Judy Sierra

poet & folklorist


For the past twenty-five years, Judy has been creating humorous stories for children using rhymes that have been acclaimed as “Seussian,” including WILD ABOUT BOOKS, E-I-E-I-O, COUNTING CROCODILES, ANTARCTIC ANTICS and THE SECRET SCIENCE PROJECT THAT ALMOST ATE THE SCHOOL. She also edits collections of folktales and folklore for children.

Judy is both a storyteller and an expert in traditional storytelling, and all of her writing for children is meant to be shared out loud. WILD ABOUT BOOKS, a celebration of reading and libraries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, and won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award from the U.S. Association of Booksellers for Children. Her collection of folktales, NURSERY TALES AROUND THE WORLD, received the Aesop Prize from the American Folklore Society, and was named a notable book by the American Library Association, and one of the Best Books of the 20th Century by the San Francisco Chronicle. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA.

Judy Sierra’s love of poetry was nurtured by her mother and father, who read poems to her and rewarded her for learning them by heart. By the time she was in second grade, she was writing her school reports in rhyme, and had created her first homemade comic books. In high school, she edited the literary magazine and drew cartoons for the school newspaper.

Before becoming a children’s author, Judy was a professional puppeteer and storyteller. Along with her husband, Bob Kaminski, she criss-crossed the country to perform at schools, libraries, theaters and Renaissance festivals. Their shadow puppet production of the Chinese legend of Monkey King was featured in a residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Judy Sierra has given presentations on writing, poetry, storytelling, and children's folklore the National Book Festival, writers' conferences, for the American Library Association, International Reading Association, and at schools and libraries worldwide. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Personal appearances: Contact judysbooks@​gmail.com

Complete Booklist

FOR CHILDREN

Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems. Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Harcourt, 1998.

The Beautiful Butterfly. Illustrated by Victoria Chess. Clarion, 2000.

Can You Guess My Name? Classic Tales Around the World. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Clarion, 2002.

Coco and Cavendish: Circus Dogs. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. Random House, 2003.

Coco and Cavendish: Fire Dogs. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. Random House, 2004.

Counting Crocodiles. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Harcourt, 1997.

The Dancing Pig. Illustrated by Jesse Sweetwater. Harcourt, 1999.

E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (With a Little Help from a Hen). Illustrated by Matthew Myers. Candlewick, 2014.

The Elephant's Wrestling Match. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Lodestar, 1992.

The Gift of the Crocodile. Illustrated by Reynold Ruffins. Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Good Night, Dinosaurs. Illustrated by Victoria Chess. Clarion, 1996.

Gruesome Guide to World Monsters. Illustrated by Henrik Drescher. Candlewick, 2005.

The House That Drac Built. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Harcourt, 1995.

Monster Goose. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. Harcourt 2001.

Never Kick a Ghost, and Other Silly Chillers. Illustrated by Pascale Constantin. HarperCollins, 2011.

Nursery Tales Around the World. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Clarion, 1996.

Preschool to the Rescue. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Harcourt, 2001.

Schoolyard Rhymes. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, 2005.

The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School. Illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Simon and Schuster, 2006.

Silly and Sillier: Read Aloud Tales from Around the World. Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Knopf, 2002.

Sleepy Little Alphabet. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, 2009.

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur. Illustrated by Tim Bowers. Knopf, 2011.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons. Illustrated by Meilo So. Knopf, 1999.

Thelonius Monster’s Sky High Fly Pie. Illustrated by Edward Koren. Knopr, 2006.

There’s a Zoo in Room 22. Illustrated by Barney Saltzberg. Harcourt, 2000.

‘Twas the Fright Before Christmas. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Harcourt 2002.

We Love Our School. Illustrated by Linda Davick. Knopf, 2011.

What Time Is It, Mr. Crocodile? Illustrated by Doug Cushman. Harcourt, 2004.

Wild About Books. Illustrated by Marc Brown. Knopf, 2004.

Wild About You. Illustrated by Marc Brown. Knopf, 2011.

Wiley and the Hairy Man. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Lodestar, 1996.

ZooZical. Illustrated by Marc Brown. Knopf, 2011.

FOR ADULTS

Celtic Baby Names. Folkprint, 1997.

Children's Traditional Games. (with Bob Kaminski). Oryx, 1995.

Cinderella (Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series). Oryx, 1992.

Fantastic Theater: Puppets and Plays for Young Players and Young Audiences. H.W. Wilson, 1991.

The Flannel Board Storytelling Book. H.W. Wilson, 1987. 2nd ed., 1997.

Multicultural Folktales. (with Bob Kaminski). Oryx, 1991.

Spanish Baby Names. Folkprint, 2002.

Storytellers' Research Guide: Folktales, Myths and Legends. Folkprint, 1996.

Twice Upon a Time: Stories to Tell, Retell, Act Out and Write About (with Bob Kaminski). H.W. Wilson, 1989.


Wild About Books
Illustrated by Marc Brown. Knopf, 2004.

New York Times #1 Children's Bestseller.
Association of Booksellers for Children's E.B. White
Read-Aloud Award
Book Sense (Independent Booksellers) Book of the Year
Honor Book
Bank Street College of Education's Irma Simonton Black
Honor Book
American Library Association Notable Book

"Sierra's text has a wacky verve and enough clever asides and allusions to familiar characters to satisfy bibliophiles of all ages. "
School Library Journal (starred review)

"A wonderful advertisement for the joys of a literary life."
Booklist (starred review)


The Sleepy Little Alphabet
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, 2009.

Horn Book Fanfare

IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Award

“The jaunty text and subversive humor in this hybrid alphabet book/​bedtime story will certainly lead to repeat readings and new discoveries.”

Horn Book (starred review)


The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Simon and Schuster, 2006.

Ladybug Picture Book Award (Children’s Choice,
New Hampshire)
Golden Sower Award (Children’s Choice, Nebraska)

"In the tradition of Casey at the Bat and Edgar Allen Poe."
—Daniel Pinkwater on NPR’s Weekend Edition


Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf.
Illustrated by J. Otto Seibold. Knopf, 2010.

“This brilliant retelling deserves a place at the head of the fractured-fairy-tale pack.”
School Library Journal


Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems
Illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. Harcourt, 1998.

American Library Association Carnegie Medal
(for the Weston Woods animated video)


Counting Crocodiles
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Harcourt, 1997.

IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Award

“This is one of the most delightful picture books around!”

—Amazon.com Staff Reviewer