Author Feature: Dr. Jillian Roberts

Author Feature: Dr. Jillian Roberts

A gentle introduction to the issue of poverty, On Our Street explores the realities of people living with inadequate resources. Using age-appropriate language, this book addresses mental illness, homelessness and refugee status as they are connected to this issue. Insightful quotes from individuals and organizations such as UNICEF are included throughout to add further perspective on the issue. An invaluable section on how kids can help empowers readers to take what they have learned and use it to make a difference.

How do you usually begin writing your stories?

I spend a great deal of time thinking about what I want to say before I set pen to paper. I think of the big messages I want to share and then I think about how best to say them so they can be understood by little ones.

What planning or research did you do for your book?

All of my books are based on years of clinical experience working with children as a psychologist, as well as years teaching and conducting research as a professor. The primary content of On Our Street comes from that background. The secondary text boxes are different, and require a lot of careful research and thoughtful planning.

Do you have any advice you would give to an aspiring writer?

Think mostly about what needs to be said and what you want to say, rather than how you plan on saying it.


What’s the most prized book on your bookshelf?

I have a set of first edition English translation Alexandre Dumas books that were given to me by my husband’s aunt shortly after we married. She was a collector of rare books and knew I loved Dumas. These are a treasure to me.

What are your favorite ways to procrastinate?

To be honest, I tend not to procrastinate. I schedule time for doing things and I make sure I do what needs to be done in the time I have put aside.

If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?

If I could have a special power, it would be to bring hope to children and families.

Do you keep books after you’ve read them, or give them away? Do you borrow books from your local library?

I tend to keep all my books. I do lend them out occasionally. I buy a lot of books from second hand book stores.

What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?

I would like our kids to grow up to be compassionate problem-solvers. How can we inspire kids to do just that? We need to begin to envision a larger message, a message about how to help kids live in our changing world. We need to imagine a caring, empathetic, adult problem-solver of the 21st Century, and work backwards. What would we need to teach our children and how would we need to teach them in order to set them on the path of becoming a problem solver who cares?

On Our Street: Our First Talk About Poverty, the first book in The World Around Us series, is available now.

Roberts, Jillian 09-08-17Dr. Jillian Roberts has been working with children for more than twenty years, first as a primary schoolteacher, then as a child psychologist and an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Victoria. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information, visit Follow her on Twitter @DrJillRoberts.

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