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COLUMN: Children's literature author Jen Selinsky visited Bloomington


Indiana author Jen Selinsky participated in a book signing at Half Price Books Nov. 4 in Bloomington. Selinsky is the author of "Madness" and "Springtime in London."  Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Welcome to chapter 14 of the book column. On Nov. 4, Indiana author Jen Selinsky participated in a book signing at Half Price Books here in Bloomington. 

Selinsky’s books, “Runaway Choo-Choo” and “Me and Mommy” are two of her newest stories out of 170 published books. Selinksy’s work includes everything from poetry to children’s literature. She has even done work with adult coloring books.

“Runaway Choo-Choo” is about a young boy named Benny and his dog, Choo-Choo. One day, the dog is not there, and Benny must go on an adventure to find him. 

Selinsky’s new book is available at most major bookstores and Amazon. It is free with the Kindle Unlimited, so IU students with young cousins or siblings should look into Selinsky’s children’s books this holiday season.

“Most people know me for my poetry and children’s books,” Selinsky said.

Selinsky grew up in Pittsburgh where she said her vivid imagination sparked a love of writing. 

“Poetry entered my life, and it made me think that I might want to write for a living,”  said Selinsky. 

She graduated from Clarion University with a degree in English and library sciences. After graduating, Selinsky worked as a professional librarian for 11 years.

Today, Selinsky said she thinks more of herself as an author of multiple genres. 

“Writing children’s books is not as easy as everyone thinks.” Selinsky said. 

Her favorite part of the process is writing first drafts so she can flesh out ideas and characters. For example, in her book “Me and Mommy” the characters and family are fictional. 

However, Selinksy said the relationship between mother and child comes from her own life. The emotions are real. 

Many aspiring writers may not think of children’s literature as their first option. But we all gain our love of reading from somewhere.

The stories that make children begin a life-long habit of reading need authors like Selinsky.

IU offers a children’s literature class in the English department most semesters. Students learn the art of creating children’s stories, and they also read children's literature in this class, everything from classics to modern stories. 

It may seem odd to read children's stories from a literary-critical perspective, but the books today's children are reading train them for larger, more complicated works. They are written with the same literary ideas in mind. 

Children's literature must be entertaining to a young audience, teach an applicable lesson and embody the spirit of children’s literature that has survived for decades. 

Selinsky recently partnered with Pen It! Publications. With its help, she has grown her work and taken major steps in furthering her writing dreams. 

Part of furthering those dreams was Selinsky’s book signing in Bloomington. This signing has been her most recent, but she is no amateur when it comes to speaking publicly about her work. 

Selinsky has also lead an adult coloring book program at the Jeffersonville Public Library, read to patients at the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, and has been a judge for the Young Authors Night at the Corydon Intermediate School. 

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