Most preschoolers (and a lot of people who are older than that) would know him for his books about a pigeon and for his beginning reader series, Elephant and Piggie. He’s also found time to write about a naked mole-rat who wants to wear clothes, the Knuffle Bunny, and a host of other funny characters. The short version of what he does is “Mo Willems makes funny drawings that hopefully will make you laugh.”
Mo Willems grew up in New Orleans and started writing stories when he was very young. He didn’t like adults pretending to like his work when they didn’t so he started creating funny stories so they’d laugh. That way he knew they weren’t just being polite. Mo was also a huge fan of Peanuts comics from an early age. He once wrote a letter to Charles Schulz requesting to have his job when he died. Unfortunately, Mr. Schultz did not write him back. Mo seems to have gotten over that disappointment since he’s published more than 30 books of his own to date.
Mo Willems began his career as a writer and illustrator on Sesame Street where he won 6 Emmy Awards for his writing. He also created 2 television series, The Off-Beats and Sheep in the Big City. His first book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, became a New York Time Bestseller in 2003 and ended up winning the Caldecott Honor, a very unusual accomplishment for a first-time illustrator. He’s since won Caldecott Honors for Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too: a Case of Mistaken Identity. The Elephant and Piggie easy reader series won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and Geisel Honors each year from 2100 to 2015.
He wrote the script and lyrics for two plays based on his books: Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Musical and Elephant and Piggie’s WE ARE IN A PLAY! He also has a rock opera based on Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.
His illustrations, sculptures and ceramic art have been exhibited in museums and galleries all around the country.
Check out some of Mo Willems books at the library and have fun reading!