Appearances 2019

1/29/19           North Jackson Elementary, Talmo, GA, School Virtual Visit

1/31/19            Martha Reid Leadership Academy, Mansfield, TX, School Virtual Visit

2/1/19             New Interdisciplinary School, Medford, NY, School Virtual Visit

2/1/19              Chamberlin Elementary School, Stephensville, TX, School Virtual Visit

2/1/19              Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Turnersville, NJ, School Virtual Visit

2/1/19              Antoinette Reading Junior High, Richmond, TX, School Virtual Visit

2/22/19           Jefferson Elementary, Anaheim, CA, School Virtual Visit

2/28/19          Desert Spirit Elementary, Glendale, AZ School Virtual Visit

3/1/19             Bethune Elementary, Detroit, MI, School Virtual Visit

3/8/19             Boston Bookstores Drive-By Signings

3/16/19           Colorado Book & Arts Festival, Arvada, CO, Featured Author

3/22-23/19     Children’s Festival of Stories, Denver, CO, Featured Author

3/29/19           Chegwin Elementary School, Fond du Lac, WI, School Virtual Visit

4/5/19              Copper Hill Elementary School, Ringoes, NJ, School Virtual Visit

4/9/19              The BookBar Bookstore, Denver, CO, Happier Hour Storytime 4:30

4/20/19            The Book Stall, Winnetka, IL, Saturday Morning Storytime, 10:30

4/22/19            Hollis Elementary School, Hollis, ME, School Virtual Visit

4/27/19            Independent Bookstore Day at The Bookies, Denver, CO

4/29/19            Julian Curtiss School, Greenwich, CT, School Virtual Visit

5/3/19               Children’s Book Week Storytime at Second Star to the Right Bookstore, 10:30 AM

5/23/19            Lois Lenski Elementary, Centennial, CO, School Visit

7/14/19             The Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, CO, TRUMAN Launch Party Open to the Public

8/3/19               The Book Stall Bookstore, Winnetka, IL, TRUMAN Launch Party Open to the Public

8/24/19             The BookPeople Bookstore, Austin, TX, TRUMAN Launch Party Open to the Public

9/4/19               Educator Night, The Tattered Cover Aspen Grove, 6-9 PM

9/14/19             Princeton Children’s Book Festival

10/21-25/19    Mount Lebanon Public Schools

10/12-13/19     Rocky Mountain SCBWI Letters & Lines Conference

11/12/19            The Stanley Clark School, South Bend, IN School Visit

11/14/19            Darden Elementary, South Bend IN School Visit

11/15/19            The Notre Dame Bookstore 3:30-5:00

11/30/19           Small Business Saturday Appearances, 10:30 – 1:30 The Bookies Bookstore, Denver

To find out more about Jean’s School and Virtual Visits.

To inquire about other appearances or to schedule Jean for an appearance.

A Bright, Shiny Starred Review for PUP 681!

On the heels of a weekend stuffed full of gratitude, comes an extra dollop of good news … a bright, shiny starred review for PUP 681. “Unabashedly adorable.” Thank you, Kirkus!

“An abandoned baby sea otter is rescued and sent to live out her life in an aquarium—where she learns the deepest meaning of “family,” in this tale inspired by a real-life rescued otter pup.

‘When the moon slipped under the mist and the sun began to burn through, a tiny one opened her eyes.’ These poetic words are on the recto of a double-page spread of a pale, watercolor seascape. At the left, an immediately appealing, dazed-looking brown sea otter sits draped in seaweed. Over the next two pages, there are four more depictions of the baby, in equally adorable positions, lessening the sting of her plaintive situation. She appears near death when, in driving rain, a young woman shows up and gently bundles her into a blanket, calling the otter Pup 681. The tale is told in third person, but most of it is through the supposed thoughts and even dreams of the otter, who at one point feels so lonely she sickens. Her unnamed, sweet-faced rescuer, a woman of color, again revives her, and a fascinating otter fact is cleverly revealed. The gentle humor of the artwork and the descriptive, sometimes-rhyming text combines with excellent layout to create a compelling tale. If the ending words were describing a human’s lesson learned, they would seem mawkishly sentimental; because the lesson applies to Pup 681’s “tiny otter heart,” they simply provide appropriate closure. An author’s note and a smattering of otter facts follow.

Unabashedly adorable. (Picture book. 4-7)

Tuesdays for Teachers: Opinion Pieces for Early Learners

After a recent Skype school visit, I received a fabulous file of “Best Book” reports from a phenomenal first-grade class … which reminded me, author studies and opinion pieces are not just for big kids.

By reading, together as a class, several books by the same author – and maybe even scheduling a virtual visit – you give even the youngest readers an opportunity to compare and contrast an author’s books, learn about story inspiration and idea generation and maybe even ask a few questions of the author herself.

Topping it off with a simple “Best Book” report helps students learn to form their own opinions, find supporting details and draw conclusions about literary works and art.

You’ll be well on your way to forming selective young readers and thoughtful new critics – a boon to any literacy curriculum.

Interested in a virtual visit?

