About Karen

About Author Karen Jean Matsko Hood

Prolific writer Karen Hood's biographical information about author, poet, cook, feminist, and child advocate.

Karen Jean Matsko Hood was born in Great Falls, Montana, where she attended St. Gerard's Elementary School and graduated from Great Falls Central Catholic High School. Hood received scholarships from the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota, and also attended St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

After student teaching high school biology and living in Minnesota for four years, she married James Hood, her college sweetheart, in her home state of Montana. From there, Hood and her husband moved to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, where they both taught junior high and high school math and sciences. They then moved to Iowa City, Iowa, where she worked as a research assistant and a part-time teacher for four years.

In 1980, Hood and her husband moved to Spokane, Washington. She currently lives in Greenacres, Washington with her husband, 16 children, and a foster child. Her many experiences have inspired her to continue to conduct research and write amidst her busy household.

She has continued her education by taking a variety of postgraduate classes at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington; University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Spokane Community College, Spokane Washington; Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane, Washington; Taylor University, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Lewis-Clark State College, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. She is currently working to complete a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies through Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Hood is an active child advocate and is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in the Spokane Juvenile Court System. She and her husband have also provided a home for many foster children, and they have adopted children into their family from the United States and foreign countries.

About the Author

Karen Jean Matsko Hood began her professional writing career later in life than she expected. She is now a prolific writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for adults and children. Hood’s first books of poetry present a distinctive combination of themes and poetic formats. Both her fiction and non-fiction exhibit a unique voice of compassion and purpose. The recurring theme in Hood’s non-fiction is providing a voice for those whose struggles are otherwise ignored. Hood’s writing is strong-minded yet lyrical. She is a meticulous wordsmith and writes with passion. She is versatile in her writing style and deals with a wide range of themes and topics. Her writing has been published in a myriad of magazines and publications and on an international level.

About the Poet

Hood’s writing reminds us of the importance of our link with nature and the environment in our daily lives. Her blend of traditionalism and modernism brings a current freshness and uniqueness to her poetic voice. Demonstrating common crises essential to our core, her poetry also voices outrage at social injustices, and inequalities. Hood’s poetry brings poignancy to the most hopeless of situations. She is optimistic in her quest for dignity and social justice. Hood also writes about personal and spiritual themes, is a passionate feminist and an ardently active child’s rights advocate. She writes with a proud regionalism, yet expands her writing to international concerns. Hood reveals her twin hearts in her writing: One is in awe of the beauty of life and nature, while the other struggles with social injustice and inequity.

About the Researcher

As a researcher Karen Jean Matsko Hood places her focus on child abuse and neglect and drug abuse. She also researches to find possible solutions to these growing social problems. Hood has incorporated the studies of findings of research and drug abuse in families in her writings. Hood’s research topics include such diverse topics as education, attachment disorder, attachment disorder therapy and treatment, the foster care system, human development, parenting, adoption, health, and historical topics. Hood uses her B.S. Degree in Natural Science along with her research training in her Ph.D. program to conduct research on various plants and animal topics including equine, canine, and botanical research.

About the Cook

Karen Jean Matsko Hood has always enjoyed cooking, baking, and experimenting with recipes. Hood entertains large groups of people and especially enjoys designing creative menus with holiday, international, ethnic, and regional themes. At this time Hood is working to complete a series of cookbooks that blends her skills and experience in cooking and entertaining.

In the Cookbook Delights Series, each cookbook emphasizes a different food ingredient or theme. The first cookbook in the series is Apple Delights Cookbook. Hood is also working to complete another series of cookbooks titled Hood and Matsko Family Cookbooks, which includes many recipes handed down from her family heritage and others that have emerged from more current family traditions. She has appeared on television giving cooking demonstrations. To view some of these, visit www.cookingwithkaren.com.

About the Teacher

Karen Hood is a certified teacher in Washington and Idaho. In the State of Washington, Hood is currently certified to teach grades 6-12 in the areas of anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and comparative religions. In the State of Idaho, she is certified to teach grades 6-12 in the areas of anthropology, sociology, psychology, and biology science. She is especially interested in combining the principles of leadership and finding improved methods in education. She is also interested in finding ways to improve the current educational system. Hood is also a member for the Center for Organizational Reform (COR), which advocates using leadership skills to bring about positive changes in organizations, companies, and schools.

About the Speaker

As a speaker Karen Hood appears on many talk show radio interviews throughout the nation. She has been invited to speak on talk radio shows on various topics, and favorite recipes from her cookbooks have been prepared on local television programs. If you would like to invite Karen Jean Matsko Hood to speak to your group or organization, we invite you to contact Hood. She would be happy to get in touch with you to set up arrangements for speaking to your group.

About the Child Advocate

Karen Hood is an avid child advocate. She works with children as a foster parent in the State of Washington as well as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer in the juvenile court system in Spokane County. Hood and her husband have a strong passion to fight for the plight of abused and neglected children and the rights of all children on a local, national, and international level. Hood is also Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and a CASA volunteer for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. Hood is an advocate of literacy for children and has written many articles and books on this subject. She also has written many articles on the rights of children and is currently working on books about the plight of children.

Biography and Credentials

Karen Hood was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. As an undergraduate, she attended the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She also attended the University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Montana. Hood received a B.S. Degree in Natural Science from the College of St. Benedict and minored in both Psychology and Secondary Education. Upon her graduation, Hood and her husband taught science and math on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hood has completed postgraduate classes at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. In May 2001, she completed her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She has taken postgraduate classes at Lewis and Clark College on the North Idaho college campus in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hood is working on research projects to complete her Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.


Karen Hood resides in Greenacres, Washington, along with her husband, 16 children, and foster children. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, collecting various collectibles and antiques, photography, indoor and outdoor gardening, and the cultivation of unusual flowering plants and orchids. She enjoys raising several specialty breeds of animals including Icelandic horses, bichons frisés, cockapoos, Icelandic sheepdogs, and a few rescue cats. Hood also enjoys bird-watching and finds all aspects of nature precious. She demonstrates a passionate appreciation of the environment and a respect for all life.