Red Vest Review

Choosing Children’s: Joyce Sidman

Joyce-SidmanTell us about yourself: “I am a children’s book author and teacher. I spend my days trying to capture, in words, the stories of what goes on around us. And when I visit schools to teach writing residencies, I try to encourage children to do the same: to put a little part of themselves in words.”

“My main passions are words, books, and the outdoors. I was always writing or drawing as a child, using words or pictures to help me understand and celebrate the world. My career has been in children’s literature, mostly poetry books about the natural world. I also love photography. A good day for me is: wake up early, wander around outside and photograph the little creatures I find in my gardens, then go to my desk and write. Or: a day of teaching in a classroom of kids who are a having fun experimenting with words.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of my books recognized with major awards. That means I get to travel to national conferences, give presentations and meet authors, teachers, and librarians from all over the country. It can be very thrilling! But at heart, I am a homebody. I am happiest when I have a good idea percolating in my imagination, and the time to write it down.”

 What led you to volunteer at Children’s? “When my two sons were young, I volunteered in their schools. But eventually they grew up (darn them!), so I looked for some other way to contribute. Even though I am not in medicine, the field fascinates me. My husband would come home every day with stories from Children’s, and I thought: I’d love to know what it’s really like there. So I made the plunge, gravitating toward the library because I know books. That was almost fifteen years ago, and I’ve never looked back.”

 “Working in the library is a wonderful mix of visiting with kids (and parents) and handling books. I love trundling the big library wagon around the floors and seeing kids’ faces light up when we have just the right book for them. I enjoy chatting with their parents, and helping them relax for a moment in their stressful day. I love working with the staff in the Family Resource Center and watching the kids in Sibling Play while I’m shelving books. Working at Children’s takes me out of my quiet writing world and into a rich community of people helping other people.”