Jennifer holds a degree in elementary education with a minor in science from the University of Arizona and taught for many years before launching a career as a writer.
She is the author of the book I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature, foreword by Richard Louv, and its companion title, I Love Birds! 52 Ways to Wonder, Wander and Explore Birds with Kids, with stunning illustrations by Alexander Vidal. Her books for children include the popular series up-cycled from the traditional song, I Know an Old Lady, such as There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish, There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider, and There Was an Old Martian Who Swallowed the Moon, among others illustrated by Steve Gray, in addition to Mama Built a Little Nest, and its companion title, Mama Dug a Little Den, both illustrated by Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins, and the beautifully illustrated nature books What Will Hatch? and What Will Grow? with art created by Susie Ghahremani, and the award-winning Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong.
With over 900,000 books in print and translations in many languages, her work has been the recipient of numerous awards including state awards, New York Public Library's Best Informational Book of the Year, ALA Notable recognition, the International Literacy Association/Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice Award, the Giverny Award for Best Nonfiction Picture Book, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, among many other honors. Jennifer is also the recipient of the Judy Goddard/Libraries Limited Award for her body of work and contribution to Southwestern children's literature.
Her book There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea has also been integrated into the architecture at the Buckeye Public Library in Arizona.
Jennifer lives with her husband and two dogs nestled among a canopy of old growth oaks in Southern Illinois, where she writes full time. Her neighbors include deer, fox, lots of squirrels, and she wakes up each morning to bird song.
Jennifer is represented by (the amazing!) Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary.