Allison's Book Bag

Interview with Elisheba Johnson

Posted on: December 12, 2013

CharlesJohnson&ElishebaJohnsonThe father-daughter team of Charles and Elisheba Johnson have teamed together to create The Adventures of Emery Jones, Boy Science Wonder series. According to its blurb, the first book in the series, Bending Time is an illustrated chapter book which combines fun with more serious issues including bullying, poverty, and science. It’s also one of the few books for third through fifth graders in which the main characters are Black American.

As a child, Elisheba Johnson wanted to be everything from a cartoonist to a nurse. Like Emery Jones, she experienced bullying, and now wishes as a mom to help give a positive self-image to her son. A former owner and curator of a cafe, Elisheba is now an Executive and Commissions Liaison for the Office of Arts and Culture in Seattle. She also writes for her parenting blog “Curating a Life” and creates mixed media art pieces.

Find out more about Elisheba in our interview below. Return tomorrow for my interview with her father. This Saturday, I’ll review their book Bending Time. Save the dates: December 13-14!

ALLISON: If you could live anywhere, what place would you pick?

ELISHEBA: I used to say I would live in Paris. It was the first art capitol of the world and the spirit of the city is kindred to mine. But now I believe Seattle is one of the art capitols of the world. I have been working directly with artists and the arts community for the last seven years and believe my life’s work is here in Seattle, creating a diverse and thriving arts scene.

ALLISON: What is one moment from childhood that shaped you as an adult?

ELISHEBA: My father winning the National Book Award changed all of our lives. It has been an honor to strive to live up to his reputation.

ALLISON: What did you want to be when you grew up?

ELISHEBA: So many things. A counselor, an artist, a nurse, a cartoonist.

ALLISON: An introvert or extrovert? How has this personality shaped you?

ELISHEBA: I am an introvert. Part of being an introvert is trusting yourself first and foremost, and that has been a journey for me.

ALLISON: Why did you become an owner of a cafe? What is one highlight from that time? What other jobs have you held?

ELISHEBA: Faire Gallery Cafe was in fact a multidisciplinary arts space. I wanted to create a place out of college where artists could create without fear of funding. The cafe supported our art exhibitions, music shows and poetry readings. One highlight from Faire is that a group of local high school students would come all the time to hang out because we were an all ages event space. They would all to come to our Sunday night jam sessions and play with musicians twice their age. One of those regulars when to an arts college in New York and told me it was his time at Faire that solidified that choice for him. I have held various customer service jobs before Faire and I worked at the Fisheries department in Seattle doing graphic design.

ALLISON: What is the most surprising thing about being a mom?

ELISHEBA: I have been most surprised that my son had a personality at birth. It has been a true joy to get to know him these past two years. I enjoy how he is constantly revealing himself to me.

ALLISON: Why did you start writing the Boy Science Wonder series?

ELISHEBA: I wanted to write a children’s story with my father because I remembered us writing together when I was a child. Emery’s birth gave us a purpose, so he can see a hero that reflects his experience.

ALLISON: Describe the collaboration experience?

ELISHEBA: Our working style was very organic. We would chat about ideas and then separately write pieces of the story. We would come back to share feedback. We respect each other’s opinion so I trusted where he would take me creatively.

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2 Responses to "Interview with Elisheba Johnson"

[…] Interview with Elisheba Johnson (allisonsbookbag.wordpress.com) […]

Thanks for the link to my interview!

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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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