As a child
Mo grew up during the 1970s, so he always looked kind of goofy. One time in his school's art class, Mo's teacher told him to stop drawing cartoons all the time. She said big, boring drawings of fruit in a bowl that made people's eyes glaze over were A-R-T, but funny cartoons that made people laugh weren't. She was wrong. Mo had great truble speling when he was a kidd.
As an adult
Mo once met a man in Egypt who had built a huge sand temple about his life (which mostly consisted of images of him constructing a huge sand temple about his life). He dreamt of creating a one-to-one scale model of the desert. Mo drove a motorcyle in New York for about five years without a single accident. Then he realized he was lucky not to have an accident, so he bought a used Volvo. If Mo had known how cool having a wife and daughter was, he would have got them sooner.
As an artist
At age eighteen, Mo moved temporarily to London to pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comic. He quickly established himself and somehow managed to get a spot in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before returning to America to become a film student. At New York University he discovered animation and quickly became entranced by the ability to make movies without having to beg a crew to help him. Here he discovered the work of Ronald Searle and the UPA animation studio, both of which influenced his deceptively simple, graphic drawing style. After graduating from college, he travelled around the world for a year, returning with ridiculous sideburns. A quick shave later, he returned to New York and became an animator and writer for TV, most notably for Sesame Street (where he won six Emmys for his writing). He then wrote for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Mo's first foray into children's books was the innovative Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which appeared on many “best book” lists and won a prestigious American Prize, the Caldecott Honor, in 2004. He has encouraged thousands of children to yell “NOOOOOO!” in libraries. Mo hopes to devote an increasing percentage of his time writing and illustrating children's books.
Things you didn't know about Mo Willems
- His shoe size.
- Mo once walked all the way across France with his dad (don't ask him why).
- Mo used to record a weekly Postcard from Brooklyn for BBC radio (kind of like Alistair Cooke's Letters From America only less good).
- Mo finds rain depressing.
- It’s always raining when Mo goes on vacation.
- Mo's arch-enemy is PRINT-TOR, the evil spirit of vengeance that makes printing on any computer a near impossibility.
- Mo doesn't like sweets, but eats bags and bags of candy when he takes long drives.
- Mo reads really long, really boring books about history and everybody laughs at him, but he doesn't care what they say (much).
- Did you ever see that really great movie about a pig called Babe? Mo wasn't in that movie.
- Mo gets very bored very...