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Mavis Jukes wanted to be a cowboy when she was little. Instead, she went west to study in Boulder and Berkeley. She taught for a few years, then went back to school and became a lawyer in 1979.

She says she didn't read much as a kid, and who knows what got her started writing, but she did. Her first book, No One is Going to Nashville, was published in 1983, and was cited as an excellent beginning for a new author. Her second book, Like Jake and Me, earned a Newbery Honor two years later.

Since then, she has dedicated herself to creating informative sex-ed and health-related books for middle-schoolers.   "There was a wealth of information for elementary school kids, and several good books for older teens, but only one or two books available for middle school girls."   Her books deal with difficult topics - YOU try talking to an 11-year-old about oral sex - but she handles her topic realistically, with dignity and humor.

When Mavis was a girl, there were no sex ed books, and the whole sex thing was a baffling mystery until she was in her 20s. She wants to prevent other girls from having to guess blindly at the facts, as she did. She's doing a good job of it, I think. She knows books are a vital tool in communicating with kids, but she always stresses the importance of family discussions, even when they're uncomfortatble for everyone involved.   "Between books, and school, and parents, and peers, I think we should be able to get everybody straight on this stuff."

Interesting side note, Mavis's father, Thomas Hughes Jukes, a famous molecular biologist and nutritionist, pioneered the use of methotrexate as a new cancer therapy, and pretty much single-handedly originated the concept of non-Darwinian evolution.

Mavis currently volunteers as a juvenile defense attorney, and works as a language arts specialist in a public elementary school. She lives with her husband, sculptor and painter Robert Hudson, and their two teenage daughters, in Sonoma County, California.


"I'm hoping that when 2000 actually gets here we might stop and think: Wait a minute! Aren't there things we should have accomplished by now? We'd better get going - all of us! I have so much hope for the future. Everybody's getting smarter - especially kids."

"My advice? Value your own experiences. Honor your culture. Don't try to sound like anybody but yourself; nobody can tell your story but you. Be you. Write with the voice that's in your head; write how you talk. Tell the truth. Begin by beginning. Say good things to yourself."


Blackberries in the Dark

Cinderella 2000

Expecting the Unexpected: Sex Ed With Mrs. Gladys B. Furley, R.N

The Green Velvet Dress

Growing Up: It's a Girl Thing: Straight Talk About First Bras, First Periods, and Your Changing Body

It's a Girl Thing: Dating

It's a Girl Thing: How to Stay Healthy, Safe, and in Charge

It's a Girl Thing: Nutrition

Like Jake and Me

Planning the Impossible

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