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A video interview with

Mo Willems

Caldecott-winner Mo Willems grew up in New Orleans. He spent much of his youth telling stories and drawing. Willems especially loved reading "Peanuts" comics and then sketching Snoopy and Charlie Brown himself. "I even wrote a letter to Charles Schulz," Willems recalls, "saying that I wanted his job when he died." During high school, Willems acted in plays and started doing standup routines at comedy clubs.

You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Mo Willems, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)

Biography

Mo Willems, the son of Dutch immigrants, grew up in New Orleans. He spent much of his youth telling stories and drawing. Willems especially loved reading "Peanuts" comics and then sketching Snoopy and Charlie Brown himself. "I even wrote a letter to Charles Schulz," Willems recalls, "saying that I wanted his job when he died." During high school, Willems acted in plays and started doing standup routines at comedy clubs.

After high school, Willems traveled abroad and performed standup comedy in London. He later moved to New York, where he studied film and then switched to animation. Willems spent the first part of his career writing and animating for children's television. For nine years, he worked on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmy Awards and developed characters such as Suzy Kabloozie. Willems later created Sheep in the Big City for the Cartoon Network and The Off-Beats for Nickelodeon.

For five years, Willems tried to write and illustrate children's books. After a number of rejections, Willems' simple doodle of a pigeon attracted the eye of an editor. This pigeon would become the star of his first book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2004. The following year, Knuffle Bunny won another Caldecott Honor, which further solidified Willems' new career as a children's book author and illustrator.

Mo Willems writes and illustrates from his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss