Bebe Jenkins grew up loving stories and reading. Some of her favorite books were ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, ‘Charlotte’s Web’, and ‘Harriet the Spy’. She loved how Harriet carried a little notebook with her and took notes about interesting things she saw in her neighborhood. Bebe started carrying a notebook and writing down interesting things she saw in her neighborhood when she was growing up in Brantford, Ontario. She still carries her notebook to write down ideas for her stories.
When Bebe grew up she lived in Alberta, North Carolina, and Missouri, where she acquired a Master’s degree in English. She is currently pursuing a degree in Education while continuing to write stories. She’s written A Pig in A Tub, Zahara’s Move, and Finding Leif’s Heart for Runley, and is working on more stories for our series.
At a recent school reading of her story Zahara’s Move, the students asked the following of Bebe:
Why do you write stories?
I write stories because I love it. It’s fun to use my imagination and try to think up ideas about different characters and situations they might find themselves in and how they solve their problems. Try it – you’ll see how much fun it is!
How did you come up with this story?
A few years ago I was moving to a new city and thinking about leaving my old friends and having to make new friends. While we were driving to the new city, I heard a podcast about an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee where elephants went to retire, and I wondered how they felt about moving. That’s how the idea for Zahara’s Move started.
Why is the setting at the zoo?
A zoo is a great setting for a story because there are so many different kinds of animals to write about, and all sorts of problems the animals and zookeepers could have to solve.
Why did you choose to have Zahara move?
When my family and I visited the St Louis Zoo, it had just expanded and they had moved some of the animals around. A baby elephant had just been born and we were able to see her. It was an unforgettable, moving experience. That experience, along with my own move, just seemed to come together in Zahara’s Move.
Where do the ideas for your other books originate?
I love the classic Fairy Tales so when I had the idea for Leif’s journey, I borrowed a couple characters from them: a goat from Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. And I also used the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Ideas are everywhere and it’s okay to borrow them to create your own original stories.
I wanted to write a story about an animal who was different from everyone in his family. I thought about how pigs love to cool off in mud, and I wondered, what if there was a pig who didn’t like mud? What would he do? And A Pig in A Tub was born.