JENNIFER BERNE BIOGRAPHY

Born in New York City. A great place to grow up.

Spent endless hours and days in the zoos, the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium.

(At night, in my bedroom, I had a little blue plastic globe with a light in it that projected stars on the ceiling, so I brought the wonders of the Planetarium home with me.)

Saw “The Red Shoes” and became consumed with dance fever. Joined George Balanchine’s American School of Ballet, and danced in “The Nutcracker” at City Center.

Performed in several children’s theater groups – always loving to dance and to paint sets, but too shy to speak lines.

From the time before I could pen letters and words, I wrote. I would say to my mother, “I have a poem,” which meant I would compose and recite and she would take dictation - and a stream of poems would end up on paper.

After graduating from Rudolf Steiner (a wonderful, creative school), I studied art and design at Parsons School of Design. And put together a self-constructed, eclectic mix of studies at The New School for Social Research.

In the mid 60s I worked for Andy Warhol at “The Factory.” Did everything from silk-screening to ordering the horse for the movie “Horse.” Got paid by being taken to dinners and parties. (Life was good.)

After years of studying art, I became an advertising copywriter.

Advertising, in those days, was fun and exciting. And a great way to learn how to get into people’s minds and write short, focused, purposeful and entertaining pieces – in one-page and 30-second formats. Won many awards and wrote one of my most enduring campaigns: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

On the side, I taught advertising writing at the School of Visual Arts.

In 1977 I bought a beautiful piece of farmland 110 miles north of NYC and fell in love with the countryside and with architecture. Designed and built my own home in the rolling hills of Columbia County. My balance began to shift from city to country.

Became a freelance copywriter in 1980. (A great way to make money and still have time to pursue personal passions.)

Met Nick, now my husband, in 1981 – a creative, adventuresome art director with a love for the sea. By 1989 we had a sailboat built, the interior of which we designed ourselves, and set off for 2 years living aboard, with our cat, spending summers in Maine and winters in the Bahamas. (An adventure full of sky, sea, beautiful places to explore, lobsters, shrimp and people who weren’t New Yorkers.)

Back to advertising in 1991. Continued working on all manner of products from financial, to medical, to consumer goods, and toys and foods for the children’s market.

New passions developed – or, actually, old ones grew stronger. While most people were in bed at night reading novels, or watching commercials on TV, I was curled up reading about biology, zoology, geology, physics, cosmology. About bacteria, viruses, DNA, time and space, evolution and the formation of the stars and the planets.

I began to write about the universe I had always loved.

I remembered the animals and stars that used to thrill me as a child. And my children’s writing was born. There was everything in the universe to write about, and wonderful forms with which to write it. I knew what I wanted to do.

Since then I have been a regular contributor to Nick Jr. Magazine, and I have been writing children’s books about the subjects and people I find most fascinating. And, happily, I have been getting some great reviews and winning a few awards along the way.