Jon Scieszka was appointed the first National Ambassador for Young People”s Literature in January 2008. The position was created by the Library of Congress to raise national awareness of the importance of young people”s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
Born in Flint, Mich., Jon Scieszka earned a bachelor”s degree in writing from Albion College and a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. He held a number of teaching positions in the first through eighth grades before taking a year off to develop ideas for children”s books. He is the author of several bestselling children”s titles, including The Stinky Cheese Man, which won a Caldecott Honor medal, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the Time Warp Trio, a chapter book series. Scieszka is the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization.
"I read everything — comic books, newspapers, cereal boxes, poems — anything with writing on it. My favorite things to read are fairy tales, myths, and legends. When I'm not reading, I listen to music, watch cartoons, and sit in my chair and just think about stuff. I've always thought about being an author. One of the first books I read was Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. It made me realize that books could be goofy. It's the book that made The Stinky Cheese Man possible!
My ideas come from all different things: my kids, kids I've taught, kids I've learned from, watching movies, playing with my cat, talking to my wife, staring out the window, and about a million other places. But what turns the ideas into stories and books is sitting down and writing and re-writing and throwing away writing and writing some more. That's the hard part. I never know exactly how long it takes to write a story. I read a lot of stuff, think about different stories all the time, scribble things down on paper, type them up, change them, scribble again, think some more, add things....
I write books because I love to make kids laugh. I knew Lane Smith (illustrator of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, The Stinky Cheese Man and Squids Will Be Squids) would do a great job because we like a lot of the same cartoons and books and ideas. And we laugh at each other's bad jokes all of the time. Our audience is hardcore silly kids, and there are a lot of 'em out there! My motto in writing is: “Never underestimate the intelligence of your audience.” Kids can be silly and smart!
Before I became an author, I attended military school, studied pre-med in college, and worked as a lifeguard and house painter. I also taught computers, math, science, and history to kids grades 1-8.
I now live in Brooklyn, N.Y., with my wife Jeri, daughter Casey and my son Jake. I like fruit and a cup of coffee for breakfast, but I usually steal some of Jake's Honey Nut Cheerios or his pancakes. If you'd like to call out my name, it's pronounced 'SHEH-ska.' It kind of rhymes with “Fresca.”
Explore Fractured Fairy Tales and Fables with Jon Scieszka in this writing workshop centered around his books The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and Squids Will Be Squids.