Workshops For Students

Jana loves school author visits and inspiring kids of any age to love reading and writing! In addition to being a writer, she is an accessible and warm educator and can easily incorporate your curriculum into her program. Jana will personally visit your school or visit your class via Skype.

Author visits may include:

  • Readings from Jana’s works
  • Author’s writing Process
  • Brainstorming
  • Creative writing games
  • Story development
  • Mechanics of writing
  • Publishing
  • Inspired by Melville
  • Customize your visit with the author

If you are interested in having Jana come for an author visit, book club visit (in person or virtually), or to add any of her books to your school or program, please email

Weeping Under This Same Moon CoverWorkshops on Refugee and Immigrant Awareness

Jana offers specialized workshops for high school, middle school, ESL  and college students  based on her fictionalized memoir, Weeping Under This Same Moon.  As a teenager and young adult, Jana worked in refugee resettlement. She understands first hand the experience refugees face. Her later work in the field of ESL allowed her the privilege of working with hundreds of immigrants, teaching English and assisting her students adapt to life in the United States. From these experiences, Jana has written the best selling, award-winning novel,  Weeping Under This Same Moon.   In addition to discussions on multicultural awareness, and how doing small things with great love can change the world, her workshops include discussion of writing styles – the first person vs. writing with third person omniscient narrator.

  • Writing exercises in both voice styles.
  • Discussions on teenage volunteering as a way to help the local community or the broader global community.
  • Finding the heart of the story
  • Expressing feelings that transform into personal stories
  • Immigrant and Refugee stories
  • Ways of making a difference in the world
  • Question & answer sessions

For high schools and middle schools where Weeping Under This Same Moon is part of the curriculum, Jana will discuss the book in greater detail and answer any related questions, as well as show a slide presentation related to the book…
To add Weeping Under the Same Moon to your curriculum, contact


The Twelfth Stone CoverWorkshops on Climate Change and Environmental Issues in Fantasy

The heart of this YA/Adult novel, The Twelfth Stone is the impact humans are making on our precious environment. Climate change is real and impacting our world. In an entertaining, yet informative style, this novel teaches readers about how human impact can affect not only people, but a variety of beings. Jana has woven faerie faith and folklore and taken the ancient Scottish legend of Tam Lin  and given it a modern twist with a purpose. Jana leads workshops based on this Celtic YA Fantasy, The Twelfth Stone. She worked with a 7th grade class adapt it into a play and she can do that for your school too! Workshops may include:

  • writing fantasy
  • environmental issues
  • Celtic folklore - the legends of Scotland and Ireland
  • Celtic music
  • writing books that all ages can enjoy
  • See Piping & Penning for more information


A Free Woman on God's Earth The True Story of Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her FreedomWorkshops on Slavery, The American Revolution, and Abolition

Jana leads workshops based on “A Free Woman On God’s Earth” The True Story of Elizabeth "Mumbet" Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom,  co-written with Ann-Elizabeth Barnes. 

Workshops include:

  • discussions of the American Revolution
  •  life in the 1700s
  •  slavery and freedom in Massachusetts 
  • the life of Elizabeth "Mumbet" Freeman

“A Free Woman On God’s Earth” meets the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks for third, fourth and fifth grade social studies. To add  “A Free Woman On God’s Earth” to your curriculum, please contact


Nancy Tunnicliffe Bagpiping

Piping and Penning Workshop

An Interactive Writing Workshop with piper Nancy Tunnicliffe & author Jana Laiz

Nancy Tunnicliffe is one of the very few professional bagpipers in the United States. She has appeared as a guest soloist with many of the country’s top orchestras, including the Boston Pops with John Williams, The National Symphony at the Kennedy Center and the American Symphony at Carnegie Hall. She has been featured with the Pops in recording and national PBS broadcasts. Nancy has performed for members of the British Royal Family. and has made more than 100 television appearances. With an BA from Yale and an MA in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan, Nancy is a sought-after educator and workshop leader. She is especially excited to be working with Jana to bring the sound of the bagpipe to school programs, as that is how she first heard the instrument as a third grader.

Jana Laiz has been writing for as long as she can remember. She is the author of the triple Award-Winning novel, Weeping Under This Same Moon, Moonbeam Silver Medal Winner, The Twelfth Stone, Elephants of the Tsunami, written to raise money for tsunami relief, the co-author of "A Free Woman On God's Earth, The True Story of Elizabeth "Mumbet" Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom" optioned to be a feature film,  Thomas & Autumn and Simon Say, Tails Told By The Red Lion Inn Ambassador. Fascinated by other cultures, Jana studied anthropology and Chinese language at University. She is passionate about our beautiful planet and endeavors to make a difference in the world through her writing and to work with others who feel the same. She is the very first Writer-In-Residence at Herman Melville's beloved Arrowhead. Jana is thrilled to be working with Nancy to bring music and writing together to the classroom.

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Inspired by Melville Workshops based on Jana's new book, Billy Budd in the Breadbox, The Story of Herman Melville and Eleanor

Inspiring Kids to Enjoy the Craft of Writing

The Berkshire Historical Society at Arrowhead is proud to sponsor a new educational program:

 with Writer-In-Residence, Jana Laiz, M. Ed.

INSPIRED BY MELVILLE brings the life and works of Herman Melville and the beauty of the written word into the classroom. Designed for grades 3 and up.

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