June 2002's Author! Author!
I picked Todd Parr as AUTHOR OF THE MONTH because of his contributions to the world of early childhood education. His books have helped children worldwide to accept what they cannot change. We all have something about ourselves that we really hate and have probably been the subject of teasing by our peers. His books, It's Okay to Be Different and The Feelings Book, have helped children put their lives in perspective.
Todd is an accomplished artist and author, but he has had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to pursue his passion for art. This is the story of a very talented boy who also had the drive and self confidence to take his skills to a level never imagined by the art teacher, who discouraged him to the point of abandoning his dream. When he first attempted to exhibit his art work, he was turned away by numerous art galleries. Today, Todd has a long list of seventeen children's books from noted publisher, Little Brown and Company, and his art and designs are readily found in galleries, on toys, furniture and many other products.
In his books, he offers reassuring messages to children that reflect his own life experiences. He encourages children to be self-confident, and to overcome difficulties; that each person is unique and should take pride in their differences. His bright colors and simple texts are hilarious; just right to capture children's attention and get the message across.
Todd agreed to answer some of my questions about his life and work...
|Interview with Todd Parr|
Todd Parr lives in San Francisco with his dog, BULLY.
Bev: What did you like to read as a child?
Todd: GREEN EGGS AND HAM, and GO DOG GO.
Bev: What influenced the kind of writer you are today?
Todd: My Grandma.
Bev: Do you read recreationally now?
Todd: Yes, kind of.
Bev: What kind of books do you enjoy?
Todd: Art books, picture books, cooking books.
Bev: Your style certainly appeals to children; that little boy is still in there, isn't he?
Bev: When you are planning a new project, which comes first, the text or the pictures?
Todd: Both - sometimes I like the text but the art does not work, so I really rely on the art to say more than the text itself.
Bev: I understand that your art teacher discouraged your work in school. If you could talk to that teacher now, what would you have to say to (him/her)?
Todd: Well - it would have to be a seance, but I would say - See! You don't have to be good at pen and ink and sculpture to be an "Artist."
Bev: I just finished reviewing "The Mommy Book," and "The Daddy Book." What are your favorites of all the books you have written and why?
Todd: IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT- because when people ask me to describe my work - I think that book does it best...and UNDERWEAR DO'S AND DON'TS because it makes everyone laugh.
Bev: Your art is everywhere...it's so distinctive and easy to spot...books, clothing, furniture, toys...where do you hope to go from here?
Bev: Do you develop the teacher's aids that are available for your books?
Todd: Yes and no...they just take pieces from everything I do and put those together...I couldn't do it without all the support that I get from everyone at Little, Brown. They are the COOLEST!
Bev: Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share with us?
Todd: YES - DO WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR - DON'T WEAR THEM ON YOUR HEAD!
Todd, thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us. Isn't he just the COOLEST
|Reviews of It's Okay to be Different, The Mommy Book, and The Daddy Book|
Todd Parr has been called "The King of Color" with good reason. His illustrations are bright and bold with whimsical pictures that get the lesson across to be happy with who you are. Kids can recognize themselves here, or their best friend who wears glasses, or has teeth missing. This book covers many of the ways that kids can be different... and everybody is different in some way.
Parr lets kids know that it's okay to talk about feelings and to say NO to bad things. Reading this book aloud to little ones, and discussing the pictures and concepts is a great way to start kids on a lifetime of openly discussing feelings and problems.
This book has wonderful, feel good, positive messages of acceptance and confidence that promote understanding and are fun to read for kids and the adults who love them.
Parents and teachers can make the experience more meaningful using the free teacher's guide.
The Daddy Book
By Todd Parr
ISBN: -0-316-60827-0 Hardcover
ISBN: 0-316-60799-1 Hardcover
Little, Brown, April 2002
Children / Fiction
Todd Parr tells about all the different kinds of Mommies and Daddies, and at the same time, shows what their similarities are in these two new books. There is so much expression and character in his bright colored illustrations that you can really recognize people you know.
There are Mommies who drive minivans and Mommies who ride motorcycles. Some Mommies teach you how to paint and others teach you how to play sports. There are Daddies who have lots of hair, and Daddies who have little hair, Daddies who sing to you in bed, and Daddies who like to try new things with you. All Mommies and Daddies like to watch you sleep, and love to kiss and hug you. Parr's characters all show mutual affection and trust; the kind of relationships we wish every child had with his parents.
Kids will love these outrageously funny books that are written by an author who probably still has a lot of the kid in him. He writes with love of his subject matter, and his simple texts will encourage early readers. You will definitely want to add these two books to your child's library.
Parr's books are published in 14 countries worldwide
in September 2002: