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Arthur Dorros




District of Columbia


United States of America






United States of America

For a long time, the world arrived at my door in books. Often I rode my bicycle a couple of miles up to the public library to get them. I would wander the maze of shelves, scan to see what and where the next adventure would be, and pull a piece of South America, or Africa, or the Pacific to hand, turn pages and be catapulted there. Before my reading days, most of the world I knew was what I could touch or hear or smell or see right around me. The Washington, DC area where I grew up was rich with cackling bugs, leopard and green frogs, tadpoles, box and painted turtles, buzzing birds, snakes and salamanders, squirrels, rabbits. Occasionally I would bring one home. For a few days I had thirteen box turtles, all named Bobby since they looked similar, until I awoke to find that turtles can be great diggers and they had dug their way to freedom. What I learned by reading, stayed with me. I didn"t know then that I wanted to be a writer of books, or an illustrator. Recently I found a pre-school report card that simply said, “Arthur loves to draw.” Like a lot of kids I"ve met though, I quit drawing in the fifth grade, thinking that I could not draw as well as I wanted. It wasn"t until high school biology class that I started drawing again, and remembered how much I enjoyed it while taking an art class with a teacher who said, “everyone can draw.” When I finished school I traveled to places I had read about-South America and learned Spanish, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Australia-and worked as a builder, draftsman, photographer, farm worker, longshoreman, short-order cook, and substitute teacher. So no paper airplanes, please. Finally, talking with neighborhood children while I worked as a carpenter remodeling houses, I found how much I liked telling stories. I thought of stories that I could illustrate, wrote and rewrote to get them in the best shape I could, and published my first picture book, Pretzels.

Since then I have written a variety of books, from nonfiction and science picture books like Ant Cities and A Tree Is Growing, to humorous stories about what could be serious things, like The Fungus That Ate My School. Some of my stories are bilingual. I grew up hearing a number of languages, and languages to me are bridges. My son is bilingual too, which makes it easier to communicate with people including in Spanish speaking countries. Being able to explore almost anything of interest and write about it is great. I really like research, reading and discovering as I have all along, and bringing some of the stories from around the world to new doors. Each of us has our own stories to tell. Enjoy yours. More information can be found at

Susan Cheyney

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