Author Interview with Jenna Hinkel
Come behind the scenes and join us as we chat to first time author and illustrator Jenna Hinkel. Discover just how collecting endless children’s books led her down the path to becoming a published children’s author. We’ve got a video interview with Jenna and a written interview in this blog for you to enjoy.
Tell us about your book?
Pepper Jo Senses Snow is a short, rhythmic story about a young, curious penguin who ventures out of his cozy igloo to explore! He uses his five senses to discover one of mother nature’s most amazing experiences……snow! Each page features one of our five senses as Pepper Jo jots down his findings along the way.
Why did you want to write this story?
I first had the spark of interest to write a children’s book when I was about 15. My English teacher mentioned she was dappling in the industry and I thought ”that would be cool!” I guess that inking never left me but instead grew immensely. I started my college experience in early childhood education and began stashing literally any children’s book I could find. Book stores, thrift shops, library sales, flea markets, anywhere! Imagine me in my early 20’s reading picture books to myself or my dog and thoroughly enjoying myself. I never really knew why I was collecting these large quantities of books. I just knew it felt good deep in my soul. My husband has drug my those totes full of imagination and curiosity with us every time we have moved. I guess all of my ”research” is finding its purpose!
What’s been the best reaction from a reader so far?
Of course, my best reviewers through this whole process have been kiddos around me. I am surrounded by preschoolers and my son and niece have heard the story in every version the manuscript has seen. The best reaction I have experienced so far is a story of my niece peeking through the side of the face time screen and proclaiming ”I am Nena’s penguin!” as she imitated her favorite Pepper Jo illustration! My son also often repeats the last sentence of the book which fills my heart with pure joy! Although he refuses to believe that I decided to change one of the adjectives! His sweet voice repeating my phrases from my book is absolute perfection!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado so I am surrounded by snow 9 months out of the year! I love playing with my kiddos any chance we get! Skiing, snowmobiling, winter hikes, sledding or just playing around our yard. Honestly, a good old snow angel is probably my favorite! I just love to get down and look closely at anything that nature offers me. I love the details! The spark to write came one day when I was reading my son’s naptime story. Something just lit up inside me and as soon as he was asleep the words came out on the paper with a huge burst of energy! Sure I have revised parts of it a couple of times along the way but the main story has always remained!
What’s the most fun part of being an author?
So far the absolute best part of this journey has been showing what I have created to the kiddos in my life! Seeing them respond with excited eyes, mimicking Pepper Jo, instigating a snowball fight, repeating phrases, or best of all, asking to use our senses to explore while we play! These are the moments this book was created for! It’s all for the little humans!
What’s your tip for parents to encourage reading?
This is by far the ”other” best part! Engaging parents and kids to learn and explore together! My homeschool Momma heart sings! At the end of Pepper Jo, I invite parents to dive into some activities to explore the snow with their kids. Each of the suggested activities focuses on one of our senses and how we can use it to investigate this fun, fluffy stuff together! Finding a way to connect to any book is really a great joy of motherhood for me.
What inspired you and your little one once you turned the last page? Want to make some cookies or muffins? Grab a cookbook and learn about reading recipes along the way. Did your child ask an awesome question? Grab another book to do some research! Visit your library and follow your child’s lead! Getting a library card and joining local events has been nothing short of life-changing for me and my daily! The chain of creative learning and exploration through books is endless!
What is your all time favourite children’s book?
Oh, man! The choices! Do you remember the totes of books I mentioned? It has to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar though! I adore every detail! The layers of art to create each illustration, the counting, the body awareness, those eyes! Eric Carle did a remarkable job! He has touched so many hearts and created countless snuggle moments between parents and children.
Jenna Hinkel is a homeschool momma and outdoor enthusiast who lives with her husband, their two sons and their dog in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. She adores working with children and teaching them about the wonders of Mother Nature. Jenna and her family explore the outdoors together in their beautiful home. This gives her fantastic inspiration for her books as she sees the magic of the world through a child’s eyes.
Where to Next?
We hope you enjoyed this insight into Jenna Hinkel’s latest book and author life. This is just one of our many author interviews and book reviews. We love to give you a behind the scenes look at some amazing children’s authors. The best way to keep in touch with these is through signing up to our newsletter. You can also see our range of children’s books in our shop. Plus of course, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.