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Meet the New Director

October 10, 2012

Interim Director of the Center for Children’s Literature Jenny Brown with author/illustrator Jon Klassen

Jennifer M. Brown has been in children’s books for more than twenty-five years. In addition to having been an elementary schoolteacher, Jenny was a children’s book editor at HarperCollins and Pleasant Company, and was children’s reviews editor at Publishers Weekly for ten years. Jenny currently writes for School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, and is children’s editor of Shelf Awareness, an e-newsletter for the publishing trade and consumers. With her appointment to the position of interim director of the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature, she feels she has come full circle.

When Jenny began her career at what was then Harper & Row, the legendary editor Ursula Nordstrom had physically left the building, but her presence lingered, as did the stories about her and the extraordinary talents she nurtured and cultivated. One of the most oft-repeated concerned author Ruth Krauss. Krauss lived in fear that her students would grow up to read A Hole Is to Dig and realize that the author had simply jotted down comments overheard at the Harriet Johnson Nursery School–the laboratory preschool of Bank Street’s precursor the Bureau of Educational Experiments. Krauss’s book launched Maurice Sendak’s career as a children’s book illustrator and also a “lifelong mentorship,” as Sendak referred to his friendship with Krauss, and Krauss’s husband, Crockett Johnson.

Jenny’s first boss and lifelong mentor, William C. (“Bill”) Morris, introduced her to many of the most innovative librarians and teachers in the nation, and through her work on award and service committees, Jenny has forged connections to schools and libraries nationwide.

In 2009, Jenny started Twenty by Jenny because her friends, family members–even people she’d just met–asked her for book recommendations for the young people in their lives. Children’s books are her passion, which she cultivates in her five nieces and nephews (she is still working on her husband Pat). Jenny is a graduate of Princeton University.
She lives in New York City.

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