Author and literacy advocate Jon Scieszka has had considerable impact on children’s literature. Jon Scieszka is not only a very popular author of children’s books. He is also plays a prominent role in the effort to promote books for boys and to encourage boys to read through his Guys Read initiative. In addition, in 2008, Jon Scieszka was appointed to a two-year term as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature in the United States.
Jon Scieszka: His LifeJon Scieszka was born on September 8, 1954 in Flint, Michigan. He is the second oldest of six brothers. His dad was a school principal and his mother, a registered nurse. Jon attended high school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and was a pre-medicine and English student at Albion College in Michigan. In my interview with Jon Scieszka, he told me, “I earned a Masters in Fiction Writing from Columbia University (writing strange short adult stories), then found my true audience when I taught elementary school (1st – 8th grade) for ten years in Manhattan.”
Jon Scieszka took a year off from teaching to write, but it was not until he began working with illustrator Lane Smith that his first children’s book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs was accepted for publication. Since then, working both with Lane Smith, and with other talented illustrators and authors, Jon has written numerous picture books, 16 books in his Time Warp Trio series, and is also developing a series of books for young children.
More than 11 million copies of his books have been sold around the world.
In 2002, concerned about boys not reading, Jon Scieszka established Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy program and Web site. Its mission is “to motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read.” (Guys Read) The Guys Read Web site provides encouragement, recommended books, and information helpful to boys, and those adults (parents, teachers, librarians, etc.) who are eager to encourage them to read.
When Jon Scieszka was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature in 2008, the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, stated, "Jon Scieszka will be an articulate emissary, promoting reading and literature among young people, which are important for the health and creativity of our democratic society." Jon lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Jeri, and their son and daughter, Jake and Casey.
Jon Scieszka: His BooksJon Scieszka’s books are clever and funny and enormously appealing to children. His offbeat retellings of traditional fables, folktales and fairy tales and his hilarious books about math and science will tickle your funny bone, too. His books include The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (), The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (), The Frog Prince Continued (), Math Curse (), Science Verse () and the Time Warp Trio chapter book fantasy series ().
By 2008, nineteen years after the publication of their first book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith had worked together on eight picture books and eight Time Warp Trio books. Lane Smith’s titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor winner The Stinky Cheese Man as well as The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, which has sold over 3 million copies, and Squids Will be Squids: Fresh Morals Beastly Fables (). Jon has also worked with other talented illustrators and authors, including Steve Johnson, Daniel Adel and Adam McCauley.
His latest project is Jon Scieszka's Trucktown, a preschool/kindergarten series. All of the characters are trucks, although they act like preschoolers. According to Scieszka, “Everyone is a truck. And everyone acts exactly like the 4 -7 year-olds I’ve learned so much from. The Trucktown trucks, like their kid counterparts, love to race around, roar around, get into everything, try out anything, and get to work at the serious business of play.” Scieszka’s exuberant Trucktown picture books are illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long, and David Gordon.