Barbara Nickel

Artist Residency

Schools may want to consider applying to the ArtStarts in Schools program to help fund Barbara for a month-long artist residency. Barbara, who is featured in the ArtStarts Artists in the Classroom Directory, collaborated with Yarrow Community School on a project, Poetry for the Earth, which was funded by ArtStarts and successfully took place at Yarrow Community School in April of 2014.


Introducing…Poetry for the Earth

Students and teachers take time out from class to view the Poetry for the
Earth gallery of poems and artwork on April 25, 2014.

One Grade 3 class picked up litter from the community. They documented and described the trash they collected, and then wrote poem-letters to Planet Earth about what they had done.

A school-wide assembly/student poetry reading/video presentation wrapped up the Poetry for the Earth celebration.


(Excerpt from Yarrow Community School Newsletter, April 2014)

“April is National Poetry Month and also includes Earth Day on April 22. These will be brought together at our school during the month of April with the help of author Barbara Nickel, who will be visiting the school with the support of a grant from ArtStarts. All of the classes have chosen an eco-project to focus on and Barbara will be visiting classes and helping students to write poems about the projects they’ve chosen, which range from picking up litter in Yarrow Community Park to learning about local organic farming. The project will coincide with other school-wide initiatives such as turning off lights, walking/biking/carpooling/busing to school, composting, litterless lunches and students reading their favourite poems at the morning announcement time. A school-wide assembly and gallery featuring the finished poems will wrap up our celebration of Poetry for the Earth on April 25.”

During Ms. Nickel’s time as an Artist-in-Residence at Yarrow Community School, she played a pivotal role in the creation, planning, and implementation of our school-wide Poetry for the Earth Project. Ms. Nickel provided instruction on environmentally-themed poetry for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 6. By inviting students to notice special things in the world around them and providing them with age-specific writing skill sets, Barbara inspired our young authors to keep journals and create writing that was soulful and passionate. Her ability to meet kids where they are and her calm, yet enthusiastic approach provided the safe, warm environment that allowed the students’ poems to blossom. It was an absolute honour and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with this very dynamic, talented author.

~ Tracy Wagner, Acting Principal, Yarrow Community School


Clips from the Poetry for the Earth video created by the Grade Five and Six class (2013/2014) of Mr. Gregory and Ms. Pinning at Yarrow Community School.


Dear Peter, Dear Ulla has been selected as a finalist for the 2023/2024 Chocolate Lily Book Award. 

Barbara’s poem “Three-in-One,” originally published in Grain Magazine, has recently appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2024  (Biblioasis) edited by Bardia Sinaee.

Check out Barbara’s 45-minute teaching video on Creating Believable Characters for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes’ In Class video library.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla was a finalist for the 2022 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla has been nominated for the 2023 Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Young Readers Choice Award).

The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards (MYRCA) has nominated Dear Peter, Dear Ulla as a 2023 Northern Lights (Grades 7-9) finalist!

Essential Tremor reviewed in The Vancouver Sun. Read full review here.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is reviewed and “Highly Recommended” in CM (Canadian Review of Materials)! Read the full review here.

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Author Visits

Interested in booking Barbara to visit your school or library? Choose from a wide range of presentations, from poetry workshops to readings of historical fiction.

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