Photo by Sue Picard
After a childhood of frigid winters in Reinbeck, Iowa, Jane Lindaman moved to Phoenix, Arizona. With a degree from ASU, she began a 24-year career in elementary special education. After 32 years of desert summers, Jane retired to Springfield, Oregon. Now she gets to spend her time reading, gardening, hiking, and volunteering. Jane and Bette, her golden retriever, are a pet partner team, which means that first graders at Camp Creek Elementary School get to read to her and “Alpha” Bette. Jane also volunteers at the Youth Farm, so named not for the promise of youthfulness, but for the at-risk youth that are hired to learn about organic farming. Harvested crops are distributed to local food banks. Lastly, Jane now also has more time for writing!
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
- I devoured the Boxcar Children books. Because of them, I’ve always wanted a caboose in my back yard.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
- I recently reread To Kill a Mockingbird and underlined the phrase describing Dill’s fascination with the Radley house: ".…it drew him like the moon draws water…." I can hear the Southern drawl, and I’m standing right next to Dill equally as drawn to the mystery.
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
- Only three favorites? Impossible, but each school year there were three favorite read alouds I always shared with my students: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel, because it’s spooky. Hershel is extraordinarily clever, and the illustrations are tremendous. Abiyoyo, a South African folktale retold by Pete Seeger in story and song, because the kids sang along, the child was the hero, and it taught them the word "ostracized." Pleasing the Ghost by Sharon Creech, because the kids took great delight in decoding Uncle Arvie’s mixed-up words. Trying to solve the "three pleases" made for lots of predicting. My very first group of students wrote to Ms. Creech with questions, and she wrote back long, detailed answers to them all! It was one of the best author letters we had ever received. I shared that letter with everybody!
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I like the way writing occupies my mind. I like the way a spore of an idea mushrooms into characters and events. My hope as a writer is to produce pieces that nurture the all-important love of reading. My satisfaction from writing is described in this quote from Lady Bird Johnson, “It is wonderful to be in on the creation of something, see it used, and then walk away and smile at it.”
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Crave constructive criticism. Seek it out. Go ahead and try the revisions suggested even if it hurts. Be a constructive critic for others. It will only make you better.