Check out my Time Out for Teachers page!


Monday, Tuesday … Mentor Text Poetry

Early learners master days of the week quickly – and there are plenty of picture books that can help them do that – including my BUSY BUILDERS, BUSY WEEK!

A days-of-the-week picture book can also serve as a fun mentor text or a basis for a calendar activity. Students – or the class all-together – can compose their own days of the week poem in rhyme or free verse, based on their own weekly schedule. Think something like:

Monday! Soccer day!

Kick it, bump it, locker day!

As you open each day, consider adding some bouncy creativity to your calendar time and watch your young poets blossom.

Interested in a virtual visit?

Check out my Time Out for Teachers page!


First the sprinkles, and now the cover!

Look what just went live! Another cover (and a peek at some pages)!  I can’t wait for the world to meet TRUMAN – because it takes courage to see new sights, hear new sounds, think new thoughts … and go after what we love. Right? Illustrated by the amazing Lucy Ruth Cummins and edited by the brilliant Emma Ledbetter. Coming Summer 2019 from Atheneum/Simon&Schuster.

But you can preorder it now!


Cover Reveal: PUP 681

Back in 2015, I received this incomparably sweet illustration from my agent, Erin Murphy. Her message: “What would you think about writing this otter pup’s story?”



I soon learned that the art was inspired by an actual rescued sea otter pup living at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago – a place I LOVE.

So how could I resist?

Pup 681, my eighth book, hits bookstore and library shelves in February 2019 (Henry Holt, Godwin Books) and features the AWWWW-so-adorable art of illustrator Ashley Crowley (Officer Panda, The Boy and the Blue Moon) who created that super-cute sea otter pup above.

Here’s the essence of the story –

Washed ashore alone, a tiny sea otter pup needs help! Soon, a rescuer is there, to take her in and keep her warm and fed. The pup faces challenges in her new life without her sea otter family. But with the love and care of her rescuer, she flourishes in her new home. Inspired by a true story, this is a heartwarming and hopeful tale about family and love.

As you can imagine, we’re counting down the days until we can hold this book in our hands. And since seven months can seem like a long time to wait, we thought we’d tide you over for a bit with …

a cover!!!

So while the heat of summer is upon us, soak up these cool blue waters.

February will be here before we know it.


PUP 681 is available for preorder now!

Appearances 2018

2/1/18             Elizabeth Green Elementary School, Newington, CT, Virtual Visit

2/1/18             Providence Elementary School, Aubrey, TX, Virtual Visit

2/1/18             Palencia Elementary School, St. Augustine, FL, Virtual Visit

2/13/18           Tuckahoe Common School District, Southampton, NY, Virtual Visit

2/14/18           C. Bascom Slemp Memorial Library, Big Stone Gap, VA, Virtual Visit

3/1/18              Rolesville Elementary School, Rolesville, NC, Virtual Visit

3/2/18             Mt. Sinai Elementary School, Mt. Sinai, NY, Virtual Visit

3/2/18             Logan Elementary School, El Paso, TX, Virtual Visit

3/16/18           Children’s Festival of Stories, Denver, CO, Presenter

3/17/18           Children’s Festival of Stories, Denver, CO, Presenter

3/18/18           Children’s Festival of Stories, Denver, CO, Presenter

3/20/18           Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London, NH, Virtual Visit

4/30/18           Second Star to the Right Bookstore, Denver, CO, Storytime

5/18-20/18     Big Sur in the Rockies, Boulder, CO, Mentor

9/22-23/18     Letters and Lines Conference Rocky Mountain SCBWI, Golden CO

10/23/18          Southwood Elementary, Kentwood, MI, Virtual Visit

10/30/18          Freedom Crossing Academy, St. Johns, FL, Virtual Visit

11/13-14/18     Skype-a-Thon, Worldwide


To find out more about Jean’s School and Virtual Visits.

To inquire about other appearances or to schedule Jean for an appearance.

Get ready for World Read Aloud Day … or everyday!

February 1st is World Read Aloud Day!  Hooray!

But there’s no need to limit your read aloud talent to one day of the year. Take every opportunity, all year long, to read with young readers or listeners. Whether it’s cuddled up on your couch, at a library, in a bookstore or via the internet, you have a wonderful and easy way to make a huge difference in the life of a child!

Not sure how? Here are some tips to get you started.

First, from Pam Allyn founder of World Read Aloud Day!

Literacy advocate and LitWorld founder Pam Allyn shares her top tips for hosting the perfect read-aloud! We're gearing up to celebrate World Read Aloud Day tomorrow (2/16)! To learn more and join the celebration, visit #WRAD17

Posted by Scholastic on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

And don’t forget Boni Hamilton’s brilliant blog post from my archives –

“Noticings and Wonderings: The Best Questions a Parent or Teacher Could Ask While Reading Aloud.”

Happy reading!


Write When You Least Expect To – Take 2

Hello again! It’s been a while. And rather than blog my list of excuses for not blogging, let me just say, it’s nice to be back.

