Home > Free Essays > Literature > Writers > Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature

Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Apr 30th, 2022

Often, knowing a little bit about an author’s background can provide valuable information to the reader about their intentions and major themes as they are illustrated through the pages of their books. This understanding can be even more important when one is using these books as a teaching tool, as many children’s writers are. Although their books are often short and full of illustrations, this does not indicate children’s books lack important themes and messages. One popular children’s writer who retains a consistent theme through much of her work is Jan Brett. With at least 15 original titles of her own creation covering topics ranging from outer space to cloud forests to barnyard animals, Jan Brett illustrates her books with exquisite detail both in storyline and images which communicate her themes of environmentalism and world knowledge.

It can be said that Brett’s career truly started when she was a child and decided she wanted to grow up to become an illustrator and spent much of her time studying art of all kinds. “By the time she was six years old, she knew she wanted to be a children’s book illustrator. She was shy as a child and liked to use her drawings as a way to express herself” (Elmore & Ramsey, 2000). To begin her career, Brett went to Colby Junior College in Massachusetts from 1968 to 1969 and then moved on to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School in 1970. By 1981, she had produced her first book created completely by herself, which was entitled “Fritz and the Beautiful Horses” in which she was both author and illustrator. In an interview with PBS, Brett said reading was important and encouraged in her home as a child, that she was mostly just carrying on the family tradition. “My grandfather and father were great storytellers, and every night my mother would read a story to my sister and me. Not every child has that experience, and it makes such a difference. I have lots of happy memories from being read to, and lots more happy memories from reading together with my daughter … Reading to a child gives you a great springboard to share your values without preaching” (“Author Focus”, 2007). She described how the process of reading itself, including some indication of emotion or judgment, could communicate a great deal of morality to a child and illustrates how important it is to her to include such ideas in her writing.

Now she lives not far from where she grew up, residing in the seaside village of Norwell, Massachusetts, which is described as “an historic area on the South Shore” (Elmore & Ramsey, 2000). In the summertime, Brett reportedly spends a good deal of time in the mountains with her family, which is where she does most of the work on her books. In addition, she does a lot of traveling with her husband, who performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has been to many exotic places around the world. It is from these travels that she gleans many of her ideas for her books and illustrations as well as her source for the many folktales she retells through her illustrations. “She uses some of her experiences in her writing. She also uses libraries to do research on the things about which she is writing” (Elmore & Ramsey, 2000). With all her careful attention to detail, it reportedly “takes her about a year to finish one book” (Elmore & Ramsey, 2000).

Her work demonstrates her love for animals even as it captures a wide range of human emotion in both text and images. Her study of animals continues even when she’s on vacation. “When I’m traveling, I observe everything very closely, and take it all in. I don’t like to take photographs, so my husband takes photographs for me. The picture of the lion that Noah’s granddaughter is snuggled up to in On Noah’s Ark is based on a real lion that was just five feet away from us. I will be going back to Africa, to do more research for an upcoming book that I’m developing that will have an African child as the main character” (“Author Focus”, 2007). Other books also focus upon the actions of animals and focus on how delicate and amazing the environment really is.

In addition to writing books, Brett also feels it is important to share with children her joy in creating the books. She presents several excerpts that describe her creative process, such as what she was thinking when she created Berloiz the Bear. “This is what happened. I was listening to a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. … While I was watching, Joe and all the double basses began to play loudly. I thought ‘that is a large instrument, really huge. Something could fit right inside” (Brett, 2007). As she walks through the process of how she envisioned the story during an evening spent watching her husband’s performance, she imbues the narrative with a great deal of excitement and imagination, making the process just as exciting as the story itself.

Jan Brett’s stories, focused as they are on animals and the environment, continue to stress the importance of taking care of the environment and the amazing experience of being alive. She gives her stories a wide range of emotional appeal and explores numerous imaginative directions that illustrate how small people can make big differences in the world around them. Knowing this about her helps teachers understand the importance of the connection between illustration and story and story and author.

Works Cited

  1. “Author Focus: Jan Brett and Jan Yolen.” Reading and Language Articles. (2007). PBS Parents.
  2. Brett, Jan. . (2007). Web.
  3. Elmore, Susanna & Ramsey, Inez. “Biography.” Jan Brett: Teacher Resource File. Internet School Library Media Center, 2000.
This research paper on Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, April 30). Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, April 30). Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/

Work Cited

"Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature." IvyPanda, 30 Apr. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/.

1. IvyPanda. "Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature." April 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature." April 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature." April 30, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jan-brett-boigraphy-career-and-themes-in-literature/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Jan Brett: Boigraphy, Career and Themes in Literature'. 30 April.

Powered by CiteTotal, free essay referencing tool
More related papers