Penny Holland, a Seattle native, graduated from Queen Anne High School and the University of Washington where she earned a degree in mathematics. After teaching junior high school math for three years in as many states, and then completing her Master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati, she moved back to Seattle and began her second career in museum education. Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Science and Industry and Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro, California were her classrooms.
Starting a family put teaching on hold, but Penny needed a creative outlet, so she began writing. Her first story for her first son, Christopher, explained the adoption process from a child’s point of view. When Chris’ artist-grandmother painted a fabulous set of illustrations for the adoption story, Penny believed they should be shared with others. This started her on the long road to publication. Several years later, Penny combined math and writing to come up with a series of eight easy-to-read computer books published by Franklin Watts. She also wrote and co-authored a number of educational books, textbooks, and articles. (The adoption book has not yet been published.)
Along with her writing, Penny also has pursued the elusive art of watercolors. Often during her life Penny tried her hand at art, but was usually frustrated. She believed that some people, such as her son Chris and his grandmother, were born with artistic talent. Penny was not. It was not until after Christopher’s untimely death in 1996 that Penny made a life-changing discovery. Going through Chris’ belongings, she came across the book, DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN. After trying some of the exercises, she finally realized that art is not just talent; it is also learning to see.
Since then, Penny has enjoyed taking art classes on Whidbey Island. As a member of Whidbey Allied Artists, she displays (and sometimes sells) her art in their annual show. “Baby Face” her painting of an alpaca won honorable mention in a miniature show last year in West Virginia. Says Penny, “It’s fun to experiment with art if you can relax and not believe that everything has to turn out just right.”
Penny has been a member of SCBWI since 1979 and currently belongs to a small critique group on Whidbey Island. She continues to write and is attempting to break into the children’s fiction market by specializing in easy readers and early chapter books.
This is a loose paraphrase of her favorite quote by Scott Adams:*
“CREATIVITY is allowing myself to make mistakes.
ART is knowing which ones to keep.”
*(Penny continues on her journey of figuring out which ones to keep)
Member since 1979
Region: Western Washington
Published In Children's Market:
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