Mark Teague likes to find humor in the everyday events of childhood. In this exclusive video interview with Reading Rockets, Teague talks about his books, the kids he meets when visiting schools, and his books Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
Mark Teague has never taken an art class in his life. Through trial, error, talent, and a love for drawing, he has become one of today's top illustrators for children. Teague has a knack for developing delightful and amusing characters — whether they are dogs, pigs, martians, or dinosaurs. He has illustrated over 40 stories by other authors, including How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen, The Poppleton series by Cynthia Rylant, and First Graders From Mars by Shana Corey. Yet Mark Teague also writes his own memorable tales, such as the clever Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School and How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
An Artist at Heart
Mark Teague grew up in San Diego, California. Before he was old enough to write, he used to dictate stories to his mom. Once she typed them up, Mark illustrated the tales, which for some reason were often frog adventure stories.
Mark Teague had always enjoyed sketching and doodling, but he had never considered illustration as a career. After finishing college with a degree in American history, he moved from San Diego to New York City. His first job was at a large Manhattan bookstore. Arranging window displays introduced him to the latest picture books for children. Inspired by the beautiful, full-color illustrations, Teague wrote and illustrated a story of his own. It was about a boy who takes a magical subway ride from the city back to the countryside.
In 1989, Scholastic published this story, The Trouble With the Johnsons. That same year, Publishers Weekly featured Teague as one of eleven prominent new authors to watch. Since then, Teague has illustrated over 40 books and written stories for more than a dozen. He has illustrated the Poppleton series, the First Graders from Mars series, The Great Gracie Chase, and other favorites.
Mark Teague now lives in upstate New York with his wife, Laura, and their two daughters, Lily and Ava.