This week’s Saturday Spotlight is a tribute to Judith Kerr (14 June 1923 – 22 May 2019).
My mum would read me Judith’s books as a child and now I read them to my daughter, especially, Mog the Forgetful Cat. The Tiger Who Came to Tea was one of my absolute favourite books as a child. I would read it on my bed and look out of the window, hoping the tiger would visit me for tea.
I didn’t know that much about Judith’s life until this week. However, there have been some wonderful articles written about her and personal stories shared via Twitter. Here are a few things that really stuck out to me from the pieces I’ve read:
In the BBC Obituary, I found it so inspiring to hear Judith’s path to becoming a writer and creating the iconic story The Tiger Who Came to Tea as a full-time mum of two:
“It got really very boring,” she later recalled. “We’d go for a walk and have tea, and that was it really. And we wished someone would come. So I thought well, why not have a tiger come?”
I also came across this lovely interview with Judith by The Book Trust to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Tiger Who Came to Tea last year:
“I make up stories now which I hope children will like and which amuse me, but I no longer have this thing of knowing a small child very, very well and therefore, writing a story absolutely tailor-made to that child. In the first Mog book the policeman comes and he says, ‘I’ve known watch dogs but never a watch cat!’ and my son, who loved words, I knew he would think that was wonderful.”
In the Guardian Obituary by Julia Eccleshare, I discovered Judith wrote Goodbye Mog because she was thinking about her own death. This made me laugh:
Soon after her 87th birthday she told an audience in Edinburgh that she’d had a dream about her own funeral and that after it her children had gone straight to McDonald’s. “I was furious,” she said in mock seriousness, amid much laughter from the audience, “that they had hardly waited until I was dead to start eating junk food!”
I also loved this beautiful piece: A life in pictures by The Guardian.
Thank you, Judith, for giving us so many wonderful stories.