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Jean Alicia Elster (1953-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

joe call press forge

Born 1953; Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1971; University of Detroit, J.D.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Correspondence, Judson Press, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.

Career

Writer, 1990—. Has practiced law in Michigan and worked as an editor for Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA.

Member

State Bar of Michigan, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Residency fellowships, Ragdale Foundation, 2001 and 2003; Governor's Emerging Artist Award, ArtServe Michigan, 2002.

Writings

"JOE JOE IN THE CITY" SERIES Just Call Me Joe Joe, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 2001.

I Have a Dream, Too!, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 2002.

I'll Fly My Own Plane, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 2002.

I'll Do the Right Thing, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, Judson Press (Valley Forge, PA), 2003.

Jean Alicia Elster

Contributor to magazines, including World Vision, Christian Science Sentinel, and Ms.

Sidelights

Jean Alicia Elster has felt called to be an author since she was six years old. Although trained as an attorney, she has chosen to write children's books especially addressing

Young African-American Joe Joe must stand up for himself and he gains courage from reading about the heroes of the early black baseball leagues. (From Just Call Me Joe Joe, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell.)

the issues of minority youngsters. Her "Joe Joe in the City" series features an African American boy named Joe Joe who seeks guidance not only from his loving parents, but also from famous African American figures who he reads about in books. In Just Call Me Joe Joe, for instance, a white store owner accuses Joe Joe of vandalism, and Joe Joe—who is innocent—must work out his anger at being the victim of racism. Inspiration comes from a book about the Negro Leagues and the career of baseball star Cool Papa Bell.

Elster told the Associated Press that she wrote Just Call Me Joe Joe after realizing that her own son was growing up and would occasionally be judged in a prejudicial way. She wanted to create characters and situations in fiction that could give minority children—not just African Americans, but Asians and Arab Americans as well—strategies to preserve their self-esteem. A Publishers Weekly reviewer of Just Call Me Joe Joe praised Elster for her aims, noting that the book "addresses a genuine need" and that families can use it for "reinforcement" in values education.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Publishers Weekly, September 17, 2001, David Waters, "Jean Elster: For and About Boys," pp. S22-S23; February 25, 2002, review of Just Call Me Joe Joe, p. 63.

School Library Journal, January, 2002, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Just Call Me Joe Joe, p. 98.

ONLINE

Morning Sun, http://www.morningsun.net/ (March 7, 2002), Alexandra R. Moses, "Books Offer Minority Viewpoint."

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