Jan Slepian grew up in three of New York City's five boroughs;
Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. She attended Brooklyn College, where she received
a degree in psychology and went on to do graduate work in clinical psychology and
speech pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle. When she moved back to
the east coast, Jan worked for a time as a speech therapist in the language clinic of the
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A few months later, Slepian met her
mathematician husband, David. They were married in Paris, and "spent five idyllic
months there and thereabouts. When we returned from Europe, we settled in New Jersey."
About Jan Slepian
An Interview with Jan Slepian
More About Jan Slepian
Jan Slepian began her writing career when she and a colleague, Dr. Ann Seidler,
wrote a series of articles devoted to common speech problems. "We wrote about ten of
these and sent them off to a syndicated newspaper column called 'Parents Ask.' To our
delighted surprise, they were accepted and published.: Thereafter, Slepian and Seidler,
collaborated on a a series of picture books called The Listen-Hear Books, all
dealing with some aspect of speech. The Hungry Thing from this series, and its
sequels, The Hungry Thing Returns and The Hungry Thing Goes to a
Restaurant remain popular favorites.
In the late seventies, when the Slepian family was on its way to its alternate home in
Hawaii, the Slepians spent a few months in Berkeley, California. There, Jan took a class
in children's literature which introduced her to the adolescent novel. It was at this point
that Slepian decided to call upon her life's experiences and write fiction for young people.
The most prominent force behind this decision was her brother, Alfred. "I had no
intention in the world of writing about what it was like growing up with a handicapped
brother. I only wanted to tell as true a made-up story as I could about what he was like in
his hey-day, when he was young." The Alfred Summer went on to earn critical
recognition such as being nominated for American Book Award, as well as becoming and
Honor Book for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.
Jan Slepian and her husband now live full-time in New Jersey. They have three
grown children and are grandparents. "I swim, travel, hunt mushrooms, read, play with
my friends and spend my worst and best times at my computer writing books," Slepian
copyright ? 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
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