Juanita Havill grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois on the Wabash River. Her favorite things were cats and horses and books. She still loves cats and horses although she doesn’t have any now. She still loves books, too, and lives in a house full of them.
Since publication of Jamaica’s Find, a Reading Rainbow book and winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, Havill has written six other books featuring the popular main character, including the most recent title in the series Jamaica Is Thankful. Havill has written many other picture books, middle grade novels, early chapter books, and numerous articles for children and adults. Her historical novel Eyes Like Willy’s was selected as a Crown/Lamplighter Honor Book.
Havill began writing poems as a child and has had two books of her poetry published: I Heard It from Alice Zucchini, Poems about the Garden and Grow, A Novel in Verse. Grow won the Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award in 2009 and also the Santa Monica Green Prize for Youth Fiction. Her poems have appeared in the Poetry
Friday anthology series compiled by Sylvia Vartell and Janet Wong:Poems for the School Year for K-5, Poems for the School Year for Middle School, Poems for the School Year: Science, and Poems for Celebrations. Other anthologies which feature her work include compiler Georgia Heard’s The Arrow Finds Its Mark and the forthcoming One Minute to Midnight compiled by Kenn Nesbitt.
Havill says that she writes to discover, to share, and to live other people’s lives. She believes that there are two ways to get lost in a book: reading one and writing one.