Friday, February 3, 2012

Janice D. Green: Once a Kid, Still a Kid at Heart

Janice was once a kid. And her heart tells her she still is. She's at the perfect place for that!

When she was just a kid, she lived in northern Indiana. (And not far from where I grew up!)Most of that time she lived in a very small town or on a farm.  Later she moved to Tennessee (and I have family in Tennessee and lived there as a toddler,too.)

She went to college, got a job teaching, got married and had a daughter.  Now she has three grandchildren. And she was an  elementary school library media specialist for 16 years.She loved the library, but finally retired and now she is writing Bible  stories and making her own fabric pictures for children.

Let's find out about Janice's life as kid who grew up to be a kid who writes for kids!
Janice with her parents and 4/7 of her siblings when she was just a kid in Gary, Indiana (she is far left)
Childhood Ambition:  
 I wanted to sing on the radio. When we lived on the farm for three years (grades 2-4 for me) I rode a school bus to school. A friend sat with me on the bus and we sang and sang every morning. It was serious practice. Another friend taught me the song, "Let me go, Lover," from a magazine that had the lyrics of several popular songs in it. She taught another girl to sing "This Old House is Getting Shaky..." 

My brother told me I would have to practice for a hundred years before I would be able to sing well enough to sing on the radio. I haven't reached 100 yet, but somehow I don't think I'll be able to do it then either. :) 

Janice, grades 1st and 3rd school pictures, singer in the making
Fondest Memory (from back then):
 When I was in kindergarten (give or take a year) a friend taught me the words to the song "How Much Is that Doggy in the Window?" My father was the pastor of our church, so I asked him if we could sing it at the church fellowship supper. He agreed to let us sing, so we sang from a serving "window" with Puff our family puppy on a table between us. As we sang, Puff started growling and made a few barks. It got me tickled, and my friend ended up singing the song by herself while I giggled.
Proudest Moment (from back then): 
When I was in the first grade my class made pictures with finger paint. The teacher made the suggestion that we could use more than our fingers to make the pictures, that we could use our whole hand or even our arms. As I thought of things I might draw I remembered the way my daddy taught me to draw a fish with two curved lines that crossed just before the tail. He had shown me how to dot in the eye, add the gill mark with a fin behind it, and close in the tail with two short lines. We also added fins at the top and bottom of the fish as well. When my teacher suggested we could use our whole hand or our arm I realized it would be very easy to make the first two curves that way. Then I finished my fish the same way we had been making them at home with pencil and paper. The teacher was so impressed with it that she hung it on the classroom door where it stayed for several months, maybe to the end of the school year.

Janice's High School Photos
Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: 
My family moved twice while I was in elementary school as my father changed jobs, and with five kids in the family we were pretty poor. I was embarrassed with the clothes I had to wear, and I went for three years in desperate need of eyeglasses. So I didn't feel accepted by the popular kids in school and generally played with the kids who, like me, felt they didn't fit in either. Every summer after the second move I dreamed that when school started in the fall I would have more friends and be more popular. It wasn't until I was a sophomore in high school that I got my courage to choose my own friends instead of hanging out with whomever came along. I reviewed all the girls in my class thinking about who they hung out with and whether I thought they would be my friend, and I picked two girls who I could admire yet they weren't so popular that I felt they would brush me off. I started asking them to eat lunch with me and soon we were like the Three Musketeers, at least in my eyes. My self confidence improved from that time on.

Family picture in Lapel, Indiana on Easter Sunday: Mom made the dresses Joan and Janice (on left) were wearing. This was soon after their move to Lapel, Indiana.

Industrious Janice in grades 5-8. She worked to earn $20.00 to go to Girls Scout Camp--35 cents an hour! Most of these dresses were made by Janice's mom, except the last photo

My First Job :

My first paid job was transplanting strawberries for a man who grew strawberries and Christmas trees on the land behind his house. I needed to earn $20 to pay part of my money to go to Girl Scout Camp. I believe this was when I was in the sixth or seventh grade. He paid me thirty-five cents an hour.

