PERSONAL: Born in England; children: two daughters.
CAREER: Teacher in Hampshire, England, including at Locks Heath Junior High School; South Wonston School, writer-in-residence, 2002; Southhampton University, tutor in creative-writing program; visiting author and leader of writing workshops and clubs.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Picture Book designation, English Association, 1998, and Nevada Young Readers Award, and Children's Book Award, Florida Reading Association, both 2001, all for Mouse, Look Out!; Children's Book Federation Award, 1999, for translation of Laura's Star by Klaus Baumgart.
Mouse, Look Out!, illustrated by Norma Burgin, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Storm Seal, illustrated by Neil Reed, Crocodile Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Stray Kitten, Crocodile Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Nanuark: A Bear in the Wilderness, illustrated by Norma Burgin, Little Tiger (London, England), 2003.
Look out the Window Picture Book, Big Book Rigby (Oxford, England), 2003.
Digging for Dinosaurs ("Flying Foxes" series), illustrated by Garry Parsons, Crabtree Publishing Co. (New York, NY), 2004.
Also author of Fox Beware and I Wish I Had a Monster
"HORSE HEALER" SERIES
Eclipse, Hippo (London, England), 1999.
Puzzle, Hippo (London, England), 1999.
Sapphire, Hippo (London, England), 1999.
Starlight, Hippo (London, England), 2000.
Shopaholic, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2001, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2003.
Shadow, Walker (London, England), 2002.
A Trick of the Mind, Oxford University Press (Oxford England), 2003, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
Forbidden, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Cheat!, Heinemann Educational (Oxford, England), 1999.
Star Striker, Heinemann Educational (Oxford, England), 1999.
Deep Water, Heinemann Educational (Oxford, England), 1999.
The Singing Princess, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
(With Andrew Melrose) Foul Play, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
A Mammoth Mistake, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
Tiger Hunt, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
A Prince among Donkeys, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
Eerie Encounters, Rigby Literacy (Oxford, England), 2000.
Pet Rescue, Heinemann Educational (Oxford, England), 2000.
Animal Heroes, Heinemann Educational (Oxford, England), 2000.
Robbie in the River, Ginn & Company (Oxford, England), 2000.
Klaus Baumgart, Laura's Secret, Tiger Tales (Wilton, CT), 2003.
Klaus Baumgart, Laura's Christmas Star, Tiger Tales (Wilton, CT), 2003.
Also translator of picture books Laura's Star and Too Scary by Baumgart, both both published by Magi Publications.
Contributor of poems and short stories to anthologies, including Essentail Texts, Heinemann Educational, 1998; Phenomenal Future Stories, Corgi Books, 1999; The Hairy Hamster Hunt edited by Tony Bradman, 1999; and Werewolf Granny, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: British children's writer Judy Waite, who was born in England and raised in Singapore, writes for children at all levels, and has produced picture books, intermediate-level readers, and teen fiction. Waite began writing picture books when her daughters were young. Her award-winning Mouse, Look Out! is about a mouse being stalked by a black cat in a spooky abandoned house. Waite keeps the stalking just short of scary as the mouse hides in ivy-covered walls, the bristles of a broom, an old shoe, and other nooks and crannies. In each scene, the mouse is warned that "there's a cat about" on pages that display the eyes of an owl. Cobwebs, autumn leaves, and other darker accents are balanced with a teddy bear and a straw hat. As the story continues, it becomes evident that there is also a dog about. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted "the layers of one watching the other, reader, owl and cat, heighten the suspense, and the surprise ending."
The Storm Seal is the tale of an injured seal pup who is rescued from a net by a sailor who nurses it back to health. When the man becomes ill, the neighborhood children take over the little seal's care, but they get carried away, dressing it and trying to teach it tricks. The sailor explains to them that this is wrong, and that the seal is a wild animal that must be returned to the seawhen it is strong enough. Marianne Saccardi wrote in School Library Journal that "Waite's sometimes lyrical text takes readers from the 'exploding night' of the storm to the satisfying moment of the seal's return to the sea."
Shopaholic is Waite's first young-adult novel and tells the story of fourteen-year-old Taylor, an English teen who feels responsible for the drowning death of a younger sister and who has taken over most of the household chores to relieve her depressed mother. Taylor's childhood friends Sophie and Sam seem to be drifting away, but the girl finds a new friends in Kat, a beautiful but troubled teen who wants to be a model. In order to keep this new friendship, Taylor dips into the household money her grandfather leaves each week for family support and takes Kat shopping. When Taylor's mother is put on a new medication that helps her focus, she begins to see Kat's manipulation. Together mother and daughter begin to explore the facts surrounding the sister's death and begin the healing process.
Deborah Stevenson, reviewing Shopaholic for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, noted that with shopping being such an integral part of most teen's lives, "it's surprising there's been so few books that really address it; without heavy-handedly hammering home the moral of responsibility, Waite captures the pleasures and temptations of the mall." School Library Journal contributor Catherine Ensley called the book "an engaging, emotionally wrenching read." "Though dark in places, this tale winds to a brighter and satisfying close," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
The protagonists of A Trick of the Mind, Erin and Matt, are both outsiders who struggle with their fatherless childhoods and their identity in different ways. Erin is an amateur magician, and Matt is considered strange and a troublemaker. They meet when Erin begins hanging out with Kristy and Billy. Erin falls for Matt, but he becomes infatuated with Kristy. When he does pay attention to Erin, she misinterprets his admiration and desire for friendship as something more. Kliatt reviewer Janis Flint-Ferguson wrote that "in the end, Matt develops an identity and a cause, while Erin continues to struggle between reality and illusion."
Among Waite's many other works is Forbidden, a dark story about young people caught up in a cult. In this teen novel, which features a shocking conclusion, Elinor must stay focused on the True Cause, but she is emotionally drawn to Jamie, an "Outsider" with whom she is forbidden to have contact. Waite's popular "Horse Healer" series for preteens follows the adventures of a gypsy boy who has a gift for healing horses. Waite has also written many educational books for England's early elementary school curriculum. In addition, she has translated from German several children's books written and illustrated by Klaus Baumgart.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 1998, Lauren Peterson, review of Mouse, Look Out!, p. 337; May 1, 2003, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Shopaholic, p. 1589.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2003, Deborah Stevenson, review of Shopaholic, p. 425.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of Shopaholic, p. 685; January 1, 2005, review of Trick of the Mind, p. 58.
Kliatt, January, 2005, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Trick of the Mind, p. 11, Amanda MacGregor, review of Shopaholic, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1998, review of Mouse, Look Out!, p. 72; May 5, 2003, review of Shopaholic, p. 222.
School Library Journal, December, 1998, Marianne Saccardi, review of The Storm Seal, p. 94; September, 2000, Jody McCoy, review of The Stray Kitten, p. 210; July, 2003, Catherine Ensley, review of Shopaholic, p. 135; January, 2004, Sally R. Dow, review of Laura's Secret, p. 87.
Judy Waite Home Page, http://www.judywaite.com (March 7, 2005).
Word Pool Web site, http://www.wordpool.co.uk/ (March 7, 2005), "Judy Waite."