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Jerdine Nolen

Biography

Jerdine Nolen

Jerdine Nolen was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and raised in
Chicago, Illinois, along with five sisters and two brothers.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing and collecting words. My
Mother encouraged me to do that. She was eager to hear my new
list of ‘favorite words.’ Cucumber was a word I preferred above the rest.
Then, one day, I became smitten with chutney. ‘Chutney, chutney, chut-ney.’ I would chant that one over and over again.
 
“Writing is fun work. It takes patience to get the right story.
Once you have the story idea, it is important to revise/revisit the
work to make it the best that it could be. It is like sculpting or wiring
the pieces together in a way so the words on the page have enough life –
they could stand up and walk around all on their own. That is why my motto is hold fast to your dreams as you would your balloons!
 
“In looking over the landscape that is my work so far, I think my stories are about possibilities — possible   and impossible possibilities. Possibilities are sometimes born out of great needs. In Harvey Potter’s BALLOON FARM, ‘Harvey Potter was a very strange fellow indeed.’ He was a farmer from a small rurual-depression-town who grew balloons. Now how many of us can  honestly say we don’t need a good clown balloon ‘growing out of the  plain old ground,’ from time to time. 
 
“The family memories shared in my book IN MY MOMMA'S KITCHEN are a part of all of our lives. We need rational connection with each other.   And it is just fine to go back and remember the good things about those important connections that we shared. For some of us, our family kitchens joined us at the beginning  and ending places of where all life flows. It does seem like everything good that happened in my house happened in my momma’s kitchen.
 
“Now when I look upon BIG JABE, he certainly was born out of a great need. But, he also symbolizes a wish fulfillment and the desire a nine year old girl  expressed long ago. My formal introduction to the subject of slavery in the United States came in elementary school. I was horrified. I still am. I wanted to ‘do   something’ for those ‘people who were treated as slaves.’ Years later, that desire blossomed into the book, BIG JABE. Big Jabe comes along out of a great   need bearing mysterious gifts to help and share with others. May Big Jabe bring us all to the pear tree.
 
“Stories help us examine and shape the world we live in. Stories give us hopeful answers and insights to questions no one person can answer on their own –  stories help us share our lives. This is what I love about being a writer.
 
Jerdine Nolen received a B.A. in special education from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.Ed. in interdisciplinary arts education from Loyola University in Chicago. Jerdine Nolen lives in Maryland. Ms. Nolen lives near Columbia, Maryland with her husband Anthony, their two children, two cats and the occasional giant pumpkins that grow in the yard.

Jerdine Nolen

Books by Jerdine Nolen

by Jerdine Nolen - African American Interest, Children's 8-12, Family, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Twelve-year-old Callie Wilcomb and her family are slaves, and the Civil War gives them hope that freedom may be on the horizon. On May 23, 1861, the State of Virginia ratified their vote to secede from the Union. In Virginia, a window was opened where the laws of the land no longer applied. Because of the Contraband Law, slaves no longer had to be returned to their owners, granting them a measure of protection and safety. With the possibility of Callie and her family escaping their bonds forever, Callie is eager to learn and become educated and hopes to teach others one day.

written by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by A. G. Ford - Picture

Irene loves her family, especially when her father is home. But Papa is gone a lot, and so Irene makes a wish for him to be with the family more. Her wish comes true in an unexpected way when Papa, who was drinking lemonade in the garden at the exact moment Irene made her wish, swallows a watermelon seed and begins a surprising transformation. Slowly and beautifully, day after day, Irene’s father turns into a tall, stately, and loving tree. Papa is a beautiful tree, but Irene wants her real Papa back. How could Irene have made such a wish, and how can she make things right?