Watermelon Indulgence Memories in Rochester, Indiana--Janice and her siblings with huge slices of watermelon--good times!
Childhood Indulgence: 
For three years we lived on the farm that had been in my father's family since the time the land grants were first given out in the Northwest Territory. We farmed it as a truck farm, and grew all kinds of vegetables and melons. At harvest time we had a watermelon feast inviting all the neighbors and farm helpers who had worked for us and their kids. Dad cut the long melons lengthwise and gave us huge slices. Watermelon juice dripped on dresses and bare bellies, but nobody cared. It was good.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

When my father was a pastor my mom sewed most of my dresses from fabric scraps she got at a nearby shirt factory. The pieces of fabric had been cut in the factory to make shirts, but they had been discarded for some reason. So Mom used these pieces to make beautiful dresses for my sister and me as well as for two neighbor girls and my three girl cousins. One day my neighbor and I both wore our new dresses to school on the same day. We were in the first grade. Our dresses were nearly alike and I was eager for the teacher to see them. But for some reason the teacher hadn't yet come into the classroom when the bell rang. I was so impatient for her to see our dresses that I talked Linda into going out the classroom door to look for her. The teacher was coming up the hall and scolded us for not staying in the room. If she said she liked our dresses I didn't hear it.

Linda and Janice in very special dresses--just beautiful!
Janice and sister Joan in their dresses made by mom

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: 

When we lived on the farm my dad mowed the grass at the outdoor theater with his tractor. That gave our family a free pass to watch the movies. My favorite movie we saw was The Shaggy Dog. I also remember watching Lucy's Long Long Trailer with Lucille Ball, and Somebody Up There Likes Me, a story about a famous boxer.

Favorite Childhood Book:
Janice's Childhood Books That She Found on Ebay
I had a history book in the third grade that I though was so cool. It had stories about children living at various times in the history of the US and at the end of each chapter was a page with a series of line pictures and instructions that told how various tasks were done at that point in history. I wanted to try every one of the activities on those pages. A few years ago I began searching for some of my favorite textbooks on eBay and elsewhere, and I found a copy of this book. The title is Pioneer Children of America. It was published in 1950 by D. C. Heath and Company.

Another favorite was Three Friends, a health book that was written like a reader. Each story taught a different lesson on good health. I have found a copy of it as well. I wish I could find the fairy tale readers I had in the second grade. I remember loving them too.

Mom used to read poems to us by James Whitcomb Riley from a book of poems we had. My favorites poems were "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie." Mom also read Tom Sawyer to us two different times. She was really good at reading with expression, something I learned to emulate as I grew older.

This picture was taken on their camping trip to Florida. The station wagon was new at the time and took them on almost all of their family vacations.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: 
I have always loved nature and being outdoors. Our family would hunt mushrooms after a rain in the spring. We lived in Indiana and my parents knew which kinds were safe to eat, so we could gather them and Mom would fry them for us for supper. We camped a lot as a family, first in our back yard on the farm, and later as the most economical way for a family of seven to go on vacation for a weekend or for a longer trip. We also tent camped on a lake for two summers in Tennessee while my father went to graduate school at MTSU. We had incredible tans when we went back to school in Indiana in the fall.
Family camping in Tennessee when dad was in school

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child? My cousin, Marcia, was my age and she started writing letters to me. I was thrilled and wrote back, so we sent letters back and forth for a couple of months. Later I had a pen pal, Virginia Goode, whom I met at church camp. We wrote for quite a while but eventually lost touch. It would tickle me for her to find this blog post and write to me. I had one other pen pal for a while. I met him while my family was camping in Tennessee and my father was in graduate school. But I blew it when he asked me to be his Valentine. I said something like I was keeping my options open so he stopped writing to me.

