A bit about Jonathan Bing.
Since the second grade and my five-trains-and-a-bus-ride home, books have been my ever-ready companion.
I was born and raised in Japan where, while stretched in other ways, our family of seven always had stories. We had stateside relatives who kept our bookshelves stocked, and Mom made up fantastic tales for the long commutes to the rural village where we lived.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that my early years as a writer were promising. In the third grade I wrote my first three-act play, one act per mimeograph sheet. I went on that year to write my class-wide, blue-ribbon story—William the Wise Weasel—an honor that came with placing my hand-crafted book in the elementary library.
I was a fan of all things publishable, writing for an underground high school newspaper and editing the yearbook. My teachers, however, didn’t see a talent, and one English teacher went so far as to say I was bad at it. So while I loved words and spent a lot of time with them, I placed my energies elsewhere; by the end of high school, I was aiming to major in physics or math. The muses had other ideas. During my first year at St. Olaf College, I was lucky enough to have Dr. Carol Holly for a required writing class. She rewired my passion for writing, and I’ve been writing ever since.
For 15 years as a copywriter and creative director, I have helped hundreds of organizations find their voices. My work has been nationally recognized by Communication Arts, AIGA, GraphicDesign USA and AR100, among others. It was during these years that I also received an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
On a lark, I published a children’s story, Jimmy Jonny Brownie Stays Up All Night, under the pen name Bing Puddlepot with the help of my friend and illustrator/designer/savant, Sherwin Schwartzrock. The book garnered wonderful reviews, several national awards (the finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Book Award and the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year), was reprinted in The Baltimore Sun, and did very well locally, breaking even in the Twin Cities market alone.
As someone who writes for a living and as a hobby, I have discovered that I cannot not write. Especially for kids, I’m driven to create smart, well-crafted stories that speak to us, not at us—the kind of stories that stick in your head and heart years after you’ve read them. And while I still feel enthusiastically green as an author, even in my limited foray into the industry, the best reward has been encouraging young writers to find their voices. There are great things that come from being able to write what you feel.
When I’m not writing, I volunteer at Minnetonka High School’s Writing Center (okay, perhaps that counts as writing), but I also sing in a choir and sail with my wife and kids as often as I can.