Joyce Sidman Wins Newbery Honor

Wayzata resident Joyce Sidman wins a Newbery Honor for her children’s poetry.
Joyce Sidman

You might have seen her walking her dog through the woodlands of Wayzata, but what you might not know is that she is a nationally acclaimed author.

Joyce Sidman of Wayzata has penned 10 children’s poetry books, the latest of which was recently awarded a 2011 Newbery Honor. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night features a cast of mysterious woodland dwellers. “The more I read about creatures of the forest, the more I realized most of the really interesting ones were nocturnal—bats, spiders, porcupines—so I decided to focus on both the nighttime and the woods,” says Sidman.

Nature is a common theme throughout the author’s body of work. “The natural world fascinates me, elates me, grounds me,” says Sidman. Through her daily walks with her dog Watson, Sidman is able to witness the marvels of the world around us. “They raise lots of questions that I try to answer in my writing,” she says.

Though she has dabbled in other occupations, writing is what Sidman says she does best. The author sits down to write each and every morning. “Sometimes I have a wonderful idea and the writing flows. Sometimes I stare out the window, reorganize my desk or flip pencils,” she says.

Somewhere in the mix, this children’s poet found time to chalk up several awards throughout her career, but a Newbery Honor is what Joyce Sidman calls “the holy grail for all children’s writers.” In the beginning of her career, it took the author a full decade to get a book accepted. “During those 10 years, I wrote a newspaper column, published stories in magazines, taught poetry and gnashed my teeth a lot,” she says with a laugh. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself. How did I get this lucky to be doing what I’ve always dreamed of?”