School Visits


A visit from J&P Voelkel is like no author visit you’ve ever experienced! Their high-energy multimedia presentation brings alive the Maya-themed world of the Jaguar Stones series - winning over even the most reluctant readers. When the Voelkels began writing their books, a chance meeting with some Maya teenagers inspired them to discover the truth about this much misrepresented culture. Their presentation focuses on that quest and takes students from the Central American rainforest to a crazy rock’n’roll concert. Along the way, it covers rainforest survival, Maya history and mythology and, above all, the importance of research. The Voelkels also offer flexible full-day programs with additional sessions on writing and illustrating, plus a variety of Maya topics including Maya math, glyphs, calendrics /astronomy and modern Maya culture. 

There are two ways to bring J&P to your school or library:

1. Book an author visit:

J&P travel all over the USA from their home in Vermont. Encouraging young readers (typically grades 4-8) is their favorite thing in the world, so their fees are flexible and dependent on circumstances. It also works well when several schools band together to share costs - if you can organize it, we can do it!

You can plan anything from one assembly to a full day. Your full day could comprise up to four big assemblies or one main assembly and several smaller workshops. Our main presentation lasts from 40-60 minutes, to fit your schedule, and suits an audience of 50-1,000 students. (If you’re working out a joint schedule with other schools, please build in travel time between schools, plus 30 mins to set-up and 20 mins to pack away.)

Presentation Rack Rate: 

$600 plus travel expenses for one presentation; $1,000 plus travel expenses for two presentations; $1,500 per day plus travel expenses for up to four presentations, or a combination of presentations and classroom workshops. Discounts available for Title I schools, schools buying a lot of books, and schools within driving distance of central Vermont.

2. Register on our free visit waitlist:

If your school or library can’t afford to pay travel costs and/or speaking fees, you can register on our waitlist for a free or subsidized school visit. This means that if we’re due to be presenting in your area or on a publisher sponsored book tour, we’ll try to add you to our schedule free of charge or for a minimum fee. In this case, you do need to be flexible and spontaneous!

  Assembly Presentation:



Books, bugs, and Maya mysteries

- with a blast of rock ‘n’ roll!

Enter the mysterious world of The Jaguar Stones, where ancient temples come alive and danger lurks around every corner. It’s a place filled with history, mythology and the wonders of nature, where every day is a battle for survival.

With J&P Voelkel as your guides, you’ll experience some of the sights, sounds and tastes of the Central American rainforest. You’ll also meet the guardians of this forest - the Maya, past and present - and find out why so much about them remains unknown.

Rather than read to you from their books, the Voelkels bring you into the world that inspires them - and share some of their experiences researching, writing and illustrating the Jaguar Stones series.  

Their high-energy, multimedia presentation keeps grades 4-8 on the edge of their seats - and makes even reluctant readers eager to dive into the story.

J&P are happy to work anywhere from a cavernous auditorium to a cozy library. But please note that, due to its theatrical nature, this presentation works best with a large audience - the more, the merrier!


          For grades 4-8.

          No prior knowledge of the Jaguar Stones books - or the Maya - needed.

          The presentation can last from 40-60 minutes, depending on your school’s requirements.  

  (60 mins includes time for Q&A, and book signing.)

          Please add on 30 mins for setting up and 20 mins for packing away.


J&P have presented at schools and libraries in thirty states. They’ve spoken at The Oxford Conference for the Book, Litquake in San Francisco, the Texas Library Association conference, the Boston Museum of Science, and Kidslive! at the New York Public Library. They are regular presenters at AIA Archaeology Fairs, and have appeared on the Today Show, as guests of Al Roker’s book club (link).

What schools have said:  

Without a doubt, the best presentation I have seen in twenty years of teaching.”

Pat Donovan, Academic Enrichment

Gloversville Middle School, NY

"I can't tell you how much we all enjoyed your visit to Lafayette  last week. It was one of the best presentations we have ever had."

Debbie Boutwell, Librarian,

Lafayette Middle School, MS

“The Voelkels have created an event that contains the perfect combination of education and entertainment. They present an amazing amount of  cultural history,  scientific information,  and environmental exploration all while their audience laughs, gasps, squeals and bursts into spontaneous applause.  The Voelkel’s visit is not just a presentation it is an inspiring event that students and teachers will remember for a long long time.” 

Heather Hebert, Children’s Book World,

Haverford, PA   

“I loved it, and our students loved it. My homeroom students went home and talked about many aspects of the presentation to their parents and siblings (electric guitar, mealworms, foot-long centipedes, Mayan calendar, to name but a few).”

- Nancy Scott, 8th Grade Language Arts teacher, AG Wright Middle School, VA

“Jon and Pamela just finished a full day at our school for their book Middleworld. WOW!!! THEY ARE WONDERFUL!!! The students were sucked into their presentation and didn’t want it to end.”

Jacqueline R. Welch-Doubek, Librarian

Mannion Middle School, NV

“Jon and Pamela Voelkel gave about the best presentation for kids that I have ever seen. The response from both kids and teachers (particularly librarians) was phenomenal. The Voelkels turned a group of kids who were happy to be out of class, but otherwise just slunk low in their seats, into active and enthusiastic participants.”

Jennifer Stark, Customer  Relations Manager

Barnes & Noble/Lincoln Center, NY

“Congratulations on a beautiful presentation that kept the students interested and engaged all the time!!! That was a wonderful experience for my kids.”

Gloria Estrella, Teacher

Wakefield Middle School, Tucson, AZ

“A unique, attention-grabbing multimedia show. The humor, history, and special effects were very well-received by our students, and though they gave 3 presentations in a row, the energy level remained high! The authors continually interacted with the audience, keeping them actively involved and continually learning about the Ancient Maya. The program was age-appropriate, enjoyable, and highly recommended.

Nancy Hemel-Brisco, Librarian

The Vail School, Tucson, AZ

“The Voelkels’ brilliantly choreographed and performed presentation combines wild fun and compelling educational material. They were a giant hit everywhere we went.”

- Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers, ME

For smaller groups, J&P also offer workshops on the ancient Maya, from glyph writing to Maya math. These are ideally suited for students studying Mesoamerica. They are also happy to speak more generally about the specifics of writing and illustrating their books, and their lives as authors.











A Hands-On Guide

to Maya Math

To enquire about booking an author visit, click here.

To register on the free visit wait list, click here.