ELKHART – Can a mermaid help children find the right pet for them? The latest book by local children’s author Judith L. Roth may suggest so.
Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale is out Tuesday. Cadence, a mermaid, discovers kittens and desperately wants one. But how can a mermaid have a pet kitten? Cats hate water! Through a series of problem-solving and goal-setting activities, Cadence eventually finds the perfect pet for her, the “kittyfish,” a sea otter.
“I thought about when as a kid you want a pet, sometimes you have allergies, or you live in an apartment and can’t have one,” Roth explained. “It seemed like the hardest way to do this would be if you were a mermaid and you wanted a cat.”
A cat mom herself, Cadence and Kittenfish isn’t the first book about cats she’s written. Her collection includes Serendipity & Me, another book about the love of cats; “Good Night Dragons”, “Cups Held Out”, “Hiding Baby Moses” and “Venetian Lullaby”. She has also produced a number of short stories for magazines such as Highlights magazine.
Roth had been an author before graduating from college, when her first poem was accepted for publication in a magazine in the 1980s.
“I’ve always had much better luck with poetry than with children’s literature,” she said. “Poetry was easier for some reason.”
Despite this, she has always loved children’s books.
“I love being creative and that’s where I want to put a lot of my creative energy,” she said. “It’s very empowering when you finally get a commitment and a contract.”
Roth’s work is also gaining traction. On August 2, in the midst of production for the new book, Roth learned that her previous book, which was released on April 27, 2021, was shortlisted for the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards. Hiding Baby Moses is a lyrical retelling of the Old Testament story of baby Moses being hidden from Pharaoh, told from the perspective of his protective older sister Miriam. There’s even a song at the end of the book that Miriam von Roth sings to baby Moses for a totally immersive experience for kids, titled “The Shelter of God’s Wings.” It was written by her and her husband Marc and they posted the song on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz50NugLtVs. Roth said she actually wrote the book a few years ago, but as a religious book it had been difficult to find a publisher. Nonetheless, when the book came out, it was one of 40 shortlisted books and one of six in the children’s category.
Roth, a former youth minister, has a career history before becoming a full-time writer. She was a lecturer, ASL interpreter and piano teacher. Now she helps her husband with the bookkeeping for his business
Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale is published by Starry Forest Book, with illustrations by Jaclyn Sinquett. Roth said she enjoyed the way Sinquett’s artwork enriched the story.
“She had the mermaid father be an underwater farmer, which wasn’t written anywhere in the text but was a nice edit, and the older sister’s underwater bedroom looked like a teenager’s bedroom that was underwater. It is very exciting to see how the story comes to life with pictures.”
Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale is scheduled for release on Tuesday. The book is expected to be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org and Fables in Goshen.
Meet the author at three local events following the book’s release.
• On Tuesday at 5:30pm, Roth will be presenting her book at Stories in the Garden at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens
• On October 5th she will be at the Goshen Public Library reading the book for the reading session.
• Then, on October 7th, Roth will be there for a book signing at Fables on First Fridays.