Biography 0f the Performer

Jennifer Steib Simmons

South Carolina


I was born in New Jersey but moved with my family to South Carolina when I was six in 1973.  What a culture shock! I went from being an accelerated reader to almost failing second grade because I couldn't understand Southern dialect.  Hence my interest in dialects was born.  I got married to get Rich (my husband's name is Richard) and we have two children named Meg and Ricky who are avid readers and bring us a great deal of joy, fulfillment and laughter.


M.S. Candidate School of Library and Information Science
Candidate Graduate Academic Certificate in Youth Services in Libraries
Candidate Graduate Academic Certificate in Storytelling                    
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences

I attended T.L. Hanna High School (the same one featured in the movie Radio) and the University of South Carolina where I earned a degree in Journalism.  Two years later I found myself in Atlanta getting another diploma, this time, in advertising photography.


I became aware of the power of story very early.  My mother was the daughter of Italian immigrants from Sicily.  I never knew her parents; they died before I was born.  I found that the only way I could know them in this lifetime was through the stories my mother told me about them.  I would listen, captivated, for hours as she told her tales, Mafioso stories, and legends about the possibility of royalty in our family.  Her stories always had an air of warmth, love, laughter and happiness in them, which I never knew first hand because my father was an alcoholic.  I'd like to think I've captured the warmth from my mother's stories and placed it down in the living room of my house for my husband and children to warm themselves in, whether or not it is cold outside.  I know that story can do that.


 My husband was in the army for the first eight years of our marriage.  When I got married, I thought, "This is great!  I'm going to see the world!"  Instead, I saw Texas.  All of it.  From Fort Hood to Fort Bliss and everywhere in between, I've learned that life isn't always easy.  Perfection is for post cards; and overcoming the bad things that happen to us occurs in part when we tell our story and it helps the next person coming along.