Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Hey, everyone,

I am thrilled and humbled to share this news: 

                            Nancy Paulsen will be publishing my debut picture book, ROCKY! 

Thanks to my awesome agent, Kathleen Rushall, for sending my little pebble out into the world. And thanks to Nancy for believing in him once he arrived. I can't wait to start working with her!

Here's the Publisher's Marketplace announcement.

April 21, 2014 - ROCKY by Jody Jensen Shaffer
Children's Picture Book
     Jody Jensen Shaffer's ROCKY, about a little pebble trying to find his place in the world alongside some famous relatives complete with informational backmatter, to Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen Books, by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lewis and Clark Elementary Rocks!

A big shout out to the fifth graders at Lewis and Clark Elementary!

I had a great time today talking with them about writing nonfiction. They listened well, asked good questions, and made me feel right at home.

They even introduced me to a resource I didn't know existed, myON.com, an interactive digital library. We listened to some of my VAMPIRES AND LIGHT book. Cool voices! These smart students and their equally-wise teachers use it all the time.

Thanks to super teachers, Ms. Raney, Ms. Williams, and Mr. Lewis, and to Assistant Principal, Katie Lawson.

Go get 'em, fifth graders! I can't wait to see where YOUR interests take you!

[Photo credit: Ms. Raney]

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Middle Grade March

Deb Marshall
Hi all!

I was recently interviewed by my critique buddy and school librarian, Deb Marshall. Thought you might like to have a peek.

Thanks, Deb! I can't wait to send one of your students one of my books!



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I went a little ape! CHIMPANZEE, in fact!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I went a little ape in 2013, and my newest book, CHIMPANZEES: THE SMARTEST ANIMALS, is the result.

Here's what my publisher, ABDO, has to say about this book:

Go inside the mind of one of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Learn more about chimpanzees, how they use their cleverness to survive, and how they are astonishing scientists with their surprising smarts. Complete with well-researched, clearly written informational text, primary sources with accompanying questions, charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, and maps, multiple prompts, and more. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Core Library is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

I hope you have a chance to read about these amazing, oh-so-human-like creatures. They are fascinating and endearing and definitely worth taking care of.

All the best to you and yours in 2014!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Taylor Swift on Birthdayographies

Hey everyone,

Here's a cool idea: a blog which celebrates picture book biographies! It's hosted by Donna Bowman Bratton. You can read all about it here: http://www.birthdayographies.blogspot.com/.

Thanks, Donna, for featuring my biography of Taylor Swift! And Happy Birthday, Taylor!


Saturday, November 2, 2013


Hey, Everyone,

I'm delighted to announce that my newest celebrity biographies were officially released yesterday. Please join me in welcoming DEMI LOVATO: TAKING ANOTHER CHANCE and VICTORIA JUSTICE: TELEVISION'S IT GIRL (Lerner Press, 2013).

Welcome, ladies!

And guess what? School Library Journal has already reviewed the series, which also includes books about Bella Thorne, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cody Simpson, and the band The Wanted! You can read their review below.

"Gr 5-8--Along with high-appeal content, these celebrity biographies also offer high visual appeal with an engaging, colorful format and numerous photos. However, there is perhaps too much happening. Sidebars (which details the stars' favorite foods, movies, etc.) can distract from the texts, which are often choppy and too casual. Quotes from the actors/performers are scattered throughout, and full-color photos adorn almost every page (in addition to a final spread in each book devoted just to "pics"). The titles read more like teen magazines than biographies, but that might not be a problem if libraries have high demand for information about these particular stars."

I sure had fun writing about these ladies. I hope you have fun reading about them!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Children's Author Blog Hop

Hey, everyone!

I'm excited to participate in the Children’s Author Blog Hop. What's a blog hop? Authors answer four identical questions and then invite three more kidlit authors to join in. I was delighted to be asked by my friend and fellow children’s author LAURA SASSI. Here's a bit about her:

Laura is a children's writer and former teacher. Her poems, stories, articles and crafts have appeared in many publications including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., FamilyFun, and Pack-O-Fun. She has a passion for playing with words and rhyming and is delighted to announce that her first picture book, GOODNIGHT, ARK, will be published by Zonderkidz, a Harper Collins Company and is scheduled to debut in August 2014. She is represented by Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Laura writes from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her awesome husband, two adorable kids, and a black cockapoo named Sophie. She can be found on the web at:  www.laurasassitales.wordpress.com.

Thanks for asking me to participate, Laura! Here are my answers to the four blog hop questions.

I'm always thinking of a new story, writing a new story, or thinking of and revising an old one. Lots of times I'm doing all of those things at once. It's good to have several projects percolating! Right now I'm brainstorming an ending to a picture book I thought already had an ending. Turns out, I was wrong! Endings are tough and soooo important! I'll stick with it until it's just right.

The concept of this particular picture book is what sets it apart. And the main character is atypical, some might say quirky.

I love writing poetry, and writing picture books is a lot like writing poetry, whether the texts rhyme or not. Picture books are partly about choosing the very best word to propel the story and partly about letting the illustrations do their thing. I love that combination. I write for kids because I still remember what it feels like to be a kid. I had a great childhood. I love the innocence of childhood, all the possibilities and awe that come with being new to the world.

Getting the endings right! Also, finding just the right editor/publisher for my work can be challenging. Thank goodness I've got an agent to help me with that! [Shout out to Kathleen Rushall! Woot!]

Without further ado, please join me in celebrating the following three fabulous children’s authors.

NANCY VIAU is the author of two nature-inspired picture books:  Look What I Can Do!, which School Library Journal calls “wonderfully expressive” and “a gently affirming tale perfect for parent-and-child sharing,” and Storm Song, a fun read-aloud filled with rhythmic text thatcaptures the excitement of thunder, lightning, and rain. Viau is also the author of the middle-grade novel Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head. She lives with her family in New Jersey, but loves to travel anywhere her frequent flyer miles take her. You can follow Nancy at http://www.nancyviau.com/.
PAUL CZAJAK got an ‘F’ with the words “get a tutor” on his college writing paper, and after that he never thought he’d become a writer. But after spending twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained. He his first picture book, Monster Needs A Costume, illustrated by Wendy Grieb was recently released through Scarletta Kids.  This is the first picture book in the Monster & Me series (all of which will be illustrated by Wendy), with the second, Monster Needs His Sleep due April 2014 and then Monster Needs A Christmas Tree set for September 2014.  He has also recently signed a contract for Seaver the Weaver which will be illustrated by Ben Hilts of The Hilts Brothers and is planned for April 2015. Living in Massachusetts with his wife and two little monsters, Paul has rediscovered his passion for writing and looks forward to sharing his stories for years to come. Catch up with Paul at http://paulczajak.com/.

AMY DIXON grew up as one of seven siblings, so the only peace and quiet she ever got was inside a book. Once she had her own kids, she rediscovered her love for picture books at the public library. It was the one place she knew all four of her kids would be happy . . . and quiet. She writes from her home in Clovis, where she lives with her four little inspirations and her marathon-running husband, Rob. MARATHON MOUSE is her first picture book. Her second picture book, SOPHIE'S ANIMAL PARADE, will be out from Sky Pony Press in Fall 2014. Find Amy online at http://www.amydixonbooks.com/.