About the Author

H. Jane Tomlinson (b. 1918, d. 2001), “Mom” to her children and “Nana” to her grandchildren and great grandchildren was a lifelong resident of Altoona, Pennsylvania.  She was proud of her hometown and its role as a major city in America’s industrial and railroading heritage.  She loved history and reading and was a creative force on several fronts – from sewing to cooking to painting to storytelling.  It was this last talent that gave us the wonderful story of a little starfish who, through his curiosity and perseverance, achieved his dream to shine in the sky like a real star.   

As a young woman Jane worked in the Altoona Shuttlecock factory making Badminton birdies out of real feathers.  Like most women of her time, after marrying she spent her days raising her family and engaging in her community. From organizing fundraising drives as Ward Chairperson for the March of Dimes benefitting polio victims to serving as Troop leader in her children’s scouting pursuits, Jane was always active and engaged in life. In addition, she and her husband Francis “Bud” Tomlinson were fabulous dancers and excellent swimmers – gliding effortlessly across the dance floor and through the water. Jane spent her leisure hours in the company of family, especially her best friend and sister-in-law Catherine “Pinky” Spielvogle who led Jane on several humorous adventures, many occuring while their families vacationed together at the shore.  

Jane spent weeks at a time every summer with Bud and their extended family on the Jersey shore at Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  It was there that she fell in love with the ocean and all things related to the sea.  Sammy Starfish is the direct result of her affection for the shore.