Born: Detroit, MI. He has also lived in Zaire, Africa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, rural Virginia, and Brooklyn, NY.
Current home: Rockville, Maryland, where he lives with his wife, two cats, and three (or more!) bicycles.
College: the Cooper Union School of Art, New York.
Occupation: Public elementary school art teacher by day; author/illustrator by evenings, weekends and glorious summer.
Previous occupations: paper boy, house painter, dairy farmer, photographer, cartoonist and library tech.
Number of years in school: 1 year Kindergarten + 12 grades + 4 years art school + 1 year teacher school + 18 years teaching = 36. (All the more amazing, because he’s only 29 years old!)
Number of students taught: 28 average per class x 25+ classes per week x 40 school weeks a year x 18 years = a broken calculator! Definitely too many enthusiastic young artists to count!
Number of Apollo astronauts who have been to the moon he has met: four.
Historical figure he would most like to meet: Leonardo da Vinci
Childhood favorites (that are still totally worth checking out): Spiderman, Batman, Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Star Trek, Star Wars, ET, Alice in Wonderland, the Lord of the Rings, The Odyssey, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Pigman, the Beatles, Stand By Me.
First Book: Duel in Dimensions, a novel about Batman and Superman in Wonderland; written in sixth grade, still unfinished and unpublished.
Elements he feels are most important to his books: humor and heart. He wants kids to laugh, learn and love.
Advice to kids who want to be better at writing and drawing: practice, practice, practice! And go outside often for exercise and inspiration.
Advice to adults who want to write for kids: practice, practice, practice! Also, read widely in your genre, join a good, honest critique group, and become a member of SCBWI. Write the story only you can tell.
And, last but not least: he has been a vegetarian since early high school; he never smooshes spiders; and he credits his mother, a painter, and his father, an English teacher, with much of his love of art and books.