Judy Sierra

Judy Sierra

I took a roundabout path to becoming a children's author. Out of college I did temporary work in offices and libraries, while at night, I wrote poetry and made strange life forms from cloth. When I teamed up with a puppeteer, Bob Kaminski (my husband), I was able to bring my cloth creations to life. We began performing on the streets of San Francisco, at Renaissance fairs, and at schools. After attending a workshop on Balinese shadow puppetry, we traveled to Bali and Java to learn ancient techniques from modern masters, and we adapted material from American folklore to the shadow screen. I became so fascinated by the power of ancient myth and folktale to engage a modern audience that I enrolled in the Folklore and Mythology Program at UCLA, where I received my Ph.D. While I was a student there, I attended a talk by the author-illustrator Uri Shulevitz, and heard him say that a picture book is like a small theater. A puppet theater is also a small theater, I thought. I can do that! My first children's books were adaptations of folktales, and soon, I was able to incorporate my lifelong habit of writing poetry into my work.

Currently (2018), I live in Portland, Oregon, with my husband. I divide my writing time between children's books and a long term project on folktales, grandmothers and cultural evolution.

Books by Judy Sierra