Author Profile

Jessica Herthel

Jessica Herthel Jessica Herthel is the co-author of I Am Jazz, a children’s picture book about a transgender girl, published by Penguin Books in September 2014.  A graduate of Harvard Law School, Jessica spent several years in private law practice in New York, Los Angeles, and Boca Raton before taking time off to raise her three daughters and travel abroad for two years in the United Arab Emirates.  Upon returning to Florida, Jessica began working on LGBTQ-inclusive projects with Broward County Public Schools’ Office of Diversity, Cultural Outreach & Prevention.  In that office Jessica oversaw the development of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum and lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students; she was also the primary editor of Broward County’s “LGBTQ Critical Support Guide” which is currently being implemented throughout the district. Until her family's relocation in 2015 to Orange County, California, Jessica spent three years serving as the Director of the Stonewall National Education Project and hosting their annual national symposium of school districts. She will have appeared in all three seasons of the docuseries "I Am Jazz" on TLC, and now Jessica concentrates on national speaking engagements and private consulting for school districts.Jessica Herthel is the co-author of the critically acclaimed children's picture book about a transgender girl, entitled I Am Jazz. The American Library Association recently ranked I Am Jazz number 3 on its list of the country's Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2015, and it is consistently named a Best Seller in Amazon's children's sections. Today, Jessica travels around the country speaking to students, parents, teachers, politicians, and non-profit groups about how to use the book as a teaching tool, and why it is imperative to make schools and communities a safer place for all children. Her mix of booksmarts and humor can put even the most reluctant audiences at ease. And because Jessica comes to this work as a straight ally, no question is off-limits or too personal. A session with Jessica provides audiences with a better understanding of what it means to be transgender or a transgender ally in today's rapidly changing world; and how to support unconditionally the friends, students, coworkers, or family members in our lives our lives who, for whatever reason, need to be reminded that "different is special."
"Jessica Herthel breaks down barriers and teaches tolerance in an easy-to-understand and non-threatening way. Her presentations are dynamic and anecdotal. You will laugh and cry and think a little bit more afterwards how you can also make this world a better place. She speaks in an accessible manner on a subject that can be sensitive and make some uncomfortable. It's nice to know there are upstanders like Jessica in this world. I highly recommend her book and programs."
-- Cindy Muchnick, parent (Tustin Public Library reading)

"Thank you for enriching our district with your time and talents! Feedback from parents and kids has been so positive about the message, the book, and your style and approach. We could not appreciate you more!"
-- Grace Jones, school psychologist (Top of the World Elementary School)

"[Jessica] did an excellent job of presenting a difficult subject. [She] presented the information in a very kind, understandable manner. I think we all left with information that helps us to understand and to inform others who may have difficulty dealing with transgender topics."
-- Cynthia W., parent (Temple Bat Yahm)

For more about Jessica and her works, go to

Videos featuring Jessica Herthel

Jazz Has A Book Signing

The Insider - Jazz Jennings / Jessica Herthel

CNN Transgender Issues: Digital Shorts