
— Carol Haughton, Cockerton Library, Darlington
Helen’s workshops have been truly inspirational for children and their parents. The workshops captured the magic of creating a story and characters and then bringing it all alive imaginatively. What was wonderful is that Helen’s calm, clear instruction enabled everyone to actually ‘learn’ how to draw and to take a work away with them they could all be very proud of. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the workshops booked-up early. I couldn’t recommend Helen more highly. She’s also a joy to meet and work with.
— Lara Goodband, Co-Director Beverley Literature Festival
‘Thank you, the children and staff enjoyed your visit very much!!’
— Sarah Egan, Teacher, West View Primary School, Hartlepool
Helen’s workshops have been truly inspirational for children and their parents. The workshops captured the magic of creating a story and characters and then bringing it all alive imaginatively. What was wonderful is that Helen’s calm, clear instruction enabled everyone to actually ‘learn’ how to draw and to take a work away with them they could all be very proud of. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the workshops booked-up early. I couldn’t recommend Helen more highly. She’s also a joy to meet and work with.
— Lara Goodband, Co-Director Beverley Literature Festival
Helen’s workshops at The Bowes Museum were fantastic! Not only did she engage the children and their parents with her storytelling, she also sketched her storybook characters in seconds, before the children created their own masterpiece. Brilliant sessions – thank you!
— Amy Bainbridge, Education Co-ordinator, Bowes Museum
Helen created a lovely window for us which none of us want to take out now. Pleased to say too that the book is selling really well on the back of it with people literally stopping as they drive past to come in and buy a copy!
— Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End, London - after I painted their shop window.
I’ve just been in to have a look at the window (I painted Iris and the Lion from ‘How to Hide a Lion’ on the theatre window) and it’s just lovely - thank you for taking the time to paint it and for such a lovely event on Saturday. The feedback has been brilliant.
— Claire Newton, Alnwick Playhouse
Thank you so much for your visit today. The children were buzzing with enthusiasm afterwards and the staff were full of praise. They loved the rapport you had with the children and really enjoyed your books.
— Catherine Costigan, Appletree Gardens School, Whitley Bay
This was a great opportunity for a real author to come to our school and talk to us at assembly. Helen also went from class to class to talk to lots of children and I was her photographer.
— Lewis K, Pupil Y9 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow
It was really fun and creative when my class got to make pop-up lions with Helen.
— Lewis J, Pupil Y10 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow
We were delighted to welcome author and illustrator Helen Stephens into school yesterday. Helen worked with all the children in school on a range of literacy skills from role play in reception to book making in y4. (We even got a sneak peak at her forthcoming children’s book...lucky us!)
— Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher, Tweedmouth West School, Northumberland
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The children really enjoyed the story and we followed it up with a big write about the snowman adventures we had made our picture books about. Some really pleasing results, children very enthusiastic.
— Mrs Jeavons, Y3 Teacher, Etherley Lane Primary, Bishop Aukland
Helen has an obvious rapport with children and with her gentle encouragement, the children attending the session produced some outstanding and original contributions to the pop-up book. I think the key was getting the children to draw their own versions of the story, and develop it in their own way, thus giving their imaginations free rein. The pop-up book will have pride of place in the library. We look forward to having Helen back at a future date.
— Kim Herring, Team Librarian, Newbiggin
An inspirational illustrator.
— Hay-on-Wye Festival
I thorougly enjoyed your session at the library, the children were mesmerised when you hand drew Fleabag!
— Suzy Youldon, Crown Street Library