About MeI'm the author of poetry, a picture book, and three middle grade novels. My newest novel, Dear Peter, Dear Ulla (Fall 2021), is about the friendship between + read more two cousins, one who lives in a Mennonite community in Saskatchewan, and one who lives in Danzig (now Poland) at the beginning of World War II. Although historical, the novel confronts issues such as bullying and racism that resonate today. My poetry book takes the reader through the seasons on the Canadian prairies. My picture book, A Boy Asked the Wind, follows the adventures of a boy and the wind all over the world, and speaks to world peace. Show Less

My Work Speaker Info Contact Me
You May Know Me For:
    Literature Types
  • Picture Books
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Editorial Services


Dear Peter, Dear Ulla (Thistledown Press, 2021)

The Mozart Girl (re-released by Second Story Press, 2019, formerly The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart)

Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach (Penguin Canada, 2005)


From the Top of a Grain Elevator (Dundurn Press, 1999)

PICTURE BOOK (Grades 3-4)

A Boy Asked the Wind (Red Deer Press, 2015)

Speaking InformationBarbara has presented workshops and readings to young people in classrooms and libraries across Canada, from Newfoundland to the Yukon. Her presentations are + read more highly energetic and interactive, whether students are trying on an 18th century wig or jumping rope to learn rhythm in her Poetry Toolbox workshop.

"Hands-On Historical Fiction" is an interactive presentation of Barbara's historical novels, and includes period music and costumes. Her interactive presentation for A Boy Asked the Wind uses sounds, slides, songs, and maps to take students on a journey around the world. "The Poet's Tool Box" is a poetry workshop where students learn to write and edit their own poems. This workshop can be adapted from a one-hour school visit to an artist residency focusing on a particular theme, such as eco-poetry for Earth Day. Barbara has taught in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia, as well as other university programs, and draws on this experience to adapt "The Poet’s Tool Box" for high school/college/university/adult. Visit Barbara's website for detailed descriptions of the presentations available, audience size, fees, and preferred grade-level. All of the presentations may be adapted to accommodate a wide range of age groups and venues. Show Less

    I will visit:
  • Vancouver
  • Coast
  • Lower Mainland
  • Gulf and Vancouver Islands
  • Thompson Okanagan
  • Northern British Columbia
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
  • Kootenay Rockies
  • The Territories
  • Canada - beyond BC
  • International
  • Virtually

    I Present to Age Groups:
  • Grades K-3
  • Grades 4-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • High School
  • College / University / Adult

Request Booking Info

Testimonials"My students loved having Ms. Nickel visit our class to teach us about poetry. She captivated the + read more students’ imaginations through our school “Poetry for the Earth” project and encouraged them to express themselves through the art of poetry. Ms. Nickel is an inspiring artist who made poetry fun, exciting and meaningful to my students. It was wonderful to see how my students were transformed into budding poets through her beautiful examples, clear instruction and encouraging feedback. Thank you Ms. Nickel, I hope to have you back in my classroom again soon!"

Ms. Katie Wilson, Grade 3 teacher, Yarrow Community School, Yarrow, B.C. Show Less
Barbara Nickel’s level of artistry, pedagogy and inspiration makes her an absolutely wonderful + read more instructor for students of all ages and levels. The students were so inspired and excited by her presentation that at the end of the workshops, they were lined up to purchase signed copies of her books.

Angela Goddard, Strings Specialist, West Point Grey Academy, Vancouver, B.C.
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I couldn’t recommend Barbara Nickel more highly as a teacher for adults. Her intense concentration + read more on whatever she is given to critique, her perceptiveness, diligence and thoroughness are extraordinary. Drawing on a wide, profound and intimate knowledge of poetry as well as her own remarkable gifts and skills, Barbara is an ideal reader: she strives to understand what one is trying to do, responding to one’s work straightforwardly but also with tact and sensitivity, covering the page with queries and comments that address every aspect of the art. A poet who draws on what is now a quite rare expertise in traditional form, Barbara is also no stranger to more experimental modes, having written brilliantly in both. With her accurate eye and flawless ear, she is a consistently meticulous, reliable and helpful guide, open to all kinds of genres and approaches. Whoever has a chance to work with an artist of her caliber — among other accomplishments, she is one of the best poets of her generation — would be very fortunate.

Elise Partridge, award-winning poet, author of Fielder’s Choice (Vehicule Press), Chameleon Hours (Anansi), The Exiles’ Gallery (Anansi), and The If Borderlands: Collected Poems (New York Review Books) Show Less

Awards and Recognition:PICTURE BOOK

A Boy Asked the Wind

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award + show more Finalist
Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee
B.C. Chocolate Lily Award Nominee


Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach

Governor General’s Literary Award Nominee
B.C. Book Prizes Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Winner
Canadian Library Association Honour Book of the Year
B.C. Chocolate Lily Award Nominee
Snow Willow Award Nominee
Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee
Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award Nominee
Ontario Library Association Best Bets

The Mozart Girl (Formerly The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart)

Christie Book Award Nominee
Red Cedar Award Nominee
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People Nominee
A Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” Selection


From the Top of a Grain Elevator

Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” selection
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