Women's History
Mary Jane Auch

Mary Jane Auch
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.19

     challenging words:    editorial, humorous, mannequin, historical, majority, provided, novels, graphic, poses, fiction, meaningful, newly, writing, series, widower, successful
     content words:    Mary Jane Auch, Mary Jane, Jane Auch, When Mary Jane, Skidmore College, New York City, Occupational Therapy, Columbia University, Herm Auch, Pennywhistle Press

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Mary Jane Auch
By Jamie Kee

1     Mary Jane Auch is a successful children's book author. She has published books under her name, Mary Jane, as well as her nickname, MJ. Mrs. Auch has been assisted by her husband, Herm, in completing the illustrations in her picture books. Although she didn't decide to become a writer until later in her adult years, it is evident that Mary Jane Auch is talented in both her writing as well as her illustrations.
2     Mary Jane Auch, who is called MJ by her friends, has always remembered having books in her life. She gives credit to her mother who always kept books in the house. Mary Jane's mother was a second grade teacher. She taught MJ to read at a much higher level than other kids her age. It didn't matter what kind of books MJ read. She loved them all. Growing up, Mary Jane also loved to draw. She would even write and draw her own comics.
3     As a child, Mary Jane had another interest. She loved chickens. Because she was an only child, she didn't have playmates. Her grandparents, uncles, and next-door neighbors had many chickens. When Mary Jane visited them, the chickens would be her playmates. As a child, MJ noticed that groups of chickens are very similar to groups of kids. Just like kids, chickens have different personalities. There is always a shy one, a nosey one, and even a bully. As an adult, MJ realizes that her chicken picture books are inspired by her experiences as a child.
4     Mary Jane's interest in drawing grew as she got older. She thought about a future in art. MJ enjoyed writing, but she didn't consider a writing career. However, when Mary Jane reached fifth grade, her writing skills improved dramatically because her teacher made the class diagram sentences. Mary Jane began to understand how sentences were put together. It was MJ's fifth grade teacher who provided her with the skills that would later be useful in writing.
5     After graduating from high school, MJ attended Skidmore College as an art major. Sadly, her instructors made it clear that illustration was not a useful art form. MJ gave up her dream to be an illustrator because of what she was told. She decided on a career in textile design. When Mary Jane graduated from college, she got a job in New York City designing prints for men's clothes. MJ eventually realized that she needed to do work that was more meaningful, so she went back to school in the Occupational Therapy graduate program at Columbia University. After graduating, MJ worked for several years in a children's hospital in Connecticut. She really enjoyed these years.

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