Jennifer Ward is the author of numerous acclaimed books for children, including the award-winning There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, and, There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog, recipient of the IRA/CBC Children's Choice Award, and a #1 ebook best-seller.
Additional picture books by Jennifer include Way Out in the Desert, Somewhere in the Ocean, Over in the Garden, Way Up in the Arctic,
The Seed and the Giant Saguaro, The Little Creek, Forest Bright/Forest Night, Because You Are My Baby, There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea, There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish, and, The Busy Tree.
Her parenting books include, I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature (foreword by Richard Louv), Let's Go Outside: Outdoor Activities and Projects to Get You and Your Kids Closer to Nature, and, It’s a Jungle Out There: 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids.
Forthcoming titles by Jennifer Ward include What Will Hatch? illustrated by Susie Ghahremani (Bloomsbury/Walker Books), Mama Built a Little Nest, illustrated by Caldecott medalist Steve Jenkins (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books), and The Sunhat, illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson,
a Southwestern translation of the folktale The Mitten (Rio Chico).
Jennifer holds a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. Her books are often inspired by nature and are crafted with rhythmic language that begs to be read aloud again and again. Jennifer is represented by Full Circle Literary Agency and writes full time from her home in Illinois.
Thank you so much for taking an interest in my work.
As an author, I play with ideas, images, and words.
Creativity is a huge part of making a children's book, and although being creative is fun, it also takes practice and hard work. Sometimes my ideas for stories work. Sometimes they don't. Regardless,
I embrace each and every project and its process.
I've been playing with words for a long time. When I was a child growing up in Southern IL, I used to "pretend" that I was an author and illustrator. I created many books that I had fun writing and illustrating. I knew nothing about how "real" books were published; I just knew that I loved to
create with art and words.
I am so grateful to my parents for saving many of the books I made as a child. (Yeah, they served as handy coasters for their morning coffee, too, but hey - they still saved them, coffee rings and all.) This allows me to share my earlier writing with kids when I visit schools, and it proves that even an award-winning author struggled with writing once upon a time - my writing was far from perfect back in the day. This can be really empowering for kids, because writing can be a challenging skill to master.
After high school in Southern IL, I adventured west for awhile and graduated from the University
of Arizona in Tucson. I became an elementary teacher - the perfect job for me: I could work with children (love!), be creative (love!) while being surrounded by the books I love: children's books.
I lived and taught in Tucson for many years, and I worked to make my backyard in Tucson a nationally certified wildlife habitat. I carefully tiptoed through tarantulas and (kindly) wrestled rattlesnakes on a regular basis. My backyard was also featured on Animal Planet's program, "Backyard Habitat", which was a fun experience. The Sonoran desert rocks, and it will always inspire my writing.
It was from this environment that I found inspiration to write my first children's book, WAY OUT IN THE DESERT, illustrated by Ken Spengler (1998). And it was from this darling counting book that my writing career was launched. Eventually, I resigned from teaching to write full-time.
Today finds me back in Southern Illinois, where I live with my daughter, boyfriend, two cattle dogs, and a cat.
So, what do I do when I'm not writing?
- think about writing
- study and read picture books
- observe nature
- create art with my sisters
- daydream about being on a beach
- travel to beaches
- play with my crazy dogs
- listen to music
- chill with family & friends
Thanks again for taking an interest in my work. It is because of readers like you that I have the privilege to write for a living - thank you for this, too.
Feel free to email me if there's something you're curious about. And be sure to check out my blog to see my latest projects.