3 Question Interview - JENNIFER FRANK
I'm delighted to feature my writing friend Jennifer Frank on the blog today! We first met through a Children's Book Academy class, and I am thrilled for the success of her wonderful debut picture book, THE WORM FAMILY HAS ITS PICTURE TAKEN (illustrated by David Ezra Stein, Anne Schwartz Books, May 2021). I loved learning about the inspiration she found through her children and family life, and how her sister's encouragement provided support as well! Jennifer shares her thoughts about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection. Welcome, Jennifer!
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog Melissa! I am honored to be included among all of the talented authors you have featured.
Like many parents, my story telling journey began when my daughters were born and I started reading to them every day. We took so many trips to our local bookstore to sit and read that my girls started calling it the library. When my two oldest daughters were 3 and 5 years old, they were diagnosed with Celiac Disease which meant they could not eat wheat or gluten. For my girls, this meant having to bring their own pizza and cupcakes to every birthday party and just generally feeling different from their friends. I started making up stories for them in order to help them when they were feeling sad about being different. My debut picture book, THE WORM FAMILY HAS ITS PICTURE TAKEN was born from those stories.
My sister convinced me to write the stories down, and they sat in a folder on my computer for many years while I worked and raised my girls. Through the years I joined SCBWI, took an online class at the Children’s Book Academy, and found a community of writers like myself. Much of my knowledge of children’s books has come from these fabulous classes, conferences, workshops, and critique groups. I re-wrote and edited my stories countless times over the years based on critiques and rejections. My hope is to have many more picture books to share with the world and I am working hard, writing and revising, to make that happen.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
I would say I try to showcase my creative side mostly through writing. Although lately, I also try to be creative in finding fun care packages to send to my two college-age daughters. And sometimes I even try to get creative in my kitchen, although that only turns out well some of the time!
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CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
One of the things I most looked forward to with the release of my very first picture book, was connecting with young readers. Since I am just starting out on my journey, I don’t have tons of experience yet but have created an educator’s guide to THE WORM FAMILY HAS ITS PICTURE TAKEN which you find on my website, jenniferfrankbooks.com,
and I plan to do school visits either via zoom or in person. Readers can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Regarding staying connected to the KidLit community, that is another joy for me. It is such a warm and supportive community of authors and illustrators, and I joined as many social media groups and author groups as possible, just putting myself out there trying to meet and connect with other authors. I also started a monthly featured author post on my Instagram site, @jenniferfrankbooks, which is a great way to get to know other authors and see what amazing books others are producing.
I am also a member of SCBWI and the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, and a Children’s Book Academy graduate. These have all been wonderful opportunities to meet fellow creators. In fact, it is how I met Melissa.
Jennifer Frank lives and works out of her home in a suburb of Boston, MA. She lives with her three daughters, Emma, Abby and Olivia, her husband Sam, and their schnoodle Lola. Her debut picture book, THE WORM FAMILY HAS ITS PICTURE TAKEN released by Anne Schwartz Books in May 2021. She wrote the book with the hope of inspiring her daughters to celebrate the beauty and differences in themselves and in others. When she’s not writing, Jennifer enjoys curling up on her couch reading, spending time with family, riding her bike, and taking long walks with her husband.
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