Artists in Schools Directory


James Flanagan

Artist's Narrative

James Flanagan Jim retired from education after 30+ wonderful years. Jim's last position was in a Language Arts Model School. He uses his experience in schools to create programs that teach children about character, life and good writing.

"I just let the stories do the talking. I tell the students, you may not remember my name but you will remember how the stories made you feel! If you affect students' feelings, you affect them."

Jim always adds a skit about reading. I could not read effectively until after the 6th grade. I share some of that experience and my story about how I handled my learning dis-ability and thoughts on learning to read.

The students will listen, laugh and learn. They learn without realizing they are learning.  A comment from a 6th grade girl sums up Jim's presentations: We went to the gym. We thought we would get a lecture. He told stories. They really got to us.

Jim is an award-winning storyteller, who has been featured in storytelling programs across the country. Jim is a co-chairman of The Storytellers of Central Ohio and The National Storytelling Network's liaison for Ohio. He is on the coordinating Committee for 'Word is Art' for The Columbus Arts Festival 2015. Jim currently teaches writing at the Thurber Writing Academy. He has published five children's books with 3 winning national awards. He is also the Storyteller for Nationwide Children's Hospital. He has told Throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Washington DC, Virginia, Washington State and Ireland.


Upon request.
Fees listed are for Columbus-area schools. This artist is based in Circleville.

Programs Available

The Difference Between Teenage Girls and Boys (Grade levels 8-12)
A series of stories that convey very subtlety but surely that girls and boys are humans, and should be handled with care.
Activity Options:
The Difference Between Teenage Girls and Boys
  • Duration: 35 min. plus discussion time
  • Fees: $150/ $220 for two back-to-back/ $310 for three

Course Corrections (Grade levels K-12)

A mixture of stories about kids age 6 - 18 making little corrections that end up being large changes.

Activity Options:
Course Corrections
  • Duration: 35 min. plus discussion time
  • Fees: $150/ $220 for two back-to-back/ $310 for three

Storytelling (Grade levels K-12)

This presentation is a combination of funny tales, positive tales and scary stories, all appropriate for the age of the audience.  The perfect program for Right to Read weeks!

These stories are based on actual events. Many are from Jim’s experiences as a teacher, coach, and principal. The stories feature children of all ages dealing with life. Some of the stories are filled with humor, some are sad, but all have a positive message and are thought provoking. Kids relate to the stories whether they live up a holler or in the apartment downstairs.  Your students will laugh, listen and learn.

Comment from a school principal: “Jim grabbed the students' and staff's attention immediately and held it for the whole time." (On the last day of school!)

Activity Options:
Storytelling K-12
  • Duration: 35-55 min. depending on age
  • Fees: $150/ $220 for two back-to-back/ $310 for three

Kids are Cruel and Bullies are a Part of Life -- Not! (Grade levels 4-8)

Using his long experience in public schools, Jim Flanagan presents a program that addresses the ugly issues of teasing and bullying. It consists of information, common sense and ideas on how students can handle teasing and bullies. He weaves throughout the talk stories that illustrate his points. He provides time to discuss and provides ideas of how the talk can be followed up by the people who do the real work in the schools: the teachers and principals. He gets the students to laugh and then listen. The students remember the stories and how they made them feel. Feelings do give way to actions. Positive actions help kids deal with bullies and teasing.

Stories include:

How do you know if you are dumb?
Coming to a new school
Stories of students dealing with fear
A scared dog shows courage
A visitor to a classroom learns a lesson in respecting the property of others
Silly ghost stories (with student participation)
A brother and sister learn to work together
A campout and a visit to a cemetery
The definition of courage
A bully reforms and teaches others a lesson

A girl loses a race but wins
A cheerleader has a defining moment
A special education student makes a lasting impression on a football team
A tough girl shows kindness
A funny way to stop a bully
A student deals with his mom’s cancer
A student finds his conscience
A boy’s plan defeats a bully
A volleyball player finds her way

Jim says: "As a principal, I removed bullies from the building, but it has to be a systemic change to really control the problems. I will say some things you have said to your students, but sometimes a new face saying those things -- along with the stories -- will add more impact."

Activity Options:
  • Duration: 35 min. plus discussion time
  • Fees: $150/ $220 for two back-to-back/ $310 for three

Writing Workshops (Grade levels 4 - 12)

Jim has written three books (one in collaboration with another author), two of which have won national recognition. He teaches for the Thurber House Writing Academy and the Writers’ Café.  Jim uses storytelling, his experience as a recovering poor reader, and witty teaching to demonstrate suspense, creative writing, and writing revision to students.

Comment from Thurber House: “Jim offers one of our most highly rated workshops.”

Activity Options:
Writing Workshops
  • Duration: 60-90 min.
  • Fees: $75/ class

Staff Workshops (Adult)

Staff workshops will help teachers learn how to use storytelling techniques to improve students' oral communication and writing skills.

Activity Options:
Staff workshops
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Fees: $250
  • Requirements: blackboard