Posted by: nancyisanders | September 23, 2021

Author Interview: Janie Reinart



Web site:




With her words, Janie Reinart makes something from nothing. From paper and pencil to page turns, she crafts stories celebrating the creativity and playfulness of children. Janie encourages readers to use their imagination, find their voice, share their stories, and believe in their dreams. She lives in Ohio with her darling husband and delights in playing with their 16 grandchildren. 

Featured Book: When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children 

Written by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor.

When war forces two sisters to flee their home in South Sudan with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, Big Sister strives to help Little Sister smile again at the refugee settlement. But as quickly as Little Sister’s smile appears, it disappears…that is, until water makes mud. In the end, Big Sister’s artistry and kindness brings hope to their situation. This title is a tribute to the resourcefulness of children who have no toys but continue to play and is dedicated to the 200,000 refugee children living at the Bidibidi settlement in Uganda.

All publisher profits from this title will be donated to UNICEF Uganda.

Free downloadable resources at under BOOKS tab.

Watch the book trailer here.

Interview: Author questions

Thank you so much Nancy for the interview. I am a big fan of yours. It was my pleasure to meet you several years ago at a retreat. Thank you for being such a positive light in this world!

Question: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.

The stunning photography in a National Geographic story started my picture book, When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children. I noticed the photographer, Nora Lorek was on Instagram. I gathered my courage and sent her a private message.  Nora was so kind and generous. She sent me her email address and became my inspiration and resource. In addition to connecting with Nora, (she lives in Sweden) having the very picture of hers that started the story for me in the back matter of the book was definitely a highlight.

Question: Describe the journey you’ve taken as a writer.

I’ve worn many hats on this journey. A hat that set my path was the black and white broad brimmed one I wore portraying Eliza Doolittle in my high school senior class play. I was very shy and quiet. My high school English and speech teacher, Mr. David Shaner, changed my life and inspired me. In his class, I began to write and present speeches and perform on stage.  I wanted to be like Mr. Shaner. Because of him, I got my degree in education, speech, and theater so that I could give students confidence to find their voice and tell their stories. Other hats include:

  • a funny hat writing skits to be performed at a children’s hospitals as part of a gentle clowning ministry
  • full body costumes and hats sharing original tales in schools as an interactive musical storyteller
  • a poet’s beret as a poet in residence at an inner-city school to help children find their voice through free verse poetry
  • best of all, an author’s hat to play with words and write books for children

Q: What is one word of advice you received as a writer that you would like to share with others?

I can’t do one word. Only you can write your story! Write what you are passionate about and make that heart-to-heart writer/reader connection.

Q: Share one goal you have as a children’s writer and the steps you are taking to achieve it.

My next goal is learning to write a graphic novel. I am taking several webinars and reading lots of middle grade graphic novels.

Thank you, Janie, for being here on my blog! Best wishes with your new book and future projects!


  1. Thanks for giving us the person behind the work. Congrats

    • You’re welcome! I’ve met Janie before and she’s a treasure!

    • Hi Joanne, Glad you liked the interview.❤️

  2. Nancy, thank you for sharing and celebrating When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children. ❤️

    • You are so welcome, Janie. I love your book!

  3. Thank you, Janie and Nancy, for this inspiring interview!

    • You’re welcome!!! Isn’t this an amazing story behind the story?!

    • Rebecca, You are most welcome! ❤️ Nancy is always so generous.

  4. Great story behind the story Janie! and thanks for bringing it to us Nancy.

    • You’re welcome, Mary! So glad Janie could join us today!

    • Thank you, Mary. Nora, the photographer, said the children would run and line up for pictures when they saw her coming–some still molding and shaping the clay.

  5. The power of a picture. Love hearing about the inspiration for the book. And how generous of the photographer to be a resource. Love that the publisher profits are going to UNICEF Uganda. Have this on my list of books to order. Good luck with this!

    • I agree, Mary!!! You said this all so well.

    • Thank you, Mary❤️

  6. A dear friend and talented writer and poet! So blessed to have met her at a writing conference.

    • Sherri it was lovely to meet you ❤️ and work together.

  7. A wonderful interview. Congratulations on the book – can’t wait to read it.

    • Thank you, Bevbaird. ❤️

  8. I really appreciated the interview, Janie and Nancy. It looks like a lovely, heart-warming book. The trailer is well done and makes me eager to have the book in my hands. And I really like that profits from the book are being donated to help the children. Congratulations to you, Janie, and best wishes with your authoring.

    • Thank you. ❤️ I am excited about helping the children.

  9. Janie is my CP and she is heart and inspiration. Congratulations Janie and Morgan for your beautiful story about the imagination and resourcefulness of refugee children. BRAVA!!

  10. thank you, Nancy for this interview of a very special book.

    • You’re welcome. I was so excited to learn about Janie’s book!!!!

  11. Thanks for sharing this book and the author’s background. I loved that she reached out through Instagram!

    • You’re welcome!!! Yes, it’s so fun to learn about her journey as an author.

  12. What a wonderful interview between two of my favorite authors. I love the inspiration for you book, Janie. It shows how ideas can come from many places.

    • Yay!!!! Isn’t Janie’s story so inspirational?

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