I am a Middle Grade fiction writer and a professor of geography.
I like to write about secret agents and hidden things and my current work is about a boy named Al, who happens to be a secret agent. At the university, I teach students about geography and how we understand physical earth systems and human cultures. I research political geographies related to the promotion of peace in the face of conflict and terrorism.
Also, I am an expert in cartography – which is map making. It has been a passion of mine since the 7th grade. I really enjoy working with students conducting research along themes in geography and I’ve built many online mapping systems. From clean water projects in Liberia to the dunes of Michigan, my mapping efforts help people understand the amazing world we live in.
I live in western Michigan in the United States of America. My wife and I home school our four children. When not in school, we love to hang out, play board/card games, swim, camp, and go to church. We are obsessed with reading and books are everywhere in our home.
Awards, Honors, & Affiliations
Writer Mission Statement – Jason VanHorn
Thanks to #StorySocial
I am a PhD geographer and a weaver of imagination. I write middle grade fiction to encourage reading and creative thinking. I am interested in helping children fall in love with reading and to encourage them to tell their own stories. I strive to write adventures children will fall into and write characters that children can relate to.
It is unique to have a PhD in geography and be a fiction writer. It is an amazing combination to bring together my training as a thinker of physical and human geographical interactions at multiple scales with that of fiction – metaphors of reality. My metaphors of reality, paint pictures with words to help young readers become lifetime readers. Oh, and I cannot help but make maps as geographer, so I put links in my books to interactive maps on my website for my middle grade readers .
My goals as a writer are simple. I write for my children and therefore, for all children. I strive to write and improve my craft every day, engage with the writing community through multiple avenues, and to find writers who will help me improve with honest critique.
Every day I bring a professional approach to my craft, recognizing that writing is difficult, must be done without fear or trepidation, is not always fair, requires support from other writers in community, and takes time with hard work. Regardless of difficulty, I know writing can be done with humility, kindness, and joy and this is the attitude I bring to my profession every day.