WELCOME TO THE PALACE
OF THE STORY QUEEN.
I never asked to be a queen.
I didn’t even ask to be a princess. And I certainly didn’t grow up in a palace. It wasn’t exactly a shoe, but for a lot of years I was one of seven kids spilling out the doors and windows of a teeny two-bedroom, one-bath house.
What I did have was a mom and dad who treated their children royally. How? They loved and respected us as unique individuals. They honored learning, collected books and read to us every day—the funny papers, adventure stories, poetry, the dictionary, encyclopedia entries.
Our parents took us to Sunday school, where we learned (and memorized) the beautiful English of King James. They filled our home with music. They taught us to care for the cats, turtles, chickens and fish that paraded through our house and leave the tiny shrew that cowered under the living room sofa in peace. They took us on road trips to see the country—and visit a slew of aunts, uncles, cousins and our Grandma Lizzie Lou, who was a born storyteller.
In short, we lived in a kingdom of imagination, language and love, the very best sort of world for a story queen-in-training. My childhood nurtured my imagination, stimulated my curiosity and created memories—the places from which stories spring.
I’ve written about monsters and cats and boys and broccoli in my children’s books. More recently, I’ve written about the princess sisters in Disney’s Oscar-winning animated film, Frozen. Inspired by the pure gumption of Elsa and Anna of Arendelle, I don my tiara and gown for appearances in schools and bookstores and anywhere else I’m invited to read my books and tell my becoming-an-author story. I share what I’ve learned about writing and encourage others, young and old, to express their unique insights in stories of their own. I especially love to help young authors shine.
I never asked to be a queen, but here I am—Barbara Jean, the Story Queen. If the crown fits, I say wear it. We all deserve to sparkle!
So come on in to my virtual palace. Poke around. Send me a note. Invite me to your school, your conference, your bookstore—your palace, wherever and whatever that is. I hope to meet you in person very soon.
Barbara Jean Hicks
The Story Queen