Jena Ball is a writer, illustrator and educator who believes that fostering emotional intelligence in children is as important as teaching reading, writing and math. She began her career in Japan where she penned everything from technical papers, marketing collateral and ESL textbooks to speeches for SONY's Akio Morita. During her 30+ years as a freelancer, she has focused on the role animals play in keeping ecosystems and human beings healthy. In particular, she is fascinated by the way pets teach empathy, compassion and respect. This led to the development of the CritterKin series of children's books, which uses the stories of 8 goofy, mixed breed dogs to teach kids that animals (critters) are family (kin). Together with her business partner, Marty Keltz, the Emmy award winning producer of such celebrated children programs as "The Magic School Bus," "Goosebumps," and "Charles in Charge," she is translating the CritterKin stories into project based learning opportunities for teachers and students. The goal is to make learning entertaining, informative and practical, giving students a chance to experience and practice the skills they need to become compassionate, responsible adults.You can learn more about Jena at her websitehttp://jenaball.com or at www.critterkin.com.