Jane Kurtz was born in Portland, Oregon, but when she was two years old, her parents moved to Ethiopia. Jane grew up in Maji, a small town in the southwest corner of the country.
Since there were no televisions, radios, or movies, her memories are of climbing mountains, wading in rivers by the waterfalls, listening to stories, and making up her own stories, which she and her sisters acted out for days at a time.
By the time Jane came back to the United States for college, she felt there was no way to talk about her childhood home to Americans. It took nearly twenty years to finally find a way - through words and stories. Now she often speaks in schools and at conferences, talking about the writing and revision process and how she uses memories, observation, and research to create her books.
Jane has published more than 30 books, fiction, nonfiction, picture books, novels for young readers, and ready-to-reads.Some are based on her childhood in Ethiopia.Some draw on her own children, such as ANNA WAS HERE, a novel for young readers that asks life's big questions about pain and disaster—and offers a few puny answers.
Since her childhood in Ethiopia, Jane has lived in Illinois, Colorado, North Dakota, Kansas and—now—back in Portland, Oregon.