After a not-so-restful night of sleep, a morning of exercise and errands followed by an afternoon at the soup kitchen, I predicted that not much writing was going to happen today. But guess what. I was wrong. Because I sat down with my very early morning tea, opened my documents and just did it. I polished my latest picture book and made some significant progress in the restructuring of my novel.

“Write When You Least Expect To” continues to be my best writing advice to myself.

Even sitting down to write this blog post is a case in point.

So for my first post of the new year,  I thought it a perfect time to dig up an old gem from 2011.

Hmmm. Maybe it will be my New Year’s Resolution! Maybe it will be yours!

Write When You Least Expect To

by Jean Reidy    2/18/2011

I do very few things well under pressure. So when I sit down to work on a book, especially a novel, I usually make sure I’ve set aside a large block of time, giving myself a chance to get back into the story, set up achievable goals for words on the page and then actually write those words.

But lately, those blocks of time have become smaller and smaller. I won’t bore you with the details of my busy life – we’re all wishing for 40-hour days these days, right? – but I do know that my time will free up a bit later this year. And I’ve been tempted to say “Well that’s when I’ll work on this novel.”

But I grew impatient. I was anxious to get back into this exciting project.

So for the past two days, I’ve been squeezing in some unexpected writing time. I’ll admit, I was set up pretty well for this experiment with ten pages of my own handwritten revision notes and a marked up manuscript.

One might expect that with a wee bit of time, I’d opt for wee revisions. But honestly, by the time I open up my 150-page manuscript and jump around finding just the right spots for those adjustments, and skip from revision note to revision note, I could have written an entire scene.

So that’s just what I did.

And there was something terribly freeing about opening up a brand new document labeled with a scene title and jumping right in.

I had no sense of foreboding about the task at hand because my expectations were low – I’ll just jot down some thoughts related to this scene. After all, I only have a few minutes. But then my fingers were flying across the keyboard as dialog and setting and metaphors (some were quite dastardly, I’ll admit) flowed with ease. And the delight of getting some work done when I expected to get none, actually inspired me to go beyond the stale scribbles of pressured revisions and take risks with the story. I wrote an entire scene. And just like with my golf game – when my expectations are low I play my best – the writing was surprisingly good.

So try it sometime. Write when you least expect to. The quantity and quality of what hits the page might pleasantly surprise you.

Have you had random writing moments? Tell me about them.



ALL THROUGH MY TOWN to hundreds of kids!

Today, in my inbox –

Dear RMC Members!

We are excited to share the news that BookBar Denver will be donating over 2500 children’s books by RMC SCBWI authors to local schools!

Don’t blink! When BookBar says they want to get something done, they move fast. This month, BookBar Denver set a goal to get local authors’ books in the hands of needy children so these kids would have something to read over the summer. In order to meet that goal, BookBar reached out to the RMC SCBWI PAL community and allowed authors to apply to have their book selected for purchase in their giveaway plan.

After carefully considering the following: relationship with individual publishers, book publication date, diversity of characters, settings, situations for our diverse community, price, and previous relationships with local authors—BookBar chose 15 RMC SCBWI PAL member titles and purchased an average of five cases of each title (all recorded by Bookscan). Here are the titles they selected:

Author or illustrator


Regan, Dian

Space Boy and the Space Pirate

Fenske, Jonathan

Plankton is Pushy

Wing, Natasha

Night Before Summer Vacation

Cowles, Ashlee

Beneath Wandering Stars

Bertman, Jennifer

Book Scavenger

Jones, Traci

Silhouetted by the Blue

Tuell, Todd

Ninja Ninja Never Stop

Vega, Denise

If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed

Phumiruk, Dow

Maya Lin – Artist-Architect

Cooner, Donna

Can’t Look Away

Feagan, Alice

School Days Around the World

Mills, Claudia

Cody Harmon, King of Pets

Rose, Judy

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

Crowder, Melanie

A Nearer Moon

Reidy, Jean

All Through My Town

More about their press release and birthday celebration: BookBar will be celebrating its fourth year as an independent bookstore and wine bar in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood on Saturday May 27th. Festivities will include raffles, literary games and giveaways all day from 10 am – 10 pm. There will be a cake cutting and champagne toast at 8 pm. In appreciation of four years of collaboration with local authors and local schools, and in partnership with RMC SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), BookBar will be donating over 2500 children’s books by local authors to local schools!

These donations will be delivered to Northwest Denver schools the week of May 28th to ensure that children can take a book home for summer break. This is part of a program that BookBar and RMC SCBWI hope to expand upon in order to connect Colorado students with Colorado authors. BookBar is also excited to announce the addition of a 1400 square foot events and gallery space for the whole family. As the store continues to grow and thrive, there is an increasing need for a dedicated event space to serve our growing literary community. This space will include a mini bar / cafe and serve as a book art gallery during non-event hours, featuring local artists specializing in art created from and about books as informative literary showcases. In addition, it will be available for community events and meeting reservations

Congratulations to our selected authors!”

I’m so VERY proud to have ALL THROUGH MY TOWN selected for this project. Thank you, BookBar!