Jane Yolen is an amazing award winning writer. She has written over 300 books for children and adults in a variety of genres, and on a number of different topics. Newsweek called Jane Yolen "the Hans Christian Andersen of America" and The New York Times labeled her "a modern equivalent of Aesop."
Jane Yolen has written stories about toads in space, dinosaurs at bedtime, and much more. In this exclusive video interview with Reading Rockets, Jane Yolen recites the first poem she ever wrote and talks about how to encourage creative writing in kids.
Jane Yolen has been reading, writing, and telling stories for most of her life. As a young girl, fairytales and folktales stirred her imagination. As an adult, Yolen has captivated children with her own versions of magic, mystery, and lore. Newsweek once referred to Yolen as "America's Hans Christian Andersen." In over 40 years, Yolen has published more than 250 books. "I know that sounds like a lot of books," she says, "but I remember writing them each, one at a time."
Jane Yolen's best known books include Owl Moon, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, The Devil's Arithmetic, and the Pit Dragon Trilogy.
Writing from the start
Jane Yolen was born in New York City in 1939. Both of her parents were writers and so were most of their friends. While still in preschool, Jane composed her first poem. "I love to recite my first poem to kids when I talk to them – because it was so bad that I tell them that, clearly, they're writing better poems than that."
Yolen's writing did improve throughout her school years. In the first grade, she wrote the class musical. In high school, she won a Scholastic poetry contest. At Smith College, Yolen won awards for her poetry and journalism. After graduation, Yolen moved to Manhattan to work in the publishing industry. Soon thereafter, at age 22, she sold her first book, Pirates in Petticoats.
Since then, Yolen has published over 250 books, including folktales, fairytales, science fiction, poetry, informational books, picture books, young adult novels, and more. Yolen's books have won numerous awards, appeared on bestsellers lists, and some have been converted into movies. Yolen has also played an active role in literary organizations such as the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Western New England Storytellers Guild, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Jane Yolen and her husband divide their time between western Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.
Owl Moon is a Caldecott Medal winner. The language in this book is amazing. Have you ever gone owling? This book takes you into the woods at night in search of the owls call. An excellent book for teaching literary devices in writing, and as an anchor text for a unit on owls or birds.
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School is just one in a series of adorable dinosaur books. Your little dinosaur fans will love reading about dinosaurs saying goodnight, going to school, and more. Parents will enjoy the subtle lessons in the series. Teachers can use this series as read aloud books during your dinosaur units of study.
Dimity Duck is a precious picture book perfect for reading aloud to your youngest children. The imagery in this book is an excellent study on the craft of writing. The simple text is amazing and is written to be read aloud over and over again.
Encounter takes on the point of view of a young Native American boy who encounters Columbus during his first visit to the Americas. The imagery is amazing and worthy of a writing study. This book is an excellent anchor text for teaching point of view and connecting with the social studies curriculum. There are many opportunities to infer, ask questions, and make predictions throughout this text.