When I read Two Speckled Eggs in 2014, Jennifer K. Mann’s debut as both author and illustrator, I knew I’d found an author-illustrator whose books I’d want to keep an eye on. This book (and Jennifer’s next two books) was right in touch, and authentically so, with the topsy-turvy, always intense feelings of young children. In Two Speckled Eggs, Mann addresses the drama that can be a young girl’s birthday party — issues of inclusion, individuality, and (as the Publisher Weekly review notes) “geek pride.” And in last year’s I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard, she sensitively addresses teacher-student dynamics and the vulnerabilities of children in the care of adults in a classroom. This year’s Sam and Jump, released in May, is a tender story of loyalties forged and friendship found.
I invited Jennifer over for a cyber-breakfast to hear more about her work and see a bit more art. Her favorite breakfast is toast, spread with a little chipotle puree, mashed avocado, a fried egg, and a little sea salt. (This sounds so good to me that right about now I am wishing this were a real breakfast.)
Let’s get the basics from her while I set the table for breakfast. I thank her for visiting.