Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Janet Nolan  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Children;

Born: 1956 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Janet Nolan on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Nolan was born in Chicago and currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois. She also graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Janet Nolan has a B.A. from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the Illinois chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).Nolan was standing on the rocky shores of Ireland's west coast when she saw the perfect setting for her first picture book. ''The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh'' celebrates an Irish American family history and the stories they told. On his way to America from Ireland to escape the Potato Famine, young Fergus carves a shillelagh from his favorite blackthorn tree, and each St. Patrick's Day for generations, his story is retold by one of his descendants.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel
ISBN: 1561459127

Peachtree Publishers. 2016

There is a ship, a navy ship. It is called the USS New York. It is big like other navy ships, and it sails like other navy ships, but there is something special about the USS New York. Following the events of September 11, 2001, the governor of New York gave the Navy a steel beam that was once inside one of the World Trade Towers. The beam was driven from New York to a foundry in Louisiana. Metal workers heated the beam to a high, high temperature. Chippers and grinders, painters and polishers worked on the beam for months. And then, seven and a half tons of steel, which had once been a beam in the World Trade Center, became a navy ship's bow. This powerful story reveals how something remarkable can emerge from a devastating event.

PB&J Hooray!: Your Sandwich's Amazing Journey from Farm to Table
ISBN: 0807563978

Albert Whitman & Company. 2014

From peanut, grape, and wheat seeds to sandwich, PB & J Hooray! is all about how peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are made. The story begins with the kitchen and works backward to the shopping, delivery, production, harvesting, farming, and planting processes! In fun, rhythmic language, readers discover how peanuts become peanut butter, grapes are made into jelly, and wheat turns into bread.

A Father's Day Thank You
ISBN: 0807522910

Albert Whitman & Company. 2007

Harvey doesn't know what to get his father for Father's Day. It's especially hard when his older sisters and brother seem so sure that their presents are his favorites. Then Harvey remembers all of the nice things his dad helped him with that week.

The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh (Albert Whitman Prairie Paperback)
ISBN: 0807573450

Albert Whitman & Company. 2002

A family retells the story of the shillelagh that was whittled from a tree. During the Irish potato famine, Fergus and his family left for America. But first Fergus cut a branch from a blackthorn tree to take a piece of Ireland with him.

The Firehouse Light
ISBN: 1582462984

Tricycle Press. 2010

Day after day, year after year,
the lightbulb did not burn out.

Here is the true story of a little lightbulb, located in a firehouse, that has stayed lit for more than one hundred years. As horse-drawn carriages make room for automobiles, dirt roads give way to paved streets, and new buildings transform small clusters of homes into bustling neighborhoods, a small town grows and changes. And fighting fires changes, too: fires once fought by bucket brigades and hand-pulled hose carts are now attended by full-time firefighters and modern firetrucks. Yet now, just like then, the lightbulb glows, strong and steady, above the brave firefighters and their trucks.


The Firehouse Light

  • Starred Review, School Library Journal
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

  • ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Nolan enjoys talking to students about writing. You can find out more about her presentations at the "School of her website.