About Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer Phillips - nose in a book publishing

What influences my stories?

  • My Midwestern upbringing in the 1960s and 1970s has fueled some of my writing projects. My biographies on abolitionist editor Elijah Lovejoy and Robert Wadlow (the tallest person who ever lived), for example, are “hometown-inspired” projects. I don’t limit myself to my own backyard, but you often can find ​great stories right under your nose. I also am drawn to stories about creativity and determination.
  • I encourage and facilitate use of creative thinking practices, whether for work problems, life or writing. I often share techniques and examples in my newsletter and post about techniques under the Resources section of this site.
  • And as the adoptive mom of our younger daughter with special needs, I’ve found this influencing my writing and life in ways I never expected. Outside children’s writing, I’ve needed to become an advocate and ally for those with intellectual & developmental disabilities and those with mental illness diagnoses. Our society is failing these populations in many life-altering ways. As just one example, I serve on the Family Voices Committee for NADD and we are tackling the issue of police interactions and emergency responses when someone is in crisis (or even not). Here is a statement we authored; we are presenting on this topic at the 2021 NADD conference.

Interesting things I’ve done?

I’ve been able to try many fun and interesting things so far in my life. For example:

  • I started out as a newspaper reporter covering crime and court stories, hanging out in police labs before shows like CSI made crime investigation so popular.
  • I’ve ridden in helicopters while doing public relations for an aircraft manufacturer and watched surgeries as part of my health care work.
  • I also participated in a medical mission to Vietnam and supported clinical volunteers providing life-changing surgery to children with cleft lips, cleft palates and orthopedic disabilities.
  • My husband and I have always been big on travel, going near or far depending on the time and money we have. Our family loves exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest (yes, we’ve been to Forks, Washington, home of the famous Twilight series), nearby Canada and the Western states. But travel has also taken me to several other parts of the U.S., as well as England, Scotland, Italy, Greece, Australia, China, Japan and Vietnam. I hope to see more of the world when I can!
JenniferPhillips- news reporter
Jennifer Phillips baby photo
Jennifer Phillips with bird
Jennifer Phillips baby photo

My Youth

I grew up in Alton, Illinois. I never expected to be a writer. I started playing flute in the fifth grade and music quickly became my passion and my career aspiration. I added oboe and a little tenor saxophone by high school.

It was a high school English teacher who first planted the seed, suggesting I had a writing talent and should consider this when I went to college. I filed it away, determined to become a professional musician. But by the end of my freshman year at college, I realized I wasn’t cut out for the competitive professional music world.

Meanwhile, I got a part-time job in the front office at the student newspaper. I remembered what my English teacher said and started looking into journalism. By my sophomore year, I was setting typeface at the paper and had switched my major. By my junior year, I was a student reporter.

Writing became my thing from then on. I still love music and occasionally dust off my old flute to run through a few songs.

But watch out for those insightful teachers!

Jennifer Phillips, Children’s Author


Member of SCBWI - 10+ Years!
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Member - 10+ Years!

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