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Children’s Author


Critiques for Writers:

I critique easy readers, picture books, magazine pieces, and poetry. For easy readers, picture books, and magazine pieces, I charge $100 for two critiques. For poetry, please contact me and we can discuss what you need. Critiques will focus on big picture items like character, story problem, plot, pacing, voice, structure, conflict, and resolution. I’ll also comment on grammar and punctuation. Payment is made via Paypal before we begin working together.

I am a traditionally-published children’s author of over 70 books, both fiction and nonfiction. I am also a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and two long-running picture book critique groups. I have served on picture book panels, at conferences, and as a picture book mentor. I taught College Composition in an earlier life. I love helping others make their writing shine!

To make the most of a paid critique, I recommend you make your manuscript the best it can be by running it past a writing friend or critique group ahead of time. Please note: a paid critique is not a guarantee that you will be able to sell your book to a publisher.


“Jody is a professional children’s author herself, so you know she’s someone you can trust in her critiques. I sent her two stories, and in both of them, she could pinpoint where the reader would get stuck or lose interest, giving me some sound judgment and advice to help move them forward. It’s been a delight working with her so I know I’ll be doing it again for future stories. I’m happy I found her!” -Stephen W.

Jody’s knowledge and expertise concerning writing and publishing children’s books is exceptional. She is a true professional and her advice and guidance was so helpful to me. I highly recommend her to anyone who needs direction in navigating the world of children’s book writing and publishing.” -Julie D.

“Jody is wonderful to work with. Her notes and insights were very valuable for my children’s book. I highly recommend her.” -Denise G.

“Jody’s guidance and feedback were invaluable. Her knowledge and personability combine for a quality service. Her ideas are creative and constructive but not imposing. She has a firm grasp of the publishing world and the different options it offers. She is also very easy to work with and quick to respond to inquiries. I highly recommend. “ -Shawn F.

Freelance Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading:

I edit and proofread for publishing companies and book packagers. I use Chicago Manual of Style 17 and Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I am intimately familiar with Microsoft Word and Track Changes. I am detail-oriented and always meet or beat my deadlines. Clients include Teacher Created Materials, Red Line Editorial, and A Child’s World, to name a few. References available upon request.

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Jody Jensen Shaffer is an award-winning poet and the author of more than 70 books of fiction and nonfiction for children, including PRUDENCE THE PART-TIME COW, a Missouri Show Me Award finalist for 2019-2020 and Missouri’s choice for the National Book Festival in 2017, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, finalist for the 2021-2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award, IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, an Amazon best-seller and Amazon Prime Book Box pick for September 2019, EMERGENCY KITTENS!, WHO IS JACKIE CHAN? and more. Jody’s poetry and fiction have been published in magazines like Highlights, Ladybug, and Clubhouse Jr. Jody lives in Liberty, Missouri, with her family. When she’s not writing, Jody can be found spending time with family and walking her rescue dog, Sophie. You can find Jody online at jodyjensenshaffer.com and on Twitter @jodywrites4kids.

From Jody:
I grew up the youngest of three kids in a northern Missouri college town, where my dad taught anatomy and physiology and my mom taught at the local elementary school. I earned my Bachelor’s in English from William Jewell College and my Master’s in English from Truman State University. After 12 years in the business world, I left to raise my children, and that’s when I fell in love with children’s literature.

-2017 Presenter, Kansas Book Festival

-2018 Mentor, Picture Book Writing With the Stars

-2018, 2019 Presenter, nErDcampKS

-2018 #KidsNeedMentors mentor

-2019, 2020, 2021 PBCritiqueFest mentor

-2020 nErDcampPA panelist

-2021 KS/MO SCBWI “Writing for Children’s Magazines”


Kids Author Stays Busy This Fall, Winter Courier-Tribune, January 2019

Children’s Book Authors Find Praise for Books January 2018
Liberty author honored by national magazine with Courier-Tribune June 8, 2017
March 2017 interview with Johnson County Library
Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb
Sharon Chriscoe’s Picture Book of the Month, June 2017

10 random facts about me:

1. I am endlessly fascinated by the natural world.
2. I try to walk for exercise most days.
3. I like dogs. A lot.
4. I am a member of two long-term writing groups. We give one another feedback about our stories.
5. I prefer a hoodie over a sweater, tennis shoes over heels.
6. The one food I can’t live without is peanut butter.
7. I love laughing and funny people and things.
8. I can sing the names of the 50 states in alphabetical order. I can sing the preamble to the constitution.
9. I remember the exact moment I learned how to read.
10. I loved being a kid.

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Follow Jody on Twitter @jodywrites4kids

Email Jody at jodyjensenshaffer @ gmail.com, or fill out the form below. NOTE: Please check your SPAM folder, if you haven’t heard back from Jody within one day!


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    2022-2023 SCHOOL VISITS

    I love talking with kids about reading, writing, and books! (Scroll down for pics and recommendations!) Just reach out, and we’ll make it happen. 

    School visits begin with a talk about my life as an author. I bring in materials to show how books are created, from the first idea through illustration to publication. We’ll talk about where ideas come from and the revising and editing manuscripts go through. Then we’ll see a PowerPoint of images showing how books are made. Finally, we’ll read my book(s) and do a Q&A. All of my presentations are interactive and fun! For younger audiences, presentations that focus on interactive story times, instead of in-depth discussions of the writing process, work best. Want me to speak about something else–poetry, researching nonfiction subjects, writing workshop with your class, a different book, etc? Just ask!

    Jody Jensen Shaffer Author Visits printable handout 2022-2023

    That’s a GREAT idea! (Grades K-5) 30-45 minutes

    In this presentation, we’ll talk about how to get great ideas and the importance of revising. Students will feel empowered to create their own great stories! Choose your focus book for the session–PRUDENCE THE PART-TIME COW, EMERGENCY KITTENS, IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!

    Writing is a (5-Step) Process! (Grades 3-5) 45 minutes

    In this presentation, I share how I became a children’s author and apply the lessons I learned about the Writing Process to my punny, nonfictiony-fiction picture book, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, a 2021-2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award nominee, including a sneak peek inside the publishing industry (where students become agents and editors)! Students will come away ready to ROCK what they write!

    2022-2023 Rates


    $450 one session (within 40 miles of my home)
    $700 two sessions
    $1000 full day (three sessions)

    Plus current mileage, if I drive, and other applicable travel expenses: airfare, transportation, lodging, meals.

    NOTE: I’ll send you a contract to confirm all the details once we’ve decided on a date. Fees are payable the day of my visit. No more than 75 kids/presentation, please.

    Think you can’t afford to bring an author to your school? Here are some creative ways others have done it! Successful Author Visits (And How to Pay for Them)

    $300 one session

    $650 full day (three sessions)


    “Our students and staff LOVED having Jody visit our building! Her interactive, thoughtful presentation helped expose students to the writing process and her kind, easy-going nature made her visit a breeze! She is welcome back any time!” – Megan Bright, Librarian, Lillian Schumacher Elementary, Liberty Public Schools

    “Jody presents very engaging material, teaches them about the writing process, and students love her books!” – Liz Vannelli, Kellybrook Library Media Specialist, Liberty Public Schools

    “The kids loved Jody’s visit. She was engaging and funny. Even a teacher came and told me that Jody was her hero!” Debbie B., Librarian, Rose Acres Elementary, Maryland Heights, MO

    “Jody is friendly, approachable and she shares her experiences as an author in an encouraging way that inspires the students to write their own stories. The 3-5 group loved the interactive demonstration of how a book gets a publisher.” 

    “I loved her interaction with students during the publishing process skit. She was an all around amazing presenter…I wish we had had more time for her to keep talking about her books. The kids loved listening to her stories.”

    “I loved how she interacted with students. They really liked her and she was very sweet with them. I loved when she brought students up with props to act out a scene. Very fun!”

    “We enjoyed how personable Jody was and how she interacted with the students. We also enjoyed that she was local!! What a great experience for our kids!”

    “I like the way she explained the publishing process by having students come up and play specific roles. Because they were part of it, they were very engaged!”

    #KidsNeedMentors video in Maryland Heights, MO


    Ridgeview Elementary, Liberty, MO
    Shoal Creek Elementary, Liberty, MO
    Kellybrook Elementary, Liberty Public Schools
    Kellybrook Elementary, Liberty Public Schools

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