Whitehead, Jenny 1964–

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Whitehead, Jenny 1964–

Personal

Born 1964; married Pete Whitehead (an artist); children: Bailey, Chelsea. Education: Miami University (Oxford, OH), B.A. (art), 1987.

Addresses

Home and office—Kansas City, MO. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator of children's books. Imperial Wallcoverings, Cleveland, OH, wallpaper designer, 1986-87; Hallmark Cards, art director, 1987-94; freelance illustrator and author. Presenter at schools and libraries. Chair, Art Smart (parent volunteer program in schools), 2002-08. Member of Reading Reptile Book Store Young Writers Contest judges panel, 2004-08.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Lunch Box Mail, and Other Poems, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2001.

Holiday Stew: A Kid's Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

Punctuation Celebration, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2009.

Sidelights

"Writing from a child's point of view is my favorite approach to writing," Jenny Whitehead told SATA. "I've always loved the challenge of writing poetry, especially

in rhyme. I had a fantastic seventh-grade teacher who taught us how to think creatively. We created a news show (all the stories and visuals), wrote and performed plays, learned every kind of poetry. She was the most demanding teacher I ever had, but I still remember every writing rule that she taught us. I also use the same thesaurus and rhyming dictionary I had in 7th grade. I consider it a ‘good-luck’ charm.

"My advice to kids wanting to be writers and illustrators is to become very comfortable with making mistakes. I redo my poems and drawings over and over again before I go to finish. I learn how to do it better as I do it. If you're afraid to start because it ‘might not be perfect’ you are doomed!

"Writing and illustrating are a process, not a product. LOOK when you draw. Drawing from your memory is nearly impossible, unless you are completely making something up. You will draw a hundred times better with good references. And LISTEN. Story ideas are in people's conversations all around you.

"Work on several stories at one time so you can give each piece a fresh look when you get stuck. Don't use the first idea that comes to you. Think of a unique solution to a problem your character has to solve; surprise and humor and real emotion are keys to a good story or poem, especially if you want the child to read your story again and again. And that is the best reward ever!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Lunch Box Mail, and Other Poems, p. 1476; May 15, 2007, Julie Cummins, review of Holiday Stew: A Kid's Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems, p. 47.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of Holiday Stew.

School Library Journal, October, 2001, Lauralyn Persson, review of Lunch Box Mail, and Other Poems, p. 147; May, 2007, Kathleen Whalin, review of Holiday Stew, p. 126.

ONLINE

Jenny Whitehead Home Page,http://www.jennywhitehead.com (July 1, 2008).

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Whitehead, Jenny 1964–

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