Robert MunschRobert Munsch is the author of 47 children's books, including The Paper Bag Princess, Thomas' Snowsuit and Love You Forever, which has sold over 18 million copies in North America. His latest book is I'm So Embarrassed.

As honorary chair of ABC CANADA Family Literacy Day, Robert is deeply committed to encouraging families to read together.

Q: What should parents do to encourage children to read?

A: First, turn off the TV for an hour everyday and read together.  And make sure you have lots of books around. But make it fun.  It shouldn't be like homework.  Make reading entertaining - make funny sounds and act it out together - kids really like that!  Also, find books that appeal to whatever your child is currently interested in.  If they like trucks - read about trucks.  And do other things together that encourage using words - singing, looking up stuff on the Internet, cooking together. REMEMBER: If your kids never see you reading, they will probably not think that reading is neat.

Q: Who was your favorite author when you were a child?

A: I loved Dr. Seuss and I really liked The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.  Dr Seuss was a real inspiration to me - he was my idol.

Q: What do you do to help the literacy cause?

A: Mostly I write my books. I also travel around and do storytelling at schools (I have visited about 500 schools so far) so kids get interested in stories and then I hope they will go to the library and find my books and other books that will interest them. I am always really touched when parents contact me and say their child started reading because of a book I wrote. The child had the parents read the books many times and then eventually started reading it themselves. This is one of the great things about being an author for children.

Q:  What inspires you to write your books?

A: I get my inspiration from kids, looking at them, seeing what they do and hearing the funny things they sayMost books I have written have been inspired by one particular child and its experience. 

Q: What was the first book you ever had published?

A:  It was Mud Puddle. It did not take me a long time to get published because I had lots of stories that I had been telling. I wrote down 10 of them and sent them to 10 different publishers. Nine said “NO” and one said “YES”.

Q: Have you written about your own children?

A: Yes, I have three books based on my own kids.  Andrew's Loose Tooth is for my son Andrew because he hated having his teeth pulled, Makeup Mess is for my daughter Julie because she really, really liked makeup and Something Good is for my daughter Tyya because we always fought about what to get when we went grocery shopping.

Q: You're a children's author but do you feel your books have a more universal appeal?

A: I think so.  Lots of older people, especially mothers, have copies of Love You Forever and I get mail from people telling me they still love my books even though they are grown-up.  My father, who is 93, really likes my books.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?

A: About five years.  That's because I tell it until it gets to the point where I think it's worth writing down.

New to Abebooks