English Major to Puppeteer & Editor: Video Transcript

Rebecca Bondor [Vice President for Scholastic Library Publishing]: One of the most significant things that happened to me here at Miami was I wrote a puppet script as a senior thesis, and the professor encouraged me to turn it into a full-out production. So she said, why don't you partner with people in the Theatre Department? So I recruited 4 actors as the puppeteers. I built all the marionettes. I built the stage. And we had 3 weekend performances. And this show was so successful that it gave me the confidence to write all of the puppeteer companies that were listed in The New Yorker magazine. And lo and behold, one wrote me back and said, if I was willing to move all my stuff to New York at my own expense, I could work for them and tour the schools with their marionette company. They were a well-established marionette company that paid. So I said, oh, okay, that sounds like a good idea. I love children's writing and if they'll let me, it'll be an opportunity to move to New York. So I did and I worked then as a puppeteer for several years.

And after I left that company, I toured the United States with another company and went to Moscow and performed at the international puppeteers' festival. And then I actually had an opportunity to take the Jim Henson workshops, and I worked with the Muppets on The Muppets Take Manhattan, as one of the background puppeteers.

But I missed writing and so I got back into writing by taking this extraordinary workshop with a teacher-editor and well-known professor at Columbia named Gordon Lish. And I was in his workshop for several years. Following that, I took time and had the most glorious experience of my life, which was to have our daughter.

And then one of my friends from the Lish workshop called and said that there was an opportunity at Golden Books and would I like to go there and be a part-time assistant editor? That job evolved into a full-time editor job. And I edited and wrote children's books for their licensed characters like Chip the Teacup and Frosty the Snowman and those types of books.

And then another friend of mine from the workshop at Columbia recommended me for the job at Scholastic. And at Scholastic, it was my first job with magazines. I'd never done magazines ever. And I started out as a freelance editor for Scholastic News for first and second grade. And it was as if I'd been placed in paradise. I had no idea that this was even a profession and now it was one that I just loved doing. And I'm so devoted and committed that I ended up having great success with those magazines and, over time, I oversaw the entire department. And I also did supplemental magazines and now I'm working on doing innovative library books and online products for librarians at Scholastic.

[April 2011]