Jeri Chase Ferris

JERI CHASE FERRIS is the award-winning author of eleven Lerner biographies for children and young adults. She specializes in biographies of women and minorities―people who have done great and important deeds, but have been overlooked in history―for example: Go Free or Die: A Story about Harriet Tubman, Demanding Justice: A Story about Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Arctic Explorer: A Story about Matthew Henson, What Are You Figuring Now?: A Story about Benjamin Banneker, and With Open Hands: A Story about Biddy Mason.

Jeri retired from a 30-year teaching career in order to write full time and travels all over the United States and the world to research and collect information on her subjects. In addition to writing, she is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences, bringing history to life through the lives of these remarkable women and men. Her current novel is not a biography but is historical fiction, a survival story set in WWII Russia (USSR).


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”―E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web)

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

William Steig, Richard Peck, and Linda Sue Park.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I like to be treated fairly. You like to be treated fairly. Many of the people I write about were not treated fairly. I aim to set the record straight.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read award-winning books for children. Study them carefully. Read, read, read. Join SCBWI and local writers’ groups. Read, read, read. Write. Refine. Persevere.