Jennifer Glossop - Author

Jennifer Glossop

Jennifer Glossop was born in England, grew up in Chicago and now lives in Toronto, where, for many years, she has worked as a teacher and book editor. Children's books were always a favorite of hers to edit, and eventually she was encouraged to write them herself. First, she wrote four books about dinosaurs, then two cookbooks for children. Most recently she wrote The Kids Book of World Religions. Tackling such a big subject was daunting, but finding the similarities among the various religions --- celebrations of life events, attachments to certain places, rules for living a good life --- was enlightening and made the work exhilarating. Along the way, Jennifer was helped by members of each religion, all of whom were eager to explain the history and basic tenets of their religions, knowing that the book would reach new generations of children. She has been told by many grown-ups that they have also learned a lot from the book.

Jennifer continues to live in Toronto and to edit books, although she now spends more time making art, gardening and traveling. Her two children are grown; one is a musician and one a college professor. She also has two granddaughters.

Birthplace?
I was born in England.

Birthday?
My birthday is September 9th, which is the ninth day of the ninth month. One year my birthday was on 9/9/99.

Where do you live now?
Toronto, Ontario.

When did you start writing?
I started writing books for kids about eight years ago.

Do you have a favorite book?
I don't have a favorite. When I was growing up, I loved the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis.

Do you have any pets?
Three cats---Cocoa, a Burmese; Henry, a big, floppy black cat; and Buster, a stray we took in last year. He's black and has pointy ears and sharp teeth---the perfect Halloween cat.

What is your favorite food?
Sushi, I guess. There's a recipe for sushi in the Kids Can Jumbo Cookbook. It's not as hard to make as some people think.

What are your hobbies?
Sculpture.

What was your training or schooling?
I have a B.A. in English Literature.

How did you get involved with children's books?
I began by editing children's books and helping other writers. Then I decided I'd like to try it myself.

Do you have any tips for young creators?
The more you do something, the better you get at it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. These tips apply to cooking as well as writing, although when you make a mistake writing, you don't have to eat it.

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I like taking ideas that people think only grown-ups can understand and writing about them in a way that makes sense to kids.

Where do you work?
At home, in a room I call my office.

How do you research or create your stories?
I go to the library, and I search the Internet. For cookbooks, I ask kids and parents about their favorite foods and recipes.

Where do you get your ideas?
So far, most of my book ideas have been suggested to me by other people.

What's your greatest childhood memory?
It's hard to pick one. I grew up near a university campus. There was a big gingko tree that grew out over a pond. I loved to climb high in the tree and look down at the lily pads. I kept hoping a frog would appear, but one never did.
In the summers we went to a cottage. My friends and I would spend hours digging a new path for a small creek that ran into the lake. The next morning, the creek was always back where it was. We'd just start all over.

What is your favorite animal?
Cats, as pets. I have a great fondness for bats as well, but not as pets.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I kept changing my mind. A dancer, an artist, a teacher, an actor, a cowgirl.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Nothing very weird. I think teaching high school was one of the most interesting jobs I have ever had, and the hardest.

What is your next project?
I'm writing a book on the religions of the world.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
I think that learning to cook is especially important --- and fun --- for kids. If you can cook, you can always feed yourself. And if you're the cook, you get to decide what everyone else will eat!