Joni Klein-Higger

Joni Klein-Higger is an award-winning children’s book author, songwriter, and musical theater playwright. Joni’s songs have been featured in motion pictures, and her children’s songs and musicals can be frequently heard in schools across the country. Joni lives in Tampa Bay, Florida.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlen Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. As a child, I enjoyed chiming in with the reader to say the main character’s name, “Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo.” It was the beginning of my love for words.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“To be rich and be happy, you don’t need a lot. You just need to enjoy what you’ve already got!” – Messes of Dresses by Faigy Perzig

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Dr. Seuss – His rhymes are magical! My favorite stories of his are The Sneetches, Oh, The Places You’ll Go and Green Eggs and Ham.

Faigy Perzig – My favorite book ever is Messes of Dresses. I am honored to have had its illustrator, Tova Leff, illustrate my first published book, Ten Tzedakah Pennies.

Julia Donaldson – The Gruffalo – This book is written so well. It’s clever and funny with great rhymes.

Shel Silverstein – My favorite book of his is The Giving Tree – such a touching, beautiful story.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I enjoy bringing stories to life and sharing them with children.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Join SCBWI and/or other credible children’s book-writing organizations that offer writing conferences, workshops and critique groups. Also, the more time and effort you put into your writing, the faster success will come. And don’t forget, it is important to know your genre – read and stay current on the books hitting the shelves.