Friday Fun Facts: Mo Willems

We all have our author crushes. (That is a thing, right?) My latest is Mo Willems, not least because he is instilling in my daughter a love of reading. You see, I was terrified that I would be the only editor and writer with an illiterate child. Yes, yes, she’s only in kindergarten, but the fear was real. And then Mo Willems rode Pigeon into our lives.

My formerly uninterested daughter is now devouring books, thanks to the brilliance of this man. His many books are favorites among children and parents alike. Not surprisingly, Willems is a bestselling author, has won several important awards, and is known to be a family man. Yeah, I’m in love.

Of course, we can’t stop with just the books in this house; we have to get all the information we can on this man and his stories, so my daughter watched a video bringing some of the stories to life. This was great and all, but what struck me was the interview portion at the end. Willems speaks to me:

“I have a lot of help. . . . One of the bigger helpers in that is my editor. . . . Ultimately what an editor’s job is is to look at the road of the story and find all the potholes, find all the places where it’s going to be difficult for the audience to drive smoothly. And then it’s my job to go to those potholes and figure out how to fill them up.”

Mo, I will work with you any day.

Now for the fun facts:

  • Willems’s first character was a space superhero named Laser Brain, who unfortunately lost his brain in a space accident and therefore muddled up any save-the-day mission he attempted.
  • April 1st was the thirteenth anniversary of his first published book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
  • Pigeon hides in every Willems book.
  • Willems started his career with Sesame Street as a writer and animator.
  • Willems loves me too. (Did you read what he said about editors? He gets me.)

Sources:; Mo Willems on Writing Books Interview; Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and More Stories by Mo Willems

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