Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Jen Cullerton Johnson

Born: 1972 in Chicago, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Johnson was born in Chicago and raised on the South side and comes from a family who has been involved in Chicago politics for decades. She holds a MEd in Curriculum and Development from Loyola University of Chicago and is a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system and a writing professor at Wright College. Her short stories are set in Chicago.

Biography: Jen Cullerton Johnson is a writer, an educator, and an environmentalist with masterís degrees in nonfiction writing and curriculum development. She teaches at both the elementary and college levels in Chicago, where she also conducts writing workshops. Johnson is one of two founders of the Green Literacy Foundation, a foundation that bridges literacy skills and ecology for life long learning in earth stewardship. She has an MFA, MEd is the author of several books for adults and children including the award winning children's book, Seeds of Change.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Children; Young adult readers


Selected Titles

Green Heroes: K-5 Teaching Units: How Do Young People Become Environmental Heroes?
ISBN: 1544139179 OCLC:

Green Heroes is one in a series of Green Literacy Thematic Teaching Units, organized around the 3 Cycles of Comprehension, explicitly so for grades 3-4, and 5, and beyond. They are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. We model how teachers and students can use these texts and digital media as catalysts for critical dialogues and hopefully action toward earth stewardship. Teachers and students reflect that effective action taken toward educating young people includes how solutions work to change systems, including unjust systems like those of race, class, and gender and use of natural resources.

Seeds of Change: Wangari's Gift to the World
ISBN: 9781600603679 OCLC: 459210202

Lee & Low Books, New York : ©2010

A biography of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a female scientist who made a stand in the face of opposition to women's rights and her own Greenbelt Movement, an effort to restore Kenya's ecosystem by planting millions of trees--Provided by publisher.

The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai
ISBN: 1643790129 OCLC: 1096295763

As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her -- from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river. Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time. The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai brings to life the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize. This chapter-book edition includes black-and-white illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.