Judy Schachner on Taking Her Mind Off Everything With Cat Puppets
From the NewberyTart Podcast
NewberyTart is a podcast about kids’ books, for adults, and is recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, by two friends who approach the Newbery thing from very different, but surprisingly complementary, directions.
On today’s episode, Marcy and Jennie discuss… well, mostly cat puppets, with beloved author Judy Schachner.
From the episode:
Judy Schachner: I started to feel like I needed to do something for all of the home schoolers and teachers and librarians who are out there and looking for things to do. So I don’t really know how much these cat puppets have helped, but I have heard from a few parents privately and they’ve sent me pictures of of puppets that their kids have made. One mom wrote to me and said that her children absolutely squealed when they see one puppet that I had made that was a little insane-looking and that just made me so happy. So when I started making [the cat puppets], that was the purpose.
These days are so stressful. I have two daughters who live far away from us, and I was missing them and wondering if I’ll ever get to see them again. I had a hard time concentrating on my books, so I just decided to to try [crafting these cat puppets]. My youngest daughter’s a composer, so each and every time I made one of these little visuals, I would get to use some of her music. Some of it is very old because she’s used to write for TV a lot, and there are a lot of demos in there. I got to use some of her music and make these little things up. So I found that working on them just took my mind off of everything, and I just became obsessed with with making these cats.
Best known for her Skippyjon Jones series, Judy Schachner has illustrated many of her own stories, including the much-loved The Grannyman and its companion book, Bits & Pieces. She has also illustrated stories by others, including I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson and How the Cat Swallowed Thunder by Lloyd Alexander. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.