Libby James

MY STORY

It’s hard to say where I’m “from.” I know I started off in a London suburb in 1936, spent the World War II years in Washington DC, USA, then returned to England with an accent that sounded pretty funny to my schoolmates. Two years later, I’d acquired a new accent that sounded pretty funny to my schoolmates in Scarsdale, NY, and later in Seattle WA. Five blissful years in one place until, at age 16, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to Philadelphia, PA where I finished high school and began working my way back west. First stop, Delaware, OH and Ohio Wesleyan University, (BA in English) second stop, Boulder, CO. I suddenly found myself with four children under age five and a husband who’d decided to move to Fort Collins, CO where, except for six years on the high plains in Greeley, CO, I’ve lived ever since. I completed an MA in Western American Literature at Colorado State University in 1971.

I’ve worked in a college admissions office, as a sixth grade teacher, community college teacher, feature writer and magazine editor, and in a non-traditional classroom, working with high school dropouts. I’ve taught memoir writing, edited a couple of books, and taught English as a second language to adults. For nearly 20 years I led biking and hiking tours--first in Vermont, later all over the western US and Canada.

I’ve done RAGBRAI, that crazy bike ride across Iowa five times, and in 1986, when one daughter graduated from college and the other finished law school, we biked from Iowa to Maine carrying all our own stuff.

In 2004-05, I spent nine months in Mozambique, Africa, an experience that opened my eyes to my own great good fortune. While there I shared my experiences through a web site for elementary school students, “Come to Africa with Me.” An historical noel, White Shadow,grew out of that experience.

PUBLICATIONS

Muffin Magic, a picture book for four-to-eight-year-olds, illustrated by Ann Ryan, was inspired by a muffin-baking grandson. It tells the story of Adam, who moves frequently because of his dad’s job, and hates being the new kid over and over again. Making use of muffins, he solves his problem. The story addresses child-parent cooperation, problem-solving, single parenting, and learning to cook.

Picture book author Linda Arms White, says of the story, “I’ve been privileged to watch the progress of Muffin Magic from its first mixing through its rise to perfection. It’s my favorite kind of story, where a child solves a big problem.

Available through the author and at bookstores in Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, Boulder and Cheyenne. See schedule for upcoming signings.

Red Ribbons, Coming in Second Isn’t All That Bad, stories from the life of Rev. Bob Geller. Written with Bob, these stories illustrate the life of a man who is revered for his openness, humor, commitment to learning and to community. He served as Colorado State University campus minister for nearly 30 years, and at nearly 91 continues a weekly reading group he founded 50 years ago.

Available at the Geller Center for Spiritual Development, 629 Howes St. 482-8487.

From Sugarbush to Savannah A Journey by Committee, tells the life stories of 12 women who graduated from college in 1958 and have stayed in close touch ever since.

Wiggly Stories, Animal stories for pre-schoolers that incorporate physical movement into the text.

Coming soon:

Running Mates, a semi-autobiographical story for middle graders about the joy of running and intergenerational friendship.

Coming a little less soon: Frisbee Dreams, a young girl couch-potato finds herself and a degree of fame with the help of a retired football coach and a devoted dog.

Coming one day: White Shadow, historical fiction based on the true life story of Janet Mondlane, mother of the Mozambican revolution.

Articles/columns:

“Of Rags and Bags,” in Going Green: True Tales of Gleaners, Scavengers and Dumpster Divers, an anthology edited by Laura Pritchett, University of Oklahoma

“Neophyte in Nepal,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, 2012

“Little Things Mean a Lot, the story of two inspirational athletes“, Colorado Runner, Aug-Sept, 2014.

On my blog, columns on running at: libjames.blogspot.com

Pictures of the covers for some of Libby's writings are shown below.

Libby's cover pictures