Profile: Janna Cawrse Esarey and Family

Janna's memoir, The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife (Simon & Schuster 2009), is about sailing across the Pacific on her honeymoon. She enjoys talking with book clubs because most can relate to the ups and downs of love . . . even if they've never set foot on a sailboat.

Who are you and who are your family members?

Janna Cawrse Esarey, partner Graeme, daughters Talia (Kindergarten) and Savai (age 3)

How did McDonald Elementary enter your lives?

We pounced on the language immersion program when we heard about it from Wallingford friends. We live over on Queen Anne so felt fortunate that Tali got in. Not sure Savai will be as lucky when she enters Kindergarten in a couple years.

What occupies your time?

I used to be a teacher but am now a part-time mom, part-time writer, working on my next book--a novel about (surprise, surprise) a teacher. Graeme works at a company that makes outdoor gadgets--candle lanterns, sporks, that ice cream ball you kick around your campsite. Tali loves arts & crafts and, since the Move-a-thon, has been surprisingly into running. Savai calls herself a "sailor girl" and takes extreme pride in climbing higher, faster, farther than her big sis.

What would you like our community to know about you?

I enjoy working with Secret Garden Books and my writing partner (a mom at Lowell) to bring children's authors to our school. We helped organize Dan Gutman's recent visit. If you have any suggestions (or connections!) about whom to host next, drop me a line at Or if you ever want to talk shop (a.k.a. writing), feel free.

What are your hopes for the future?

Behind social justice (in general) and full, equitable funding for Seattle Public Schools (in particular) . . . we hope to go cruising with kids in the next few years, perhaps around the world--though all cruising routes are made in Jell-O.

Can you share a favorite or memorable elementary school moment from your past?

When I was in fifth grade they bussed us all down to Olympia wearing "The Future is in the Kids" buttons to rally support for school funding. I remember singing Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock n' Roll" at the top of our voices all the way down and all the way back. How sad and frustrating (not to mention illegal) that our schools are still grossly under-funded. Makes me appreciate our amazing teachers all the more.

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