Jacqueline Jules Author Biography on wisdomtalespress.com

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Home > Children's Authors > Jacqueline Jules

Jacqueline Jules
Photo of Jacqueline Jules

Jacqueline Jules is a prolific writer of children’s books, a poet, a teacher, and a librarian. Her literary output is impressive: She has written over 20 books for children, including her Zapato Power series and several that have won awards. Ms. Jules’s sensitivity to themes that engage children is evident in her choice of topics such as being away at camp, being at a new school and unable to communicate in English, being from a different culture in America, and so on. Her skill at retelling religious stories comes through in her series of bible stories. It seems that Jacqueline Jules can wrap her words around almost any topic and make them sparkle.

Jacqueline Jules’s most recent book for Wisdom Tales is The Generous Fish. It is the story of a young boy named Reuven who takes a verse from scripture to “cast your bread upon the waters” (Ecclesiastes 11:1) quite literally. The result of his daily act is a giant talking fish with golden scales! Boy and fish spend idyllic days together until the villagers realize those scales are real gold. Every villager has good reason to ask for one. The fish says he has plenty to share. But he grows weak from giving away too much, too fast. Through this friendship of boy and fish, Jules has created an environmental fable sure to generate discussion in the classroom and at home. Ms. Jules also added an author’s note at the end of the book which gives some biblical sources on human interaction with the environment. Frances Tyrrell’s finely detailed illustrations delightfully capture a child’s innocent love for the natural world.

Jacqueline’s previous contribution to Wisdom Tales was the award-winning book Feathers for Peacock (illustrated by Helen Cann). Peacock is another folktale from Jacqueline’s fertile imagination. In creating it, she blended folktale motifs from around the world to offer an original explanation for why the peacock has such beautiful feathers. Her first book for Wisdom Tales was the multi-award-winning Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain, illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard. It is a story about the son of an important official in a medieval court who has to prove to his father that he will not let an insult to his honor go unpunished.

We can’t do better to describe Jacqueline Jules as a writer than to repeat what she has written about how and why she became a writer:

I have always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, my teacher gave everyone a strip of construction paper and asked us to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. In my newly acquired cursive, I wrote ‘writer.’ This is my earliest, most distinct memory of elementary school.

Another strong memory of my elementary school years involves jigsaw puzzles. I spent hours doing them. I started by carefully sorting the end pieces to make a frame. Then I matched pieces with similar colors, turning them around and around until they fit together to make an image. After days of work, I loved seeing all those interlocking pieces finally joined in a fabulous picture. It made me want to run out to the store and buy a new puzzle—an even bigger one with more pieces. I have no idea how many hours of my childhood were spent playing with jigsaw puzzles, but I know it was a lot.

Now I spend every available free moment playing 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 arrange and re-arrange the pieces until everything fits together right.

My mind is always swirling with ideas. Like fireflies on a soft, summer night, they dance in the darkness and dare me to chase them. When I write, I discover who I am and what’s important to me. But most of all, writing gives me the opportunity to make new friends with characters I have imagined. It all begins with the puzzle of words—arranged, re-arranged, taken apart, and put back together in just the right interlocking order.

I became a writer because I love to play with words. Words give us the means to communicate with others. We speak them, we write them, and we read them. My love of words began with my love of reading. As a child, I sat for hours—sometimes in the crook of an apple tree, sometimes in an easy chair—lost in absorbing mysteries, fantasies, biographies, and realistic or historical fiction. I didn’t have much preference, and still don’t, for a particular genre. I am just an enthusiastic fan of a good story with compelling characters.

Among the distinctions that Jacqueline Jules has won for her books, her book Duck for Turkey Day was on the 2010 National Council for the Social Studies list of Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.

Awards for this Author’s Wisdom Tales Books

  • Feathers for Peacock (written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Helen Cann):
    • Winner in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category of the 2016 USA “Best Book” Awards
    • Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2016 Midwest Book Awards
  • Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain (written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by D. Yael Bernhard):
    • Chosen as an Honor Book in the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, “Younger Reader” category (sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries)
    • Finalist of the 2014 National Jewish Book Awards in the category “Illustrated Children’s Books” (sponsored by the Jewish Book Council)
    • Honorable Mention in the “Picture Book” category of the 2014 Middle East Book Awards
    • Recipient of a 2014 Aesop Accolade, awarded by the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society
    • Finalist in the “Children's Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category of The USA “Best Books 2014” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
    • Selected as one of 10 “Best Spiritual Children's Books” of 2014 by Spirituality & Practice (www.spiritualityandpractice.com)
    • Honor Award in the 2015 Skipping Stones Honor Awards, in the category “Multicultural & International Books”

Author Extras & Links

  • Jacqueline Jules has an excellent web site with a lot on her life, her books, and her poetry. Click here to go to Jacqueline Jules’s web site in a new window or tab.

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