Judith Viorst February 2, 1931

an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher. She is perhaps best known for her children's literature, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (about the death of a pet) and the Alexander series of short picture books.

Viorst is a 1952 graduate of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. In 1968, Viorst signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. In the latter part of the 1970s, after two decades of writing for children and adults, she turned to the study of Freudian psychology. In 1981, and after six years of study at Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, she became a research graduate there.

Personal Life

Viorst lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, political writer Milton Viorst. They have three grown sons: Anthony Jacob Viorst, an attorney practicing in the Denver, Colorado area; Nicholas Nathan "Nick" Viorst, an Assistant District Attorney for New York County, and Alexander Noah Viorst.

She received the Foremother Award for lifetime achievements from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011.

Writing

Writing for Children

Among Viorst's books for children is the "Alexander" series (including Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), whose narrator is a 5-year-old boy who lives with his parents and two brothers, Anthony and Nick named for Viorst's own three sons.

Viorst's book 'Sad Underwear' is a collection of poems that examines a wide variety of feelings and experiences from a child's point of view.

Writing for Adults

Viorst's books for adults include nonfiction psychology books such as "Grown-up Marriage", Imperfect Control, Necessary Losses, and People and other Aggravations. Viorst is also a newspaper columnist and has written frequently for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and has been a contributing editor to Redbook magazine.

She also penned the musical Love & Shrimp with Shelly Markam. The Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati hosted a performance of Love & Shrimp, starring Deb Girdler, Pamela Myers and Shelley Bamberger, in the spring of 1999.

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Quotes (3)

Craving that old sweet oneness yet dreading engulfment, wishing to be our mother's and yet be our own, we stormily swing from mood to mood, advancing and retreating—the quintessential model of two-mindedness.
Judith Viorst (20th century), U.S. author and poet. Necessary Loses, ch. 3 (1986).
The need to become a separate self is as urgent as the yearning to merge forever. And as long as we, not our mother, initiate parting, and as long as our mother remains reliably there, it seems possible to risk, and even to revel in, standing alone.
Judith Viorst (20th century), U.S. author and poet. Necessary Loses, ch. 3 (1986).
Somewhere slightly before or after the close of our second decade, we reach a momentous milestone—childhood's end. We have left a safe place and can't go home again. We have moved into a world where life isn't fair, where life is rarely what it should be.
Judith Viorst (20th century), U.S. novelist and poet. Necessary Losses, ch. 10 (1986).

Comments (13)

Judith Viorst Writes good poems. (I am a child)
I love bossy mom. It is just so exciting to read and it gets me pumped up for the day. once again I love bossy mom.
I love bossy mom. It is just so exciting to read and it gets me pumped up for the day. once again I love love love bossy mom.
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