Janice is holding Inky and Joan is holding Crybaby near Rochester, Indiana
Any Childhood Pets? 
When we lived on the farm we had lots of cats. I loved to find the kittens when I could tell that a mama cat had suddenly become thin again. I would go around making mewing sounds and then listen for the newborn kittens to cry. I found several litters this way. In one of these litters I fell in love with a little black kitten I called Inky. At first she would back away from me with big open eyes, but I would lift her up and gently love her until soon she was no longer afraid. Then she would come to me as soon as she saw me. As she grew older she followed me everywhere. I was given a camera for my 8th birthday, but I couldn't take Inky's picture because every time I backed away to take it she would come up to me. I was supposed to be 8 feet away to take the picture according to the directions that came with the camera, so I took a picture of another cat that looked almost like Inky instead.

Childhood Hero:
My hero was my older brother, Keith. He was so smart and it seemed he could do anything. Whenever he and the neighbor boy, Ronnie, found something interesting to do like have a clubhouse or write letters in secret code, I made up my mind to do it too. Of course I had to get a different clubhouse because little sisters weren't allowed, but I was a pretty determined kid and usually found a way. I've written about clubhouses and writing in secret code in one of my blog posts that you can read here:(

Janice with her hero, brother Keith
Was there anyone in your childhood who pointed you to Jesus?  
My family was always in church, so I guess I'd have to give that credit to the various Sunday school teachers I had along the way.

Share your introduction to Christ as a child or teen or a significant event that led to your walk with Jesus
When my father left the ministry he leaned toward more liberal teachings and church environments. Some of these teachings struck at the roots of my earlier teachings and left me with no foundation for some post-college situations. Those teachings left me believing that the Bible was too hard for us to understand, and not worth reading. I had been taught that you could prove anything with the Bible. Consequently I made many regrettable decisions over a period of about five years, and I stopped going to church so I wouldn't have to defend my lifestyle. 

But one night I experienced a nightmarish temptation that truly scared me. I felt like Satan was putting thoughts in my head to do something so terrible that there would be no rationalizing it away like I had on other things. I prayed that God would take the thoughts away but nothing changed, and the thoughts persisted. I knew God was supposed to answer prayers, and I realized at that moment that I had allowed myself to get so far away from him that he might not answer them. I made up my mind then and there that I would be in church the next morning (which happened to be Sunday.) The thoughts left me, though I was still shaken deeply.

I was back in church the next morning, and over the next few months I re-discovered the Bible and came to realize that it wasn't as hard to understand as I had been led to believe. I found it to be very readable, consistent, and believable, and it gave me a beautiful new way to look at life. My new-found passion for the Bible is the driving force behind the Bible storybooks and the blog posts I write today.

Books by Janice about her parents

About Janice's Writing:

I have written and illustrated The Creation which is self-published. The illustrations are hand-appliquéd quilt block pictures made from fabric. The Creation can be purchased in bookstores, at online bookstores, or from my website at

My approach to illustrating my Bible storybooks comes from my vision to have children sleeping with Bible quilts. I want to find a way to produce quilts with a large variety and number of Bible story pictures on it so that when a child goes to bed they might point to one and ask to hear that story before going to sleep. I also have a blog for encouraging people to make Bible quilts at 

I plan to write more Bible storybooks as time and finances permit. I have created my own publishing company for these books, Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC. I use the honeycomb theme because many verses in the Bible refer to God's Word being sweeter than honey from the comb. (See Psalm 19:10.) The book I am working on now is about the first Christmas, and after that I would like to write a book about Holy Week (Easter).

I have written other books for my family. I love to write the stories and memories of years gone by for my family to keep, and have recruited the help of friends and relatives to compile these stories. I make no claims to fame with these books; I simply like to record what life was like in the past, especially when everything about our social environment with its advances in technology is changing so fast. You can find these books at . I have also written several slice of life type stories on my Honeycomb Adventures blog under the categories "A Memory Ago" and "Tales from the Kid in Me."
Janice D. Green, A Kid at Heart

Janice's Life in her words:  
I was born and raised in northern Indiana until I graduated from Lapel High School. A year after my high school graduation my family moved to Tennessee where my father was hired as a science instructor at MTSU where I immediately enrolled and earned a BS in Sociology.

