Short Version: 

Jess Townes is the author of several forthcoming picture books. A lifelong storyteller, Jess has worked in public education, non-profit development, birth and lactation services, as a freelance writer and an actress, but her favorite part of any job is the connections she builds with other people. She believes that there is no better path to those connections than through our stories. Jess lives outside St. Louis with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and a fifty-pound lap dog. 

Jess is represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill of Red Fox Literary Agency.

Long Version: 

I fell in love with stories as a child. During my earliest years in Ohio, I memorized the illustrations of Richard Scarry’s world and reread There’s a Monster at the End of the Book so many times the pages fell out. In elementary school in Mississippi, I fell in love with Ramona Quimby, devoured The Babysitters Club books, and read everything by Judy Blume that I could get my hands on. In middle school and high school in Missouri, scary stories captured my imagination and Christopher Pike and Stephen King kept me up past my bedtime. In college, I studied Spanish literature in Spain, and fell in love with magical realism. My earliest years were forever changed by the worlds inside the covers of books.

After college I moved to Texas, and a funny thing happened. I was invited to join book clubs and began reading “grown-up books” for the discussions. As much as I enjoyed those books, I missed the heart and magic of children’s literature. I started to revisit my old favorites. Later in Wisconsin, my first child was born. Reading picture books to my babies felt like coming home. 

I am thrilled to come full circle to write for children, whose worlds and feelings and hopes and dreams I have never forgotten. I consider it a profound privilege to be a part of a child’s reading life. 

Besides reading and writing, I love to travel, garden (I keep a backyard garden, a hydroponic garden, and a fairy garden), play the ukulele, attend and occasionally perform in musical theater, birdwatch, and bake. More than anything, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I live outside of St. Louis with my favorite ukulele partner/husband, two inspiring teenagers, two curious cats, and a fifty-pound lap dog. 

My Mom Mom, who was a children’s book author and an early inspiration to my writing life, reading to me and my brother.

Short Version: 

Jess Townes is the author of several forthcoming picture books. A lifelong storyteller, Jess has worked in public education, non-profit development, birth and lactation services, as a freelance writer and an actress, but her favorite part of any job is the connections she builds with other people. She believes that there is no better path to those connections than through our stories. Jess lives outside St. Louis with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and a fifty-pound lap dog. 

Jess is represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill of Red Fox Literary Agency.

Long Version: 

I fell in love with stories as a child. During my earliest years in Ohio, I memorized the illustrations of Richard Scarry’s world and reread There’s a Monster at the End of the Book so many times the pages fell out. In elementary school in Mississippi, I fell in love with Ramona Quimby, devoured The Babysitters Club books, and read everything by Judy Blume that I could get my hands on. In middle school and high school in Missouri, scary stories captured my imagination and Christopher Pike and Stephen King kept me up past my bedtime. In college, I studied Spanish literature in Spain, and fell in love with magical realism. My earliest years were forever changed by the worlds inside the covers of books.

After college I moved to Texas, and a funny thing happened. I was invited to join book clubs and began reading “grown-up books” for the discussions. As much as I enjoyed those books, I missed the heart and magic of children’s literature. I started to revisit my old favorites. Later in Wisconsin, my first child was born. Reading picture books to my babies felt like coming home. 

I am thrilled to come full circle to write for children, whose worlds and feelings and hopes and dreams I have never forgotten. I consider it a profound privilege to be a part of a child’s reading life. 

Besides reading and writing, I love to travel, garden (I keep a backyard garden, a hydroponic garden, and a fairy garden), play the ukulele, attend and occasionally perform in musical theater, birdwatch, and bake. More than anything, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I live outside of St. Louis with my favorite ukulele partner/husband, two inspiring teenagers, two curious cats, and a fifty-pound lap dog. 

My Mom Mom, who was a children’s book author and an early inspiration to my writing life, reading to me and my brother.