New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of over 60 books, Tedd Arnold was born in Elmira, New York in 1949. Tedd moved with his family to Florida at age 10 and soon began his first art lessons, held in an abandoned dentist's office in downtown Gainesville. He finished school and graduated from the University of Florida with a BFA. He met Carol, who became his wife. For 10 years he worked in textbook illustration, graphic design, and advertising. During that time, Carol received a master”s degree in early childhood education and taught kindergarten.
Tedd became interested in the picture books his wife read to her young students. Each evening he studied them cover-to-cover. When his first son, Walter, was born, Tedd and Carol happily took turns doing the bedtime read-aloud. He tried writing and illustrating his own stories, accumulating rejection slips for six years.
He moved his family to New York City as a book designer for a large publisher, where his second, son, William, was born. Tedd”s first book, No Jumping on the Bed!, was inspired by Walter's bed jumping in their aging Yonkers apartment building. Tedd soon quit his day job and moved back to his hometown, Elmira, to write and illustrate books and raise a family. Tedd, Carol, and three cats live there today. Both Walter and William are now grown and married.
Tedd's first book, No Jumping on the Bed!, became an IRA-CBC Children's Choice book, Green Wilma (a PBS Storytime featured title) and Parts (Parents Magazine 50 All-time Best Children's Books). He is also a two-time winner of the ALA's Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Hi! Fly Guy and more recently, I Spy Fly Guy.
Tedd has often said, “I've always been an artist.” But he's had a variety of jobs before becoming an author, including newspaper boy, soldier, hamburger cook, popcorn popper at a drive-in movie theater, worm counter at a fishing tackle store, designer, and advertiser. He's happy to say he loves his current job the most. “All my life I've been drawing and painting. Yet in hindsight, I recognize that with all my art activities, written words were never far away. My grade school cartoons had word balloons. College artworks often displayed lengthy titles. In advertising, I wrote the headlines and text for the ads I illustrated. The writing was never more than an accessory to lend support to my art. The pictures were the real thing for me, the fun. However, with each new book I write, I learn more about the magic in the words---how a few pieces of the alphabet can create, shape, or change whole story worlds. And stories are what create pictures.”
“If anyone were to ask me, “What”s the biggest surprise of your career in children”s books?” I would have to answer, “Going back to elementary school!” I never knew that visiting schools would be part of my job description. But meeting and talking with young readers in classrooms and libraries is something that I love.”