I finished my last classes as a part-time student while I worked a few months at the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, TN. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and sold my first children's story there. But school loans pushed me to go into teaching.

I taught four years in South Carolina before I married and became a stay-at-home mom for eleven years with my daughter.

My favorite activity as a teacher was reading children's storybooks to the students, and I became more determined to write them. I wrote a few more stories but listened to some bad advice early on. Because I wanted to write children's books, I was told not to submit my best manuscripts for magazines and take-home story-papers. Of course I got the discouraging rejection slips, and quit submitting for several years.

I then enrolled at USC where I earned my Master of Library Science Degree. I served as an elementary school librarian for over 16 years.

When I earned my Masters in Library Science Degree in 1990 I began dreaming about writing again. The seeds for my Bible storybook, The Creation, were planted at that time as my ideas for the book evolved from a Bible alphabet book, to a large Bible story collection, to The Creation. A part of my vision for this book has always been the appliquéd quilt pictures. I envision children going to bed with Bible quilts, which I hope to inspire, and pointing to one of the many Bible story pictures on the quilt top asking to hear the story again. 

The Creation as retold by Janice D. Green
The Creation coloring pages are available on Janice's website

The Creation was published in late August, 2011 by Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC, a company she established for publishing this and more Bible storybooks with similar illustrations.

Janice worked four years as a commercial beekeeper when in 1995 she married her second husband who owned a commercial beekeeping business. This love for bees and beekeeping surely contributed to her inspiration for the name of her publishing business, Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC.

Follow Janice on Twitter

God's Word is sweeter than honey from the comb. (Psalm 19:10)

Honeycomb Adventures Press, LLC  |  

Bible Quilts project  |

Renee Hand interviews Janice about her book, The Creation:


Caroline said...

Crystal, I've visited your blog before & don't know why I haven't followed you! I love these childhood views of people. Such a great idea.

Really enjoyed your post, Janice. I'm going to ck out your books. :)

Janice D. Green said...

Thanks Caroline. I have been longing to be on Crystal's blog for several years... just waiting till I had a book so I could be a bonna fide author. I love her blog.

jude urbanski said...

Janice and Crystal, this is a most awesome blog post.

Janice, you have been given incredible insights and talent, I believe. Use the gifts God has given you.

Loved your "I want to sing on the radio.' My older sister used to say "I want to go to Hollywood, if I pass the test."

Gotta have dreams for them to come true.

Janice D. Green said...

Thanks Jude.

Crystal Laine said...

Caroline, thank you so much for coming back. You'll have to allow me to interview YOU sometime. (Or maybe for my other blog.) Thank you so much for coming.

I loved Janice's interview. It was a pleasure to work on it.

Jude, thank you so much for all of your support and kind words. You are a treasure!

Marsha, I know you tried to post, and I hope you will try again! Sometimes I don't understand why posts get eaten.

Thanks for all of you who have come by to read Janice's interview who either didn't post or posted on Facebook. We appreciate all of you. Thanks, Janice!

Donna Clark Goodrich said...

I really enjoyed reading about Janice's life and hope to meet her in person someday!

Janice D. Green said...

Thanks, Donna. I too hope we will meet someday soon.

Jean Ann Williams said...

What I'm impressed with is Janice's mother's work of art in the dresses she made for her girls. Beautiful!

Really nice interview, Crystal and Janice.

Janice D. Green said...

Thanks for the comment, Jean. Some of my earliest memories of my mother are of her sitting at the sewing machine making dresses. I know she planted the desire in me to learn to sew. Now I do more sewing on my appliqued illustrations and quilts than on dresses. Where does the time go?