Judy Ann Sadler - Author
Judy Ann Sadler started writing craft books for children when her kids were little. But she has always loved to read, write and make things. “I remember when I was about five, my very busy mom made a small pair of pajamas for my doll. I was so excited! I pretended to wash the pajamas, then I hung them on the fence to dry. When my back was turned, a cow pulled the pjs off the fence, slowly chewed them and swallowed! I was heartbroken, but then I tried sewing a new pair myself, and I got hooked on making stuff!”
Judy Ann still loves to make stuff, especially crafts for kids. She researches her topic, experiments with materials and ideas and comes up with fun projects that others will want to make, too. She feels passionate about passing on craft skills to children. She knows that making original, beautiful, useful items is amazing and wonderful, but there are also many other benefits to working with your hands: you become creative, curious, enthusiastic, resourceful, patient, passionate and generous. She feels that these are all qualities our children need to help make the world a better place.
Along with craft books, Judy Ann has written a picture book, craft columns and many magazine features. She has demonstrated crafty projects during many TV appearances and has made crafts with tens of thousands of children. She loves working in her cozy room surrounded by baskets of yarn, fabric, beads and many other craft supplies. Judy Ann also works part-time at two different libraries, one of which is so small it doesn't even have a washroom! She lives with her family in London, Ontario.
I was born in London, Ontario.
Where do you live now?
When did you start writing?
Ever since I was a kid, I've been keeping a diary. I started writing for children in about 1989.
When did you start making crafts?
I grew up in a big, busy family on a farm outside London, Ontario. With so many children, my mother had to be very handy with sewing, knitting, baking, cooking, gardening and being creative! I tried to be helpful and soon discovered how much I also enjoyed making things such as dresses, knitted scarves, embroidered pictures and little dolls. I still do!
What is your favorite book?
There are so many fabulous books! I think Red is Best by Kathy Stinson is a perfect picture book. I also adore Jelly Belly by Dennis Lee and Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. I think my favorite book for adults is Knowledge of Angels by Jill Paton Walsh. It's amazing!
What is your favorite food?
My favorite foods are new potatoes, popcorn, poppy seed cake and chocolate-covered almonds.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to write, read, sew, quilt, knit, cork, bake, hike, and most of all, spend time with my family.
How did you get involved with children's books?
When my children were little, I became interested in writing picture books. I took a writing for children course where I met some kindred spirits. They helped me realize that I should try writing non-fiction, too. I thought about the crafts I enjoyed doing with my children and soon put together a proposal for a printmaking book. I sent it off, and Kids Can Press soon wrote back requesting more.
Do you have any tips for young creators?
Read and write as much as you can! Stay curious and interested in many things.
What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I love thinking of kids having as much fun creating stuff from my books as I do!
How do you research or create your books?
When I start a new book, I gather together the supplies I think I'll need and spend a few weeks or months trying out my ideas. I love reading about the history of crafts and sometimes I speak to experts. I always try to come up with new projects and I have a wonderful time making samples.
Where do you get your ideas?
I love playing with craft materials so I just keep trying new things. I also love to see traditional crafts. I enjoy seeing what children and other adults make and get inspired by their creations, too.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to teach children in far-off lands.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
One of the farm jobs my brothers and sisters and I disliked most was picking stones in the fields so that my dad could plant corn. Yuk!
Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or crafts?
I think the only way I can write a good book is if I fill it with creativity, enthusiasm and fun.