Sharon Jennings

Sharon Jennings finds her experience as a language arts editor and children’s drama teacher very useful when she begins to work on a new story. First however, she needs an idea, and for that she relies on her three children. Her latest book for Annick Press is Wiggle, Giggle, Tickle Train (2009) which she wrote in collaboration with illustrator Nora Hilb.

Sharon grew up in Toronto. Throughout her childhood she spent hours putting on plays in her backyard-writing, acting, directing. “I loved reading and writing stories as a child. I wrote a book in Grade 5 and a friend did the pictures for it!” Her novel, Home Free, probably grew out of these experiences.

As a young adult, Sharon studied drama and belonged to various theater groups. This led to many part-time jobs teaching drama to children. After graduating from York University with a master’s degree in English, she worked as an editor of language arts and drama textbooks for an educational publisher.

Given her background, it is no surprise that Sharon Jennings has become an author of children’s books today. She really enjoys the writing process and says, “If I had planned my life, this is what I would be doing!” Sharon believes that keeping a journal and a file of ideas is the key to good writing. Her advice to budding authors is “get into the habit of writing every day—practice, practice, all the time!”

When she visits elementary schools, Sharon incorporates a drama and language arts workshop related to her stories. “I try to draw kids into my books by having them identify with the characters and situations. I want children to realize that books are about themselves. Books come alive when children bring their own experience to the story.”

As for things other than writing, Sharon enjoys tobogganing, swimming and going to the nearby park to feed the animals. She especially likes theater, ballet, and reading whenever she gets the chance.

School, Library and Conference Presentations
Books Come Alive!
“My goodness! Does this ever happen in your house?” With this question, children spring into Sharon’s language arts workshop. The visit becomes a lively exchange of ideas, questions and answers as Sharon encourages children to see themselves as writers and illustrators with lots of stories to tell. With young ones Sharon uses some dramatic play to pull them into the experience; with older children she explores the business of being a writer. Sharon’s own stories, which are based on the activities of her own three children, are popular and critical successes, charming young and old alike with their authenticity and humor.

Presentation format: Language arts workshop based on her stories.
Maximum: 50
Recommended age group: JK - Grade 6
Length: 1 hour

Annick Press books
by Sharon Jennings