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Janet S. Wong

Author & Poet

Janet S. Wong was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Southern and Northern California. During her junior year in college, she lived in France, studying art history at the Universite de Bordeaux. When she returned from France, Janet founded the UCLA Immigrant Children's Art Project, a program focused on teaching refugee children to express themselves through art. Janet graduated from UCLA, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in History and College Honors. She then obtained her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was a director of the Yale Law and Technology Association and worked for New Haven Legal Aid. After practicing corporate and labor law for a few years for GTE and Universal Studios Hollywood, she chose to write for young people instead.

Janet is now the author of more than 20 books published by Simon & Schuster, Harcourt, Candlewick, FSG, and Charlesbridge. She has been featured on Oprah and CNN and has spoken all over the world, including at the White House. As a way to thank teachers who had supported her work, Janet started volunteering for literacy groups and was honored with appointments to the NCTE Commission on Literature, the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry committee, and the IRA Notable Books for a Global Society committee.

Janet's popular picture books include, Buzz, The Dumpster Diver, and Apple Pie 4th of July. Buzz is an L.A. Times Best Book of the Year for children--a lively read-aloud about a toddler's busy morning routine. The Dumpster Diver is not just for kids--with its hipster illustrations, it's a quirky gift for anyone who is good at "creative recycling." Apple Pie 4th of July is a book that landed Janet a gig at the White House Easter Egg Roll because it was seen as a "slice of community" storytelling celebrating diversity. 

For the chapter book readers, check out Me and Rolly Maloo and the Minn and Jake Series. Me and Rolly Maloo focuses on the pressures of standardized testing and how to deal with cheating. Minn and Jake is written about an unlikely friendship between a lizard-loving girl and a tech geek. In the sequel, Jake visits his old home in Los Angeles and learns "you can't go back home again"--but a string of hilarious mini-disasters involving self-tanning lotion, ants, buffet meals, and Disneyland can teach you to appreciate your new friends more than ever!

Janet's poems have been reprinted in many textbooks and anthologies, as well as in some more unusual venues. "Albert J. Bell" from A Suitcase of Seaweed was selected to appear on 5,000 subway and bus posters as part of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority's "Poetry in Motion" program, and poems from Behind the Wheel have been featured on a car-talk radio show. She is also the co-creator (with Sylvia Vardell) of The Poetry Friday Anthology series and the Poetry Friday Power Book series published by Pomelo Books, books that make poetry-sharing easy and fun.

Learn more about Janet S. Wong on her website.  


suitcase of seaweed
minn and jake
twist yoga poems
Apple Pie Fourth of July
Me and Rolly Maloo
Night Garden: Poems From The World Of Dreams
behind the wheel
Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club
The Dumpster Diver
The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids
You Have to Write
GREAT MORNING! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud
The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations

Festival Testimonials

Great energy, presented with children in mind!
Loved the experiences in the ARTery, loved the presentations about the craft of writing and publishing. Gorgeous venues and well-done festival. Well-staffed, very nice venues. Will come again next year from Minnesota – well worth it.
Have loved the festival all these years.