Marc Brown is the author and illustrator of Arthur, everyone's favorite aardvark. In this exclusive video interview with Reading Rockets, Marc Brown chats about his childhood, the Arthur television shows on PBS, and his friendship with the late Mr. Rogers.
Marc Brown is the creator of Arthur, the most popular aardvark in the world. What started out as a bedtime story has turned into a global phenomenon. From the Americas to China, Arthur the loveable aardvark turns up in books, schools, backpacks, and even bowls of macaroni-and-cheese. Arthur's Emmy Award-winning PBS television series is broadcast in over 60 countries. And in the United States alone, nearly 60 million Arthur books have been sold. Marc Brown believes that millions of children can relate to third-grade Arthur because "he's dealing with the same issues that they're dealing with in their lives."
Marc Brown grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he attended Lakewood Elementary School. Brown's childhood years would later become the setting for many of his Arthur books. In junior high, Brown drew cartoons for the school newspaper. When it came time for college, his grandmother helped pay for art school.
In 1969, Marc Brown graduated from the Cleveland Art Institute with a degree in painting. On his way to becoming a full-time author and illustrator, he worked as a truck driver, short-order cook, television art director, actor, college professor, and freelance illustrator. His big breakthrough came one night when his five-year-old son asked for a bedtime story about a weird animal. Brown came up with Arthur, an aardvark who hated his long nose. In 1976, this story became Arthur's Nose, the first book in the popular series.
For the next twenty years, Marc Brown enjoyed his life as a successful children's book author and illustrator. He worked from the barn behind his house and visited classrooms around the country. In 1995, Brown agreed to help produce an Arthur TV series on PBS. Brown's hands-on dedication helped "Arthur" become the most watched children's television show in the country, with an estimated 15 million weekly viewers. During the first eight years of the show, Arthur book sales jumped from five million to 60 million.
Marc Brown currently lives in Hingham, Massachusetts with his wife, author and illustrator Laurie Krasny Brown, and their daughter. Brown's most recent projects include the new PBS television series, Postcards from Buster, and paintings for the book by Judy Sierra, Wild About Books.