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Photograph of Jessica McCann

Jessica McCann, Historical Novelist

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Exhibitor 2020

About Jessica McCann, Historical Novelist

Jessica McCann is a published novelist and has worked as a professional freelance writer and editor for magazines, universities, corporations and nonprofits for 30 years. Her creative nonfiction and reporting has appeared in Business Week, The Writer, Phoenix, ASU Research and more than 50 other publications. She also is a frequent speaker/presenter at writers’ conferences and book-related events. Her debut historical novel, All Different Kinds of Free, won the Freedom in Fiction Prize from The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Her second novel, Peculiar Savage Beauty, was named 2018 Book of the Year by the Arizona Authors Association. McCann lives with her family in Phoenix and draws inspiration for her writing by spending time enjoying nature and the outdoors. Visit her website to learn more about McCann’s novels and writing journey.

Fair Activities

Stop by Historical Novelist Jessica McCann’s booth on February 22 to participate in Books-for-Treats. Donate a children’s or YA book for a low-income Halloween trick-or-treater and receive a delicious treat in exchange (packaged cookies, candy bars, Kind Bars, etc.).

In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is shocking: 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Even in middle-income neighborhoods, the ratio is a dismal 13 to 1 (Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2). Yet, having access to books at a young age and learning to read is vital to long-term success.

For the past seven years, McCann has given out books for treats at Halloween. She came across the idea online and did it the first time as a creative way to give away all the books her children had outgrown (i.e. board books, early-reader chapter books, middle grade novels, etc.). It was a huge hit. Many children rarely receive books as gifts, so getting a book for Halloween was a special treat.

And the kids remember the gift year after year. They run up the driveway saying, “This is the book house!” Often, children take their time going through the baskets to find just the right book, while parents laugh and say, “Just pick one!” Teenage trick-or-treaters are some of the biggest fans; they’re both grateful and skeptical. “Are you sure I can just HAVE this?” Every year, McCann and her husband buy more books than the year before, and they still always run out before the night ends.

Books donated during the literary fair will be given to trick-or-treaters in low-income neighborhoods, as well as at UMOM New Day Centers, Halloween 2020. If you forget to bring one, you can purchase a book from one of the fair vendors, including Bookmans.