Emily Jenkins writes picture books (Five Creatures, Lemonade in Winter) and chapter books (Upside-Down Magic and The Toys series) for young readers. She says, “Growing up, I spent large parts of my life in imaginary worlds: Neverland, Oz, and Narnia, in particular.” Jenkins believes that all stories are part of a history of stories and she takes special delight in how words and pictures work together to shape the reading experience.
Jenkins grew up in the Boston area in the 1970s. Her mother was a pre-school teacher and her father a playwright. Jenkins remembers visiting her mother's classroom and reading to the children there; even more vividly, she remembers sitting in the back row of the theater, watching rehearsals – and seeing stories come to life.
Jenkins studied English at Vassar, and then came to New York City to get her doctorate in 19th-century English literature at Columbia.
Her mother read picture books to her; her father read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, and Sherlock Holmes. He also made up stories for Jenkins and recounted the plots of Shakespeare plays. Together, Jenkins and her father wrote a novel for children called The Secret Life of Billie's Uncle Myron (1996).
Jenkins’ first picture book, Five Creatures, was awarded the Charlotte Zolotow Honor and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor. Other picture books include Lemonade in Winter, Toys Meet Snow, The Fun Book of Scary Stuff, and Skunkdog. For readers age 6-10, Jenkins writes the popular Toys series, including Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party, and Toys Come Home, all with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky. Jenkins and her family live in Brooklyn, New York, the inspiration for several of her picture books, including What Happens on Wednesdays and Water in the Park.
Jenkins also writes books for young adults under the name E. Lockhart.
In addition to writing, Jenkins visits schools (PreK-5th grade) in the New York City area and further afield. Her website offers wonderful resources for teachers – research, art, vocabulary, and other classroom activities, discussion questions, and writing prompts – all connected to her books. To learn more, visit Emily Jenkins’ website.