BCBA Author Spotlight: Jerdine Nolen

Jerdine Nolen’s first experience with seeing her name in print happened when she was a young girl in second grade. She had written a holiday poem about Thanksgiving that was published in her school’s newspaper. “It was printed on pink paper, and I still remember the joy I felt to see my name in print,” recalled Nolen. Like many writers, Jerdine Nolen fell in love with words early on in life. Her mother was keenly aware of her interest and encouraged her by giving her a used cigar box to store a cache of words she found interesting. Decades later—while working as an elementary school teacher—the idea for her hugely successful debut book, Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm, begin to develop. The first line, “Harvey Potter was a very strange fellow indeed,” came to her while she was doing housework. But it was nearly ten years before the book was published. Nolen, like Christopher Paul Curtis, was in her forties before becoming a first-time, published author.  Disney made the picture book into the television movie, Balloon Farm. Nolen has since written several more picture books, a middle grade historical fiction novel, and the Bradford Street Buddies early-reader series. Book reviewers consistently praise her for deftly combining fantasy, realism and humor with imaginative—yet believable—dialogue.

Nolen’s life’s motto is, “Hold fast to your dreams as you would your balloons!”




Stories connect us. Stories define us. The world turns on a story.

Jerdine Nolen

Sources/Additional Reading: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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