Jennifer Elvgren

Jen Fariello

Jennifer Elvgren, award-winning author of The Whispering Town and Josias, Hold the Book, is a former print journalist who finds her story ideas in real life. She lives in Albemarle County, Virginia. With her husband, three children Caspian the border collie, Copperfield the foxhound, and Goodnight Moon the American quarter horse.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

My favorite picture book was The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, and my favorite middle grade novel was The Thanksgiving Treasure by Gail Rock. Both of these books have traveled with me since childhood. My family reads The Thanksgiving Treasure out loud at Thanksgiving. I still tear up!

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him ‘WILD THING!’ and Max said ‘I’LL EAT YOU UP!’ so he was sent to bed without eating anything.” – Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I think this is one of the best picture books of all time. It makes me smile, AND it inspires me to write lyrically yet tight.

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Kevin Henkes, Kate DiCamillo, Pam Munoz Ryan, Katherine Paterson, Karen Cushman – Whoops that’s five! I could keep going …

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I wanted to become a children’s writer to create stories that inspire dreams and create empathy in children.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Write from your heart the story that only you can tell. Join a critique group where honesty and kindness abound. Revise. Revise. Revise. Revise. Revise. And revise. Remember, the only difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is that the published writer didn’t give up. So don’t you, either.