Anne Sibley O’Brien’s work celebrates the glorious variety of the human family, through expressive portraits of diverse children and cultures.

Anne is a versatile and flexible presenter, offering: Her titles are rich resources for curriculum connections, from the ethical questions raised in Jamaica’s Find and 6 other titles in the Jamaica series; to portraits of new Americans in A Path of Stars and Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle; to Asian history and language lessons in the graphic-novel retelling, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea; to the drama of contemporary nonviolence across the world in After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance. She is known for the thorough research and cross-cultural collaborations through which she creates accurate and authentic representations, evidenced by the awards she has received, including the Aesop Award, the Africana Book Award, 2 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature, the Global Korea Award, IRA’s Notable Books for a Global Society, and the National Education Association’s Author-Illustrator Human and Civil Rights Award.


A Special Note to EARCOS schools:

“Speaking at the 2015 EARCOS conference in Malaysia in March was an extraordinary experience. I so much enjoyed meeting many of you and having conversations about visiting your schools. I would love to meet your students and share my books, my experiences growing up in Korea as a 3rd-culture kid and attending an international school, and my reflections on racial and cultural identity, with your school community. “I’m excited to work with you to make these plans a reality by collaborating with schools on timing and combining visits in regions so that travel costs can be shared. Please contact me if you’d like to have an author appearance - anything from a single day to a week-long residency - and we’ll see what we can create together.”


For more information or to book any speaking engagement, please contact Anne through this website, or call (207)766-5555 [For information or to book events in Korea (other than international schools), please contact: Myung Ja Yoo ~ yoomyun2@gmail.com] Read Anne Sibley O’Brien’s blogposts about her presentations: East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) 2015 Teachers Conference: “Malaysia!” International School of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: “Mongolia!” Brent School, The Philippines: “Librarians Make the Most of a School Visit” and “The Philippines!” Concordian School, Bangkok, Thailand: “Bangkok!” Seoul and Sejong City, South Korea: “Teaching Korean Students” Shanghai American School, China: “Shanghai!” American Overseas School of Rome, Italy: “Inspiration in Rome” Jordan Acres School, Brunswick, Maine (with author Reza Jalali): “Yum!” Maine Civil Rights Team statewide conference: “The Colors of My World” Philadelphia schools, Pennsylvania (with author Margy Burns Knight): “Connecting Kids to Their World” Longley Elementary School, Lewiston, Maine (with author Margy Burns Knight): “Universal Questions”

School Visits

“Since my first classroom visit in 1984, I’ve presented in hundreds of schools in New England, across the country, and in a number of international schools. I’ve worked with kindergarten through high school, with teachers and parents, in groups from single classes to whole school assemblies, for single days, several days or week-long residencies. Below are some examples of the work I can do. See also my Appearance Schedule.

Author-Illustrator Classroom Workshops

Grade levels are only suggestions; any book presentation can be adapted for a younger or older audience. “I can do up to four sessions, 30-60 minutes each, per day. Some of my favorite school days include a larger assembly with a slide show presentation, followed by smaller sessions of 20-50 students, with lots of time for questions and answers. Each student workshop includes an interactive digital slide show of the featured book and the process of creating it, and may include a hands-on activity (see suggestions below). I can also present an overview of a number of books or my entire body of work. I particularly enjoy tailoring my programs to a school or classroom theme or curriculum unit. Common units have included: country or continent studies, celebrations, peace, character and core values (respect, responsibility, perseverance, etc), building community, and immigration. Possible curriculum connections are listed below each book under ‘topics’.”

Grades K-1 Books and Workshop Menu

(*most recent titles) Book: I’m New Here* by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge) Description: Three immigrant children confront the challenge of adjusting to a new language, culture and school, with support from their classmates. Topics: Immigration, adjustment to a new home, welcoming Activity: Being New, Being Welcoming Book: The Jamaica picture book series (including Jamaica’s Find [available in Spanish], Jamaica and Brianna, and Jamaica is Thankful*) by Juanita Havill, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Description: Jamaica, a young African-American girl, navigates small, everyday moral dilemmas at home, at school and with friends. Topics: emotions, making ethical choices, cross-racial friendships Activity: Drawing Feelings
Book: Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Tilbury House) Description: Rituals from around the world for welcoming babies into our lives. Topics: celebrations, birth traditions
Book: (1) What Will You Be, Sara Mee?* by Kate Aver Avraham, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge Publishers), with (2) A Special Day (trade leveled reader) [available in Spanish] by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Lee & Low Books) Description: (1) Chong, a young Korean-American boy, narrates the experience of celebrating his baby sister’s first birthday tol, including the traditional prophecy game. (2) A Korean-American girl gets ready for the celebration of her beloved grandfather’s 60th birthday. Topics: celebrations, connecting the dots between what you love and what you might become, Korean traditions Activity: “What Will You Be?”

Grades 2-3 Books and Workshop Menu

Book: Africa Is Not a Country by Margy Burns Knight, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Tilbury House) Description: A day on the African continent, showing its extraordinary diversity through the activities of children in 25 countries. Topics: daily lives of children, examining stereotypes of Africa Activity: Daily Life drawing exercise comparing students’ lives with those of students in African countries, based on what they’ve learned from the book
Book: Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella by Jewell Reinhart Coburn and Tzexa Lee, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Shen’s Books) Description: This adaptation of a Hmong tale shows traditional village life among one of the hill tribes of Laos. Topics: Elements of Cinderella tales Activity: “Princesses & Princes” (exploration of race & gender roles)
Book: Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle* by Reza Jalali, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Tilbury House) Description: Shirin, an Iranian-American girl living in contemporary suburban Maine, tells of observing Ramadan with her family, including her rivalry with her older brother, Ali. Topics: religious observance, Islam, siblings
Book: A Path of Stars* by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge Publishers) Description: Dara, a Cambodian-American girl in Maine, draws from the strengths of her grandmother’s stories when the family experiences the death of a beloved relative. Topics: grandparents, stories, loss and healing
Book: Talking Walls - Discover Your World* by Margy Burns Knight, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Tilbury House) [This “classic edition” combines the two original Talking Walls titles, updated and revised for reading aloud.] Description: All around the world, walls tell important stories of the people who built and use them. Topics: walls, comparative cultures [additional Workshop: Anne and author Margy Burns Knight are also available to present jointly, to grades K-5, about any of the books they’ve created together, or an overview of their work: “Discover Your World”- exploring global cultures through the lens of human commonalities — walls, immigrant stories, traditions for welcoming babies, and the daily life of children. The workshop includes an interactive discussion led by Margy, engaging students in the content of the books and the research and editing process. Meanwhile, Anne will create a full-color painting of a child’s face, demonstrating her process and the medium of water soluble pastels. At the end of the day, the four sketches will be given to the school. More at http://www.margyburnsknight.com/presentation.html]

Grades 4-8 Books and Workshop Menu

Book: In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien Description: 12-year-old Mia and her brother Simon are with their father on a tour of North Korea when he is arrested and the siblings have to escape over the border with China on their own. Topics: North Korea, racial identity Book: After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien (Charlesbridge Publishers) Description: Portraits of fifteen activists around the world show how Gandhi’s message and methods have been applied. Topics: nonviolence, racism and civil rights Activity: Drawing Difference - demonstration of how to draw people, including proportions and racial differences additional Workshop: “Moral Courage” - creating posters of nonviolence activists, community leaders, and/or students examining stands they took exemplifying moral courage
Book: The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge Publishers) Description: In a graphic novel adaptation of this traditional adventure tale, a Korean folk hero challenges government corruption and champions the common people. Topics: medieval society, writing systems, heroes, dragons, Robin Hood legends, justice Activity: Drawing a Korean Dragon additional Workshop: “Composing Comics”

High School & Adult

Book: After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien (Charlesbridge Publishers) Stories about the process of creating the award-winning book, After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance (including the unlikely collaboration with and personal journey of son and co-writer Perry O’Brien, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and became a conscientious objector); and connections to present-day movements of nonviolent resistance.

“Following Impulse: The Creative Process”

An exploration of process in writing, illustrating, performing, and living life as an artist, drawn from forty years of creative work, more than fifteen years of writing a column entitled “The Illustrator’s Perspective.”

“From the Heart: Illustrating Across Race and Culture”

An overview of creating 31 books about diverse people, places and cultures, and examination of what constitutes authentic representation, from the perspective of an artist who grew up bilingual and bicultural. This workshop can be offered for teachers and/or parents:

“Books As Bridges”

How children learn about difference, including racial identity development and the neuroscience of bias, and how to use multicultural literature to spark conversations on race, culture and other differences, including recommended book lists.

School Fees

(NOTE from Anne: After many years, I have raised my fees for the 2019-2020 school year to be closer to the going rates for author visits. I also continue to be deeply committed to serving underserved and underfunded schools. If these fees don’t fit your budget and/or if the visit is grant-funded, please contact me so we can make an arrangement for a workable fee.)

Within Maine

New England

Beyond New England

Discounts are available for 3 or more days on one campus. ALL FEES ARE NEGOTIABLE. Anne is particularly interested in visiting schools in low-income and/or under-served areas. If your school has limited funds, please do not let these prices deter you from contacting her about a visit.