More About the Author
Jo Ellen was born in Houston, Texas and spent her formative years in various cities of that state. At the University of Texas in Austin, she received degrees in elementary education and psychology. She moved to Guelph, Ontario in 1975 and worked as a supply teacher for several years, enjoying especially her experiences in school libraries. Jo Ellen has two grown children, a son and a daughter.
A real animal lover, Jo Ellen has had many interesting pets over the years, including Peruvian parrotlets, a coatimundi,and an Argentine tortoise. Current pets include Wendell the Border Collie, a huge koi, goldfish, and a ton of very colorful guppies.
Jo Ellen also loves reading, gardening, swimming, web surfing, and playing with two wonderful grandchildren. She has really enjoyed opportunities to visit and speak to children in many parts of Canada and likes to hear from her readers.
Jo Ellen loves the interplay of art and words in picture books and has written many. She likes to write about nature, numbers, art, and science. She loves fireflies, the northern lights and shooting stars, enjoying the research and learning involved. Her love of art led her to write biographies of two of Canada's best-loved female artists, Emily Carr and Maud Lewis.
A pair of books about four furry friends, THE BIG TREE GANG and OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE BIG TREE GANG, the latter of which was co-written with Jo Ellen's daughter, Jill Bogart, was aimed at early elementary readers. Jo Ellen's 2009 picture book from Tundra Books, entitled BIG AND SMALL, ROOM FOR ALL, was nominated for the Lane Anderson Award for science writing for young readers, a great honor for the book of beautiful illustrations and very few words.
After years of writing song lyrics, Jo Ellen met singer-songwriter/guitarist Eddie Douglas and formed a songwriting team that added six of her songs to Eddie's Juno nominated CD, GONNA KEEP DANCING. A new album soon to be released, SLEEPY SKY LULLABY, will feature more of Jo Ellen's lyrics and some songs co-written with Eddie.
Jo Ellen is very happy to have had her book GIFTS, illustrated in plasticene by Barbara Reid,chosen as the TD Grade One Giveaway book for 2011. It will be given free to each grade one student in Canada next fall.