Introducing Author Jen Fier Jasinski!
Today we'd like to take a moment to introduce you to one of our star creatives, Jen Fier Jasinski: author of My Piano and our newly acquired title, Sidewalk Chalk. Jen's book, My Piano, was our first title to receive a starred review from School Library Journal and we couldn't be more proud of her and illustrator, Anita Bagdi, for landing that well-deserved praise.
Our Conversation with Jen:
GRP: Hi, Jen! Welcome to our blog. We'd love for you to start by telling us a little more about yourself.
I live outside of Washington, D.C. with one husband, two toddlers, three pianos, and piles of picture books.
I have a B.A. in Environmental Thought and Practice and a M.Ed in Special Education from the University of Virginia. For more than ten years I taught in both the United States and New Zealand, where I worked as a classroom teacher, assistive technology specialist, and teacher mentor. I loved teaching and my favorite part of each school day was Story Time.
Now I spend my days with my daughters, learning through play and forming countless picture book ideas. My spouse is a jazz pianist, so our home is filled with songs and stories. I am thrilled my debut book, MY PIANO reflects this.
Aside from family and writing life, I love running and playing outside. The best days are ones where I can spend time moving in nature, then reading with a plate of mac n’ cheese (and cake)!
GRP: Well, we can see why you were the perfect person to write My Piano! And who doesn't love mac n' cheese with cake? One of our favorite combos. Tell us a little more about what inspired you to write this story.
My husband is a pianist and piano teacher. I often joke our house doesn’t have a couch, but we have a grand piano! It fills our home with music, occupying a full room and many hours.
Despite the time and space the instrument takes up, years passed before I really explored it. I happened to be home when our piano tuner came and I finally looked under the lid. Wow! I was fascinated by her tools, her skill, and how the parts interconnect and together create resounding music. I wondered to myself “If I can spend so much time around a piano without ever exploring its parts, maybe others are missing out, too?” My critique group happened to be completing a challenge that month to write a story in cumulative structure, and the idea for MY PIANO hit the right note!
20+ drafts and four versions later, I landed on a rhyming verse piece with a secondary story of a girl preparing for a recital.
And we're so glad you did! We love this book. What are your favorite moments in the book?
My favorite moments in the book are the recital performance spreads. I love how Anita Bagdi vivified the music and I think her superpower is portraying light. I also love looking at the varied characters in the audience.
We agree. Anita's illustrations bring so much emotion to the story. This book has many enticing hooks, can you talk a little bit about what it offers to readers?
MY PIANO contains STEAM layers from both musical and engineering perspectives. It also features social emotional learning connections. The main character has to manage adrenaline and anxiety as she prepares for and then performs her recital piece. Backmatter includes tips for a successful piano performance, making this a great gift for someone about to give their own recital! I hope this book will appeal to music students, teachers and music enthusiasts alike.
Thank you, Jen, for taking the time to answer our questions. We can't wait to see more from you. Sidewalk Chalk releases Fall 2025.