publications

Children's books by Jo Ann

Jo Ann's writing focuses on events in Hawaii as well as other stories that have ties to Hawaii.

Puanani and the Volcano is a Montaigne Medal Finalist!

Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award presents the Montaigne Medal to the most thought-provoking books. These are books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought. The Montaigne Medal is given in honor of the great French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who influenced people such as William Shakespeare, René Descartes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Eric Hoffer. This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric Hoffer Award umbrella.

Eric Hoffer US Review of Books
hawaiian island adventures #1

Puanani & the Volcano

by Jo Ann Jeffries, Sierra Tabor (Editor), Worlds Beyond Art (Illustrator)

Kilauea's eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii affected an elementary school girl Puanani. It is her encouraging this meaningful story that shows Puanani turning her feelings of helplessness about the lava flowing into the ocean into a dogged determination to save as much sea life as possible—especially the turtles. Her persistence inspires her family and canoe club to help her in the quest to make beaches and shorelines a cleaner and safer place for the animals and people who love them.

*Published: March 2, 2020
*Pages: 68
*Price: $16.95 Perfect Bound 
*Price:  $9.99 Ebook
*Trim Size:
6 x 9
*Binding:
Perfect Bound
ISBN: 978-1-949711-05-9 Perfect Bound
ISBN: 978-1-949711-06-6 Ebook

Editorial Reviews

After the 2018 eruption of the Kilauea volcano, a young girl organizes a beach cleanup in this debut illustrated chapter book for kids ages 5 to 8.

Puanani, a brown-skinned Hawaiian elementary schooler who loves turtles, is feeling nervous about giving a science presentation to her class. Then a mysterious earthquake interrupts the day’s lessons. After the students emerge from under their desks, school ends for the day. Puanani and her brother, Kua, learn from the night’s news reports that Kilauea is erupting and sending lava into the sea. Both of them are afraid until their parents talk with them about how to stay safe if another earthquake strikes. Puanani gives her science presentation without a hitch the next day, but she’s sad when a park ranger at Volcano Park later tells her that Kilauea’s lava kills sea life, including the turtles she loves, as it spills into the sea. She’s also unhappy to hear that people cause more harm to the sea than volcanoes—she wants turtles and other creatures to have “a clean place to live”—and sees refuse like fish hooks and partial fishnets along a shoreline that she and her family visit. Puanani begins to pick up trash and eventually gets help from her parents and a hui wa’a (canoe club) after she plucks up the nerve to speak to its board. Young readers interested in sea life and volcanic activity will appreciate paragraphs detailing lava flow, and others may enjoy learning the italicized Hawaiian words that occur throughout the text and are defined in a box at the beginning of each short chapter. Bright, full-color illustrations depict key scenes; most adults and children are shown with different shades of brown skin and dark hair.

For high drama, look elsewhere—but a diverse cast and contemporary setting set this book apart from other volcano books.
Kirkus Reviews
Puanani became her own hero in this book. She started as a shy girl who was scared of presenting a science presentation in front of her class. When disaster strikes and earthquakes begin to occur over and over again, Puanani had to overcome another fear. The book describes how earthquakes happen and why. It also is a touching story of a young girl who stands up for what she believes in.
Ashley Guerrero
NetGalley Reviewer
I think this is a great book for young people who feel they are too helpless to do anything in their local communities, yet care about the world and people around them. What I also like about the book is that in each opening chapter, it prepares the reader for Hawaiian terms that will be used in it. Great—especially for young environmentalists!
Chidi Onyekwere
NetGalley Reviewer
This was super cute. The illustrations are simple, but fun, and go with the story well. I loved how it showed how one person can really make a difference when they care about something. And I liked the Hawaiian vocab thrown in too!
Jini Clausen
NetGalley Reviewer

Have You Seen Tucker?

by Jo Ann Jeffries

A young girl has lost her pet cat, Tucker, and sets out to find him around her rural home in Idaho. She runs across many other animals out in the wilderness and asks them about her cat. Great book for young animal lovers!

*Published: March 2021
*Pages: 28
*Price: $18.95 Perfect Bound 
*Price: $24.95 Hardback 
*Price:  $9.99 Ebook
*Trim Size:
11 x 8.5
*Binding:
Perfect Bound 
ISBN: 978-1-949711-39-4 Perfect Bound
ISBN: 978-1-949711-40-0 Ebook

Editorial Reviews

A girl searches for her beloved cat in this picture book.

When Mary can’t find Tucker, her black-and-white feline, Grandma suggests she look outside. The girl visits the meadow,the garden, and even the woods. But Tucker remains missing. Mary encounters wild animals, including birds, a squirrel,and a deer. She asks the critters if they have seen Tucker, but nobody has. In the garden, a mouse suggests that shesearch inside the house. Though doubtful, Mary heads inside and is thrilled to spot Tucker asleep on the rug. She hugs thecat and says: “Now we can play!” Jeffries’ tale features a scenario that pet owners will relate to. Young readers will enjoythe outdoor locales and assorted creatures. The endmatter includes a page titled “How To Find Your Lost Cat” with advicelike “Put out food at your cat’s normal feeding time and call your cat’s name.” There is also a useful list called “How To Bea Responsible Cat Owner” with such tips as “Train your cat to come to the sound of treats or your voice.” Barac’s paintedillustrations portray Mary with light skin and brown hair and offer realistic depictions. The outdoor scenes, such as thegarden with bright blooming plants and flowers in a rainbow of colors and textures, are especially lovely. Indoor images areextremely detailed, with highlights including a patterned rug and Grandma’s kitchen stocked with baking supplies.

A beautifully illustrated cat story with helpful tips for feline owners.
Kirkus Reviews

Astronaut Kids

by Jo Ann Jeffries and Lukas Kaiolohia Bob

NASA has begun an exciting new project— sending kids to space! Only a handful of bright, young scientific minds have been selected to go on the two-year mission, and Kai is one of them. He and the other four young astronauts will get to learn how to live in a space station, work with the most innovative new technologies, perform their own research, and even visit other planets. Two years is a long time to be away from Earth, and there’s a lot that could go wrong, but the Astronaut Kids are ready for the challenge!