Meet the Author

Jean Van Leeuwen

Portrait of Jean Van Leeuwen

As a child, Jean Van Leeuwen always had a book in her hands — when visiting, in the car, or even under her bed covers. She started to write her first book, a horse story, in the sixth grade. She didn't have a plan for the book, though, so she gave up on it after only a few chapters. It was a long time before she began to write children's stories again.

Jean Van Leeuwen often makes a rough plot outline before she starts writing a book. Then she plans the action. She says, "Most people don't realize how long it takes to complete a manuscript; some days I write only one page. I spent two days one week trying to figure out just one paragraph."


  • Jean Van Leeuwen works in her home in Chappaqua, New York. Her office used to be her children's playroom. Her hobbies are traveling, gardening, and reading.
  • When her children were young, she sometimes used them as "advisers." Her son once told her that a scene she had written about a school food fight wasn't disgusting enough. He suggested that she have the kids throw spaghetti with meat sauce and chocolate pudding.

Photography Credit

Van Leeuwen

Other Books Written by Jean Van Leeuwen

  • A Fourth of July on the Plains
    (illustrated by Henri Sorensen)
  • Going West
    (illustrated by Thomas B. Allen)
  • Hannah of Fairfield
    (illustrated by Donna Diamond)
  • Hannah's Winter of Hope
    (illustrated by Donna Diamond)
  • Hannah's Helping Hands
    (illustrated by Donna Diamond)
  • Nothing Here But Trees
    (illustrated by Phil Boatwright)
  • The Tickle Stories
    (illustrated by Mary Whyte)
  • Tales of Oliver Pig
    (illustrated by Arnold Lobel)
  • Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver
    (illustrated by Ann Schweninger)