We are ecstatic to be on a page entitled “About the Authors”! After years and years of dreaming, planning, plotting and casting ideas off to the nearest trash can, we are thrilled to see “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition” actually come to life. People have asked us how long it’s taken to write our picture book. We chuckle as we think back a few years and recall just how many times we changed the manuscript. The truth is…we couldn’t make up our minds, so we wrote two versions: a chapter book and a picture book. Once we decided on a rhyming children’s picture book — you guessed it — we changed the rhyme a million times too.
Writing this book is a diversion for Judy as she continues her work as a stay-at-home mom to Nicholas and Matthew. Karen enjoys coming up for air from her freelance writing to tell the PJ elf story. (You can find links to many of her articles on the authors’ other website, Parent Teacher Talk. With over 40 years teaching experience between them, these sisters now enjoy the challenge of self-publishing a picture book.
The PJ Elves are close to the hearts of all the Taylor kids, Judy and Karen’s siblings. Their family — which consists of 5 sisters and 4 brothers — hails from Pennsylvania and Ohio. It’s been said that the tradition of elves leaving PJs for kids on Christmas Eve might be common in that area of the country, but Judy and Karen think their parents put a special twist on it. They would love to hear from any of you who grew up with visits from Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve.
“Our family never had much money, but Mom and Dad made sure we all looked great for pictures on Christmas morning as we sported our new PJs from the elves,” recalls Judy. “There might not have been lots of presents under our tree, but we sure had fun!” adds Karen.
Judy Voigt has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration and higher education. She has worked in a variety of educational fields, including as an elementary teacher in kindergarten, 2nd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade. She also taught 6th grade science in middle school. After teaching, Judy worked as an associate editor for Harcourt School Publishers and later became an educational consultant for them. These days, she finds herself driving her two boys around to soccer games and swim team practices. Judy grew up in Ohio and now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two sons.
Karen LoBello has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in computer education, highly-qualified status in middle school English and math and a secondary degree in early childhood education. Named “Teacher of the Year” for her school and region in the fifth largest school district in the United States (Clark County School District), she taught kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th grades in elementary school and English, language arts, math and computer education in middle school, 6-8. Although Karen hails from Pennsylvania (Go, Steelers!) and started her teaching career in Ohio, she and her husband live right over the border from Utah in Nevada.