School Visits

As a former middle school and high school teacher, I love getting back into the classroom/library/media center to talk to students about the writing life, Rites of Passage, and reaching for your dreams, even if you do make some bad choices and mistakes along the way!

Interested in having me come speak to your students or book club? Take a look at the flyer and e-mail me at to schedule a visit! Think the price is out of your budget? E-mail me anyway--there are ways to make school visits affordable for you. You can split me with other schools in the area or order a certain number of books to help offset the cost.

What Students are Saying

I read a lot of books, although it takes me a while to figure out if I want to read it or not. But when Joy Hensley came to our class and spoke about her book she got me hooked. I read the first pages and I knew I had to go buy it. The way she used intelligence and humor in her visit was awesome. I like how she didn't sugar coat anything, she admitted it was difficult at times. Which I think is the best thing an author can do.
--Madi B, 9th grade

Getting to be able to have an author speak in the midst of you doing a writing assignment is a great opportunity. I was able to apply what Joy Hensley spoke about the "hook" of the novel and put it into not only the narrative assignment that I was fulfilling at the time, but also into the many other essays and short stories that have been assigned to me since then. I feel that now, thanks to Joy Hensley, I am more capable of forging a plot that can push the reader to continue reading. I liked that when she read an excerpt from her novel, Rites of Passage, I was immediately compelled to read it. Furthermore, I believe that I will be more aware of the elements of a satisfactory novel through what Joy Hensley spoke of. After having her speak to us of the process of writing a novel, I was inspired. After this experience, I grew aspirations of writing my own novel.
--Shiv P., 9th Grade

What Teachers are Saying

"Rites of Passage was an excellent book that my middle school students can’t stop talking about.  Joy is such a gifted author that instantly connected with my middle school students. Her passion for writing was equaled by her down-to-earth nature as she inspired students to write.  Joy prepared and shared a packet that introduced my students to a month long writing contest.  Her packet was well organized and included letters and videos for students to motivate them throughout the month."
--Christina Stewart, Librarian, Pocahontas Middle School, Henrico, VA

"Joy Hensley is a natural story-teller! My eighth grade students were riveted as she replayed her past adventures, missteps and all, and her journey to becoming a writer. She captivated the room!"
--Christen Tulli, Teacher, Pocahontas Middle School, Henrico, VA

"Joy Hensley gave a wonderful presentation, read captivating scenes from her new book Rites of Passage, and discussed the details of her writing, editing, and publication process in a way that students rarely have the opportunity to witness. Our students enjoyed it and learned a great deal."
--Matt Koval, English teacher, Grimsley High School, Greensboro, NC

"Our students loved Joy Hensley! Her dynamic and engaging presentation was filled with grabbing videos of what military school is really like and funny, personal stories with which our students easily identified. After reading an excerpt of her book, Rites of Passage, our students asked her to continue reading; they couldn't get enough! She answered the numerous questions that our students came up with and even lined up for a "right face" with some of our ROTC students! There is great value in illuminating the writing process--not only the triumphs, but also the challenges--for our students and giving them an opportunity to interact with such an authentic writer. I highly recommend having her come talk with your students!"
--Jessica Sherard, Media Specialist, Grimsley High School, Greensboro, NC

"Joy Hensley knows how to work a teenage crowd!  The 9-12 grade creative writing students were engaged, excited, and encouraged to pursue the craft of writing.  Male and female alike, gained valuable knowledge about planning, revising, and acquiring an agent.  Her presentation was enthralling and her personality approachable.  It is clear Ms. Hensley knows how to relate well with teenagers and they certainly appreciate her for it.  I can’t keep a copy of her book, Rites of Passage, on the classroom shelf because it keeps getting passed from one to the other.  She has certainly gained a fan following at our school, and we can’t wait to meet her again!"
--Charlotte Wood, Creative Writing Teacher, Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, VA