Children's Author

  • My last name is pronounced JOE-gus. It’s Greek.
  • The spelling of my first name is after one of my dad’s ex-girlfriends. Yes, I had a VERY understanding mom.
  • My favorite books growing up were the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys series and anything by Judy Blume.
  • I didn’t go to school from age 13 to 15. I was tutored for one hour a day. The rest of the time, I was skating.
  • I skipped seventh grade.
  • I love arts & crafts and reading.
  • I hate surprises.

Author/Illustrators Denise Ortakales, Tamra Wight, Marc Brown, (author of the "Arthur" books), Valarie, Mona Pease & Heidi Davis)

About Valarie!

At age thirteen, I moved to Lake Placid, NY (leaving my parents behind in CT) to focus more on my skating. That was the end of the newspaper. I lived there for three years, then moved to MA, where I’ve been (pretty much) ever since.

As an adult, I heard a story on the news that I thought would make a great children’s book. I worked hard on that story, but it always ended up sounding too much like Make Way For Ducklings with kittens as the main characters. Even though that story didn’t work, the writing bug was back. By then, I had gone to Graduate school and received my teaching degree. My favorite part of teaching was the books. I had quite the library in my classroom (which I have now shared with my kids). I realized by then that I could combine my love for children’s literature with my passion for writing. I’ve been writing kids’ books ever since.

Age 14, in Lake Placid, NY

I spent the first eleven years of my life in MI (I didn’t move there until I was two, but I don’t remember my time in Chicago, so I don’t count it). As an only child, my mom was always looking for something to keep me occupied. I did tap, jazz, ballet, gymnastics and ice skating. Even though I enjoyed them all, I LOVED ice skating and showed promise, so I moved on to a private coach.

Fun Facts!

When I was eleven, we moved to CT because of my dad’s job. I think this time of my life is when my true passion for writing exploded. I always told people I wanted to be a creative writer. However, I had never heard of creative writing as a profession. Two friends and I did write a “newspaper.” We interviewed sources and wrote the stories. We even published our paper and distributed it to our readers (our very patient and loving parents).