Famous Poets: Judith Viorst

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet legendary American children’s author and poet Judith Viorst. I have been a fan of her poems for many years and was thrilled to get the chance to tell her so in person.

Kenn Nesbitt and Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst is an American author, journalist, and poet who has written many books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for both children and adults. She is best known for her Alexander picture book series, which includes the award-winning Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Born on February 2, 1931 in Newark, New Jersey, Viorst grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey with a love of reading and writing. After attending college at Rutgers University, she worked as a journalist, covering politics and foreign affairs for several newspapers and magazines.

If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries by Judith Viorst

But it was her work as a children’s author that made her famous. Her first book of poetry for children, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents, was published in 1981 and quickly became a classic. This collection of poems, which ranges from silly to poignant, touches on the common childhood experiences. It begins…

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

Her other poetry collections for children include Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents and What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem by Judith Viorst

In addition to her children’s poetry, Viorst also wrote many other books for both children and adults, including picture books, science books, and a series of poetry collections for adults about growing older.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and honors for her writing. She has also been recognized for her contributions to the field of children’s literature, and her poetry remains popular to this day.

She has left a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature. Her poetry, with its humor, honesty, and sensitivity, continues to delight and inspire young readers today. Her work is a testament to her passion for writing and her dedication to helping children understand and cope with the complexities of the world around them.

If you would like to read some of her poems, check the poetry section of your library or ask your librarian if they have If I Were in Charge of the WorldSad Underwear, or What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?