Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr

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Judith Kerr was born in Berlin in 1923 into a Jewish family. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. They fled Germany just before Hitler came to power, and went to Switzerland, France, and eventually Britain. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, her 1971 children’s novel, recreates this experience, and won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1974. During the war Judith worked for the Red Cross helping wounded soldiers before winning a scholarship to study at the Central School for Arts and Crafts.

Although she always dreamed of becoming a famous author, it wasn’t until her own children were learning to read that she started to write and illustrate books for children. The Tiger Who Came to Tea, was the book that launched her career in 1968. It started as a favourite bedtime story that she was asked to tell again and again to her three year old daughter Tacy, and it has gone on to sell over 5 million copies and has never been out of print.

Her wonderful series of Mog stories came from observing the strange things that their own family cats did. Judith says,

‘Our first family cat was called Mog and I was so amazed by the weird things she did –licking my daughter’s hair as she slept –that I made a picture book. My current cat, Katinka, makes me open the back door for her, like a person; I don’t know how she’s done it.’

Judith says that she cannot remember a time when she didn’t want to draw. She says,

‘I need to work. I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t working. Even if one’s made a total mess of the work all day, you go to bed and you think: well, tomorrow I’m going to redraw those legs, or whatever it is.’

In 2012 she was appointed OBE for services to children’s literature and Holocaust education. She lives in a house in Barnes where she has lived for the past 51 years. She has a daughter called Tacy who is a designer and a son called Matthew who is a novelist.

Books by Judith Kerr

The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Mog series (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Bombs on Aunt Dainty (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
A Small Person Far Away (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
When Willy Went to the Wedding (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
How Mrs Monkey Missed the Ark (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Birdie Halleluyah! (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Other Goose (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Goose in a Hole (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Twinkles, Arthur and Puss (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
One Night in the Zoo (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
My Henry (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Great Granny Gang (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Judith Kerr's Creatures (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Crocodile Under the Bed (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Mr Cleghorn's Seal (Harper Collins Children’s Books)

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