Meet Tom Angleberger, the creative mind behind the Origami Yoda series as well as other delightfully funny stories for kids (like Horton Halfpott : Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset — with a glow-in-the-dark cover, of course!). Angelberger has Aspergers (he calls it his superpower), and many of his stories are filled with his own vivid memories of middle school — the good, the bad and the awkward. Angleberger illustrates all of his books, cartoon-style.
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Tom Angleberger, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Angleberger grew up in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley as a self-described "nerdy kid." When he was six, he saw his first Star Wars movie (thrilling!) — that inspired a lifelong passion for the series and its characters.
Angleberger's books are goofy and funny but they also authentically speak to kids about the emotional ups and downs of middle school. He remembers his own struggles as the "weirdest kid in the class" and incorporates those memories into his stories.
Angleberger studied art at the College of William and Mary, and worked as a staff artist on the college newspaper. That's where he met his wife (and sometime collaborator), children's author and illustrator Cece Bell. For many years, Angleberger was a reporter and columnist at the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. Now he's able to spend his time writing books and visiting schools — where he teaches kids how to make their own Origami Yoda!
Says Angleberger: "I'm not necessarily all that creative. I'm more of a puzzle putter together. I take all these little puzzle pieces — Yoda, middle school problems, Cheetos — and I fuss and fuss with them until I fit them together."
Angleberger and Bell currently live in Christianburg, Virginia right next to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.