"Be the Good" is a motto that Janet Wong tries to live by, whether it's cutting her hair to donate to cancer patients or creating a book where 100% of the profits go to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund. Trying to "be the good" was also the main reason that Janet quit her job as a lawyer: she couldn't think of anything more important than working with kids. But Janet was an occasional substitute teacher while she was studying at Yale Law School — and decided that she wouldn't survive in a school! Being a teacher is THE hardest job.
In her brief stint as a lawyer, Janet worked at Universal Studios Hollywood as Director of Labor Relations. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Radical Sabbatical, and CNN's Paula Zahn Show.
She is the author of 38 books for children and teens on a wide range of topics, from yoga to friendship to chess. As a literacy volunteer for two decades, she served on the NCTE Commission on Literature, the Children's Literature Assembly board and USBBY board, the IRA/ILA Notable Books for a Global Society committee and Literacy & Social Responsibility SIG, and the ALA/CBC Joint Committee (responsible for developing the Reading Beyond and Building a Home Library lists).
Janet's main interests at this time involve helping poets see their own writing in print. Programs created with Sylvia Vardell and Pomelo Books include Think Poetry (for students in Third Grade) and the Anthologies 101/201/301/401 courses (for adult poets).
Over the past 30 years, Janet has spoken at more than 1,000 venues all over the world — in person and via Zoom. On one very full day last year, Janet started with Zoom sessions in Madrid (Spain), followed by sessions for schools in New York City, Seattle, and Bangkok (Thailand). Janet speaks mainly to students, but also loves presenting to teachers, librarians, and writers, and has given keynotes and session talks for national organizations such as IRA/ILA, NCTE, ALA, and AWP, in addition to state organizations, many universities (especially to preservice teachers), and The Poetry Foundation.
Janet's first 21 books were published by established companies such as Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Harcourt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Candlewick, Charlesbridge, and Richard C. Owen Books. In 2012, Janet and children's literature professor Sylvia Vardell founded Pomelo Books, creating The Poetry Friday Anthology series and the Poetry Friday Power Book series, as well as books for school leaders.
Pomelo Books donates 100% of the profits for their THINGS WE series to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund; please take a few minutes to learn about these fundraiser books here.