Jacqueline Jules thinks revision is the best part of writing. She loves the opportunity to arrange and re-arrange words until they tell the story she wants to share. As a child, she loved to play with jigsaw puzzles, and now she loves to play with words. Writing is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You have to make a frame for your story. You have to place similar words together to create images. And you have to turn the pieces around sometimes to get everything to fit.
When she speaks to students, she explains her writing process and how many of her stories grew out of her teaching experiences. As a former school librarian and certified teacher, Jacqueline loves interacting with students, sharing stories, and promoting the joy of reading.
Jacqueline is the award-winning author of Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation, Duck for Turkey Day, Sarah Laughs, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet, The Princess and the Ziz, No English, the Zapato Power chapter book series, and other books for young readers. Her books have been recognized by the Sydney Taylor Awards Committee, The New York Public Library, the National Council for Social Studies, the Library of Virginia Cardozo Award for Children’s Literature, and named on state and summer reading lists. She has also published poetry and short stories in numerous publications including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, Stories for Children, and Christian Science Monitor.
Jacqueline lives in Northern Virginia and is married to a wonderful man who edits her stories and does the technical work for her Web site. She is also the proud mother of two grown sons. Her hobbies include walking, reading, and attending the theater.
Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off
Purple sneakers with silver wings on the sides were waiting in a package for Freddie Ramos when he arrived home from school. The note inside the box read, “Zapato Power for Freddie Ramos,” but there was no name to indicate who gave the sneakers to Freddie. They were not from his uncle or his mother. The shoes arrived, however, with good timing since Freddie really needed a new pair. His current shoes were too well-worn. So, Freddie tries out the new shoes. Zoom, he is off and running; he discovers that he can outrun the trains on the overhead track. Now, with his super speed shoes, he attempts to be a superhero and help his friends. Besides trying to figure out who gave him the shoes, Freddie investigates some of the mysterious things that are happening around his apartment complex. Cartoon-like pictures in black and white illustrate the story and headings set up the chapters. Read to find out how Freddie figures out who sent him the shoes, and what is behind the mysterious happenings. 2010, Albert Whitman & Company, $14.99. Ages 6 to 8. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung (Children’s Literature).
Duck for Turkey Day
Illustrated by Kathyrn Mitter
Tuyet is worried: Her family celebrates Thanksgiving not with turkey but with duck and spicy sauce, a Vietnamese dish that reflects her ethnicity. What will the teacher think? Even her turkey-shaped, pine-cone centerpiece doesn’t ease Tuyet’s disappointment–until she discovers that her multicultural classmates dine on enchiladas, lamb, roast beef, even tofu. Says the teacher: “It doesn’t matter what you eat on Thanksgiving, as long as you have a good time with family and friends.” Local author Jacqueline Jules pens a tale of tolerance and diversity that will resonate with young students and families no matter their heritage. Illustrator Kathryn Mitter limns a many-hued classroom that adheres not to the melting pot but to the woks, frying pans and vegan casserole dishes of contemporary America. 2009, Albert Whitman, $16.99. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children’s Literature).
Illustrated by Amy Huntington
“No English” is a lovely story of how friendship can overcome the boundaries of language. Blanca, the new girl in school, speaks no English. The classroom teacher, who is sensitive to Blanca’s predicament, asks the class to imagine themselves being surrounded by people they do not understand. She helps the students brainstorm ideas for making Blanca feel welcome. After several unsuccessful attempts at befriending her, Diane, who sits in the desk next to Blanca, finally is able to communicate with her by drawing pictures. They exchange pictures of their family members and begin giggling and whispering during class and soon find themselves in the assistant principal’s office for disciplining. He immediately recognizes the value of their shared drawings, but reminds the girls to be more attentive during class. The next day he displays their pictures outside the office for everyone to admire. Blanca and Diane become the best of friends and eventually Blanca overcomes her inability to speak and understand English. She even teaches the other students how to count in Spanish during a jump rope game! The text is accompanied by soft watercolor illustrations which clearly depict the students’ emotions. This would be an excellent addition to any elementary school library collection. 2007, Mitten Press/Ann Arbor Media Group, $17.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Theresa Finch (Children’s Literature).
Unite or Die: How Thirteen States became a Nation
Illustrations by Jef Czekaj
History can sometimes be confusing to children, especially if there are facts that are hard to keep straight or remember; however, if the facts are made interesting and fun, children will remember them better. The author has taken the facts of the first thirteen states and written them in a unique form to help children remember what happened. Readers will learn, through the genre of a play, the known–and not so well known–facts about the first thirteen states. There are thirteen characters, played by children, representing the states. The illustrations show the reader each part of the play, how the characters are dressed, and each scene. Many details are given about the states but are in the form of the characters talking, discussing, and arguing back and forth to get their point across. Children will see the expressions on the faces of each state represented and learn from the dialogue as well as other words on each page. There are extra notes included in the back to give more interesting details about the story. Teachers would benefit from having this book in their classroom. They may even try to adapt it and perform a class play of their own. 2009, Charlesbridge, Ages 9 up, $7.95. Reviewer: Cathi I. White (Children’s Literature).
- Zapato Power (books 1, 2,3): is a new chapter book series for young readers featuring an Hispanic hero named Freddie Ramos. One day, Freddie comes home from school to find a mysterious box on his doorstep containing super-powered purple sneakers. The shoes change Freddie’s life forever as he searches for ways to control his powers and become a superhero. With projected images of the book’s comic illustrations, this presentation challenges young readers to consider what it would be like to have super speed. Can you be a hero and still go to elementary school? Grades 1-4.
- Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation: aligns with curriculum and standardized tests on essential knowledge regarding the formation of the US Constitution and American government. Author talk presents the conflicts and compromises of the 1787 Constitutional Convention through colorful comics projected on a screen. Students can participate in a Reader’s Theater format. Grades 3-6.
- No English: depicts a second grade girl who finds a creative way to bridge a language barrier with a new classmate from Argentina. Presentation includes ways of making newcomers feel welcome, poetry, and activities about friendship. Teacher’s Guide can be used as preparation or follow-up to author presentation. Grades 1-3.
- Duck for Turkey Day: was inspired by ESOL students who were embarrassed to admit they ate holiday foods from their birth countries rather than traditional Thanksgiving fare. Author talk includes Thanksgiving activities and a celebration of cultural diversity in America. Grades K-3.
Jacqueline Jules is most available in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. However, she is available to travel, especially between Washington, DC and New York City. Her programs will be tailored to fit your particular student population and can include PowerPoint presentations, songs, activities, poetry, and writing lessons. Jacqueline is an experienced teacher/librarian who regularly works with students in pre-school through sixth grade.
Group size: 75 (100 or less will work)
Fees: $350.00 per session. Additional charge for extra sessions and out-of-town appearances. Fees can be negotiated.
To learn more about Jacqueline and her publications please visit www.jacquelinejules.com.