Jen Bryant

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Jen Bryant
BornJennifer Fisher
(1960-05-13) May 13, 1960 (age 58)
Easton, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupationchildren's and young adult author and poet
NationalityAmerican
Genrenonfiction, picture books, biographies, novels, poetry
Website
www.jenbryant.com

Jen Bryant (born 1960) is an American poet, novelist and children’s author. She has won several awards for her work, most notably the Robert F. Sibert International Book Medal for The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award and the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, and the Schneider Family Book Award for Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille. Her books The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus and A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams have both been distinguished with Caldecott Honors for Melissa Sweet's artwork.

Background and Education[edit]

Jen Bryant (née Jennifer Fisher) was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Flemington, New Jersey. Jen grew up next to a funeral home, where her father and grandfather were undertakers. She was fascinated by the manual typewriter her father used and would “try and copy whatever material happened to be lying around: drafts of obituaries. And what are obituaries, really, but one’s life summed up in a paragraph or two? Good ones leave an impression of the person as an individual. I suppose as I practiced typing them, I must have absorbed some of the craft behind the writing of these little ‘biographies'.”[1]

She attended Hunterdon Central High School and Gettysburg College, where she received her BA in French (1982) and minored in German and secondary education. She then taught French and German at Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Virginia, where she coached their cross-country teams.[2]

Writing career[edit]

After moving with her family to Chester County, Pennsylvania, Jen Bryant began to write poetry, to study independently with poet Tina Barr, and to host poetry readings in local independent bookstores. Encouraged and mentored by Eileen Spinelli and Jerry Spinelli, authors, she began to write picture books and novels in verse and to submit them to publishers. She continued to teach and to write while obtaining an MA in English (1999) from Arcadia University, mentored by poet David Keplinger.

Beginning in 1999, Bryant taught writing and children’s literature at West Chester University and delivered lectures and workshops for schools and colleges. She continued to write poetry for adults as well as novels and picture books for children, eventually focusing on the latter as her publications list grew. Jen’s writing for children has been recognized with several awards and honors, including the Robert F. Sibert International Book Medal, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award and the Schneider Family Book Award. In May 2013, along with Julia Chang Bloch and David Gergen, Bryant received an honorary doctorate degree from Gettysburg College.[3] She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Gettysburg College.[4]

Jen Bryant lives with her family in Chester County, Pennsylvania.[5]

Published Works[edit]

Non-Fiction Picture Book Biographies[edit]

  • Working Moms: A Portrait of their Lives; six of seven books in the career series (1990–91)
Anne Abrams: Engineering Drafter
Zoe Mc Cully: Park Ranger
Sharon Oehler, Pediatrician
Carol Thomas-Weaver, Music Teacher
Jane Sayler, Veterinarian
Ubel Velez, Lawyer
  • Georgia’s Bones, illus. by Bethanne Andersen (about Georgia O’Keeffe, 2005)
  • Music for the End of Time (about Olivier Messiaen, 2005)
  • Call Me Marianne, illus. by David A. Johnson (about Marianne Moore, 2006)
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illus. by Melissa Sweet (2008)
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, illus by Melissa Sweet (2013)
  • The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illus. by Melissa Sweet (2014)
  • Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, illus. by Boris Kulikov (2016)

Middle-grade and Young Adult Biographies[edit]

  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Voice of the Everglades, illus. by Larry Raymond (1992)
  • Margaret Murie: A Wilderness Life, illus. by Antonio Castro (1993)
  • Louis Braille, Inventor (1994)
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Artist (1995)
  • Lucretia Mott: A Guiding Light (1996)
  • Thomas Merton: Poet, Prophet, Priest (1997)

Novels in Verse[edit]

  • The Trial (2004)
  • Pieces of Georgia (2006)
  • Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial (2008)
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes (2009)

Novels in Prose[edit]

  • The Fortune of Carmen Navarro (2010)

Poetry[edit]

Magazines and Anthologies[edit]

Bryant’s poems and articles have appeared in Highlights Magazine and IMAGE: A Journal of Art and Religion, among others. Her work is anthologized in Rush Hour: A Journal of Contemporary Voices (Delacorte Press); You Just Wait, The Poetry Friday Anthology; The Poetry Anthology for Middle School (all Pomelo Press); One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown.)

"It's Not Pretty," Jen Bryant, Bookology magazine, Knock Knock, Apr. 25, 2015, accessed Oct. 29, 2018

“Working with an Editor,” Nonfictionary, Bookology magazine, February 8, 2018, accessed Oct. 29, 2018

"The Writing Apprenticeship," Jen Bryant, Bookology magazine, Knock Knock, Nov. 11, 2015, accessed Oct. 29, 2018

Translations and Adaptations[edit]

Selected children’s books by Jen Bryant have been translated into Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew. Six Dots, her biography of inventor Louis Braille is available in a print/ braille edition.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin was adapted for the stage by Book-It Repertory Theater, Seattle, Washington.

Selected Awards and Honors[edit]

Call Me Marianne

  • Society of Illustrators: "The Original Art" annual exhibition 2006

Fortune of Carmen Navarro, The

  • Paterson Prize for Young People 2011

Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, The

River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, A

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, A

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jen Bryant: an Award-Winning Career Influenced by Dr. Seuss, Obituaries, and Libraries". Mackin VIA. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Jen Bryant: For the Press". Jen Bryant's website. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Jen Bryant, Honorary Doctorate". Gettysburg College. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "Gettysburg College Board of Trustees". Gettysburg College. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Jen Bryant: For the Press". Jen Bryant's website. Retrieved June 3, 2018.