Made In South Milwaukee: Janet Halfmann


The latest in a regular series.

OK, so Janet Halfmann isn’t technically from here, but she’s lived here 25 years, and we’re proud to claim this terrific children’s book author as our own.

She has published dozens of books — including a number in the Brooks family collection — and her newest one (“Grandma is a Slowpoke”) is due out Feb. 15.

From her website

My mom says that I was always curled up reading a book. That’s probably why I majored in English at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. At some point, I also fell in love with Spanish, spent a summer in Spain, and graduated with a double major, with plans to teach.

But soon after I married, I saw an ad for a home-study course in children’s writing, enrolled, started writing, and was hooked. Becoming a published children’s author became my dream. Reading books to our kids became #1 on my list of favorite things to do. I had some success as a freelance writer, selling articles to magazines like Ranger Rick and Jack and Jill.

But I wanted to make a living as a writer, which took me on the following path:

Got another degree in journalism and moved to Wichita, Kansas, to be a reporter on a daily newspaper for three years (I loved writing feature stories, but hard news not so much).

Moved to Wisconsin to help start the national magazine, Country Kids–but the circulation didn’t grow fast enough and the job lasted less than two years.

Worked for twelve years creating coloring and activity books (Little Mermaid, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, Poky Little Puppy, and scores of others) for Golden Books in Racine, WI–a great job with wonderful coworkers!

In 1997, when Golden Books moved all of its operations to New York City and I lost my job, I returned to my original dream of being a children’s author.

I got my start on my dream by writing books for the Creative Company in Mankato, Minnesota. I visited the company for an informational interview before I decided to strike out on my own. Then when I made my decision, the company gave me the opportunity to write a series of insect books, and a children’s book author was born.

And we’re blessed to have her call South Milwaukee home.

Note: Janet will be at the South Milwaukee Spring Market at South Milwaukee High School Sunday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. She’ll also be at South Milwaukee Family Literacy Night


Filed under Local Business, South Milwaukee

2 responses to “Made In South Milwaukee: Janet Halfmann

  1. Melanie

    just a great author, my granddaughter LOVES all the books I have given her of Janets (especially the bats!)

  2. Thanks so much, Erik, for the wonderful story, and to all of South Milwaukee for your wonderful support of me and my books. Happy Reading to All!

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