Morris, Jennifer E. 1969-
Morris, Jennifer E. 1969-
Born January 31, 1969, in Union City, PA; daughter of Thomas Harvey and Molly Marsh; married Michael Morris; children: Robin Elizabeth, Leo Michael. Education: University of Pittsburgh, B.S. (computer science), 1990; Stevens Institute of Technology, M.S. (computer science), 1995. Hobbies and other interests: Sewing, gardening, cooking.
Digital illustrator and designer. AT & T, software developer, 1991-95; CHS, senior software engineer, 1995-97; database consultant, 1997-98; graphic designer; freelance author and illustrator, 1998—.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Louie Awards, National Stationery Show, 2000, 2001, 2005; four Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) illustration contest honors, 2005-06; New England SCBWI Conference Portfolio Exhibition Merit Award, 2006; Maryland Library Association Blue Crab Young Readers Award Honor Book designation, 2006, for May I Please Have a Cookie?; SCBWI Don Freeman memorial grant, 2007.
(Self-illustrated) May I Please Have a Cookie?, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.
(Illustrator) Jean Marie Cochran, If a Monkey Jumps on Your School Bus, Pleasant St. Press, 2007.
Jennifer E. Morris told SATA: "Growing up in the small town of Bradford, Pennsylvania, I loved to draw. As an only child, I spent many hours entertaining myself drawing and looking through picture books. I was not a prolific reader as a child, but I would spend hours pouring over the illustrations. And from the time I was about six years old I wanted to become an artist myself.
"In college computer science seemed like the more practical major, but I took every art class I could, including a summer studying at the Chautauqua Institute. Even
after college when I went to work as a computer software developer, I always made time for art and I never lost my love of picture books. When my daughter was born, I took the opportunity to leave my computer career and pursue my artistic passions more seriously.
"At first, I created my artwork using traditional media (watercolors, acrylics, and colored pencil). But my background in computers and technology made the jump to digital media a logical progression. I find the computer gives me a freedom to experiment with color and composition that I never experienced with paint and paper. Although my work always starts with pencil drawings, I now use the computer to create my final paintings.
"My children, Robin and Leo, are the biggest inspiration for my work. The main character in my picture book May I Please Have a Cookie?, the cookie-loving alligator named Alfie, shares my children's love of sweets and their flair for the dramatic. I also see a lot of myself in Alfie's exasperated mother.
"To me, creating characters and stories that children can relate to and enjoy is nothing short of magical. And when a child says they enjoy my stories or even that they wish they could meet one of my characters, I feel that I've really accomplished something important."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of May I Please Have a Cookie?, p. 118.
Jennifer E. Morris Home Page,http://www.jemorris.com (June 15, 2007).