The BKBF Interview: Mo Willems


Mo Willems, BoBi Award winner and author of The Pigeon Has to Go to School!, kicks off the 2019 season of The BKBF Interview!


Where is your favorite place to read?
We have a small, but chock-full library in our home. I like to look up from my book and see more books.

What is your favorite book to give an adult or a child?
I have been gifting Does It Fart? by Dani Rabaiottie and Nick Caruso quite a bit lately. At home we use it like a Book of Common Prayer, selecting a page to read from every morning so that we might celebrate our commonalities with the animal kingdom.

What