Robert Munsch, children's writer and storyteller (b at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 11 Jun 1945). Robert Munsch is an enormously successful children's writer, and Canada's best-selling author. His books have sold over 30 million copies in more than a dozen languages. While he was preparing to become a Jesuit priest, Munsch earned a BA in History at Fordham University and an MA degree in Anthropology at Boston University. After leaving the Jesuits and while working at nursery schools and day-care centres, Munsch completed a Masters of Education in Child Studies at Tufts University. In 1975 Munsch moved to Canada to join the Family Studies Department at the University of Guelph. He and his family have remained in Canada and he later became a Canadian citizen. In 1979 Munsch published his first 2 picture books: Mud Puddle and The Dark. He has since published more than 40 titles.
Robert Munsch is very much an oral storyteller, with most of his written books being the culmination of years of tinkering before devoted audiences of children. Repetition, refrain and triadic patterns dominate his work. Munsch's phenomenal appeal can be partly attributed to his attempts to empower children in his stories. The child characters in his books tackle their ordinary and fantastic challenges with wit, bravery and invention. Canada's multicultural population and broad geographic diversity are well represented in the characters and settings of Munsch's stories.
Munsch's works are studied in Children's Literature courses and The Paper Bag Princess has been lauded as a feminist fairy tale and contemporary classic. Many of his stories have been adapted for the stage, as both plays and musicals. The phenomenally popular Love You Forever, which has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, was the basis for a musical composition by Marjan Mozetich, premiered by Quartetto Gelato in 2005.
Munsch received a Juno Award in 1985 for his recording of Murmel, Murmel, Munsch: More Outrageous Stories (1985). His book Thomas' Snowsuit won the 1986 Ruth Schwartz Award and he was named the "Author of the Year" by the Canadian Booksellers' Association in 1992. Robert Munsch became a member of the Order of Canada in 1999. He served as the first Honourary Chair for Family Literacy Day in January 2003.
Munsch includes Dr Seuss and Charles Darwin amongst the people he most admires. When prompted to say what question he would like to be asked in an interview, Robert Munsch replied, "How has being a manic-depressive, obsessive-compulsive, recovered-alcoholic nut case changed your writing?"