Behind the Scenes with Judy Carey Nevin

Mommies like big hugs.

Mommies like kisses.

Mommies like “Good morning to you!”

And we’re guessing mommies will also like this adorable picture book What Mommies Like by Judy Carey Nevin, illustrated by Stephanie Six. Here’s a behind-the-scenes conversation with author Judy Carey Nevin.

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

This is actually kind of funny–I never set out to BE an author. I was an editor for Viking Children’s Books for 6 years in the late 90s; everyone used to ask, “So, do you want to write, too?” and I would always, always say no, that I preferred working with other people’s words. Fast-forward to 2013 when our daughter was born and I was home for 6 weeks, reading book after book to her. Add to that my renewed friendship with my former colleague, former graphic designer Teresa Kietlinski. Teresa was an agent by then and she had suggested it might be time for me to start writing. She had always thought I should write. So I started playing around writing simple texts that might go with some of her illustrators’ samples until the idea for What Daddies Like came along (again inspired in part by our daughter). Once I got going, I was constantly brainstorming, thinking of early, super-young texts for reading with little ones.

2. How did you come up with the idea for What Mommies Like?

After doing a book for daddies, it was only natural that mommies should come next. The hardest part at first was to create a list of things mommies like that would be different from the things I had already included with the daddies book. Ultimately, both mommies and daddies like most of the same things–hugs, games, songs, quiet time, snuggles, etc. As a result, the mommies book has a field trip to the library (I’m a librarian).


3. Which page fromWhat Mommies Like was your favorite to write? Why?

I like the line that says mommies like hullabaloo. It’s such a fun word to say! But now that the text has been paired with Steph’s art, I love the picture of the mom and cub with the wreaths of flowers on their heads. And I LOVE the page that the reviewers have all latched onto, the one where the child is reading to the mom from a book about worms as they eat spaghetti at the table. I love how Steph’s art changes the interpretation of what are very simple lines of text.

4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

My full-time job is as a library administrator at a college library. I’m fortunate that my job doesn’t follow me home–but a lot of books seems to. Our daughter is five. We’re moving into a brand-new house in a week (eeeek!). So right now, I’m either playing Uno, building a fort, reading books, or packing boxes. I’m also a knitter, but I haven’t been doing much of that lately.

5. What was your favorite book to read as child?

I was such an obsessed bookworm when I was a kid, I’m not sure I could choose just one book. I was one of those kids who fell asleep with a book in my hand; I read at the bus stop, I read in the car. (I tried to read in the bathtub like my mom did, and that didn’t go well…) I loved Sylvester and the Magic Pebble so much that I stole part of the plot for a story I wrote in 1st or 2nd grade: I wrote that there was a cow with a new umbrella who found a magic pebble and wished it would rain so she could use her umbrella. It rained so much, she got sick and died. This story came complete with a drawing of a headstone and an umbrella! I also loved Anne of Green Gables–my middle name is Anne with an ‘e’ so I identified with Anne right away.