• Award-winning author, storyteller, speaker and educator Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. Barbara Jean, the Story Queen, has published eight picture books including MONSTERS DON’T EAT BROCCOLI, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER KITTY and JITTERBUG JAM. Her most recent title is the independently published ONCE UPON A PARSNIP. She is also the author of A SISTER MORE LIKE ME and AN AMAZING SNOWMAN, both commissioned by Disney as tie-ins to their Oscar-winning animated feature film, FROZEN.

    Barbara has taught at the preschool, middle school and community college levels and worked in an elementary school as author-in-residence, program facilitator and parent educator. She has also written adult novels and marketing copy and edited manuscripts for numerous trade publishers. While her home base is in Northwest Washington state, she travels extensively to deliver her highly rated Young Author and Family Literacy programs to students, teachers and parents throughout the United States.

    “Barbara Jean, the Story Queen”


  • Everything I know about writing, I learned from my cat.

    Look, leap and learn. If you’ve ever had a cat in your life, you know what I mean. My favorite cat, Miguel, was curious by nature. He had a nose for adventure, leaping into the unknown like an old-world explorer, learning along the way. And he had the scars to prove it.

    A writer, too, is a curious creature, always sniffing about for new ideas. Observing, reading, eavesdropping. Haunting favorite places and exploring new ones. Paying attention.

    For me, starting a story or poem is always an adventure, a leap into the unknown. I might start out with a curious bit of dialogue, or a vivid description, or a word or phrase that tickles my funny bone. Before I have any real idea where I’m going, I’m on my way. I let the writing take me wherever it wants to. Unlike some of my writer friends, I’m a seat-of-the-pants-er more than a planner. It’s the way creativity works for me.

    A writer learns by doing. There’s no substitute. It’s only after I’ve plunged into a project that I begin to find out what it’s really about. The act of writing teaches me what my poem or story is, and how it wants to be told, and why it matters. Slowly. Rewrite after rewrite. Not very efficient, I’m afraid. Messy. Unpredictable. Fun!

    Miguel, my cat, my darling, my muse, taught me everything I need to know to be a writer:

    Be curious.
    Be courageous.
    Figure it out on the way.

    “Barbara Jean, the Story Queen”

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