Picture book author Jim Aylesworth tells
his stories with generous doses of loud sounds, rhythms and
rhymes. His experiences as a teacher have taught him that these
are the elements children like in a story, especially when it is
being read aloud. So, in Hanna's Hog, Aylesworth includes a loud
hog call, in The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock, he offers
numerous bouncy nonsensical rhymes, in Country Crossing, the
sounds of the still countryside and a train passing fill the
night, and in Old Black Fly, a repetitious, rhythmic chant
follows a pesky fly in its journey through a house.
Jim Aylesworth is a native of Jacksonville, Florida but he lived in
many places during his childhood. By the time Aylesworth was 15
his family had settled in Hinsdale, Illinois and that is where
he graduated from high school in 1961. In 1965, he graduated
from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in English. He
returned to Hinsdale and began a career as a stockbroker. By
1970, however, Aylesworth was thinking about what he really
wanted to do. After a series of assignments as a substitute
teacher, Aylesworth ended up in a primary classroom. He began
teaching first grade students in Oak Park, Illinois in 1971 and
entered Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois, to earn a
graduate degree in elementary education -- a goal he reached in
1978. During the years Aylesworth taught he was given several
awards. In 1975 the Illinois State Board of Education named him
among "Those Who Excel," and in 1984 he was named a "Governor's
Master Teacher." The following year he was named Corcordia
University's "Alumnus of the Year." In 1998 Hinsdale High School
named him to their Hall of Fame. He has been honored in several
years with an entry in Who's Who Among America's Teachers.
But during all those years it was his work with children who
brought him the most reward. It was Aylesworth's experiences as
a teacher that eventually led him to writing children's books.
His students' enjoyment of his stories encouraged him to persist
in pursuing his dream of being a children's book writer. It was
in the classroom that he realized the power of books. He says,
"I have seen a room full of children sit still and pay attention
to a good book when it may be the first time they've been still
at the same time all day."
During his twenty-five years of teaching Aylesworth read
hundreds of books to his young students. Aylesworth found
himself wanting to be a bigger part of this world of children's
stories. And so he decided to write his own books, and has stuck
with this goal ever since. During his quest to be published he
collected many rejection letters. But his students encouraged
him and told him to follow his own advice -- "Never give up!"
Finally, his first work, Hush Up!, was published in 1980.
"Writing children's books," he says, "is my way of being the
teacher beyond the walls of my classroom for children that I may
|All of Aylesworth's stories,
whether filled with sounds of a country night or catchy
rhymes, find their way back to his inspiration - the
young children who read them.
Jim Aylesworth and his wife Donna raised two sons in Hinsdale. In 1996,
Aylesworth decided to write and visit schools full-time.
The Aylesworths moved to Chicago where Jim continues to
write. He travels extensively to speak to children in
schools and at book events across the United States.
Visit Jim's web site at
Hush Up! Illustrated
by Glen Rounds. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1980
The Night. Illustrated by John Wallner.
Albert Whitman, 1981
Illustrated by Richard Egielski. Holt, Rinehart &
Siren In The Night.
Illustrated by Tom Centola. Albert Whitman, 1983
The Bad Dream.
Illustrated by Judith Friedman. Albert Whitman, 1985
Illustrated by Glen Rounds. Holt, Rinehart &
Two Terrible Frights.
Illustrated by Eileen Christelow. Atheneum, 1987
One Crow. Illustrated
by Ruth Young. HarperCollins, 1988
Illustrated by Glen Rounds. Atheneum, 1988
Mother Halverson's New Cat.
Illustrated by Toni Goffe. Atheneum, 1989
Mr. McGill Goes to Town.
Illustrated by Thomas Graham. Henry Holt, 1989
Completed Hickory Dickory Dock.
Illustrated by Eileen Christelow. Atheneum, 1990.
Crossing. Illustrated by Ted Rand.
in the Valley. Illustrated by Stefano
Vitale. HarperCollins, 1991.
Black Fly. Illustrated by Stephen
Gammell. Henry Holt, 1992.
The Cat & The Fiddle & More.
Illustrated by Richard Hull. Atheneum, 1992
The Good-Night Kiss.
Illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. Atheneum, 1993
John. Illustrated by David Frampton.
Henry Holt, 1994.
Emporium. Illustrated by Mavis Smith.
Henry Holt, 1995.
Wake Up, Little Children.
Illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. Atheneum, 1996
Sister's Rusty Bike. Illustrated by
Richard Hull. Atheneum, 1996.
Bear Tears. Illustrated by JoEllen
McAllister-Stammen. Atheneum, 1997.
Gingerbread Man. Illustrated by Barbara
McClintock. Scholastic Press, 1998.
Aylesworth's Book of Bedtime Stories.
Illustrated by JoEllen McAllister-Stammen, Walter
Lyon Krudop, and Eileen Christelow. Atheneum, 1998.
Through The Night. Illustrated by Pamela
Patrick. Atheneum, 1998.
Pitty Patty's Piggy. Illustrated by
Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, 1999.
Full Belly Bowl. Illustrated by
Anderson Halperin. Atheneum, 1999.
Tale of Tricky Fox. Illustrated by
Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press, 2001.
Burger and the Hot Dog. Illustrated by
Stephen Gammell. Atheneum, 2002.
Naughty Little Monkeys. Illustrated by
Henry Cole. Dutton, 2003.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, 2003.
Jim Aylesworth and YOU. With Jennifer K.
Rotole. Libraries Unlimited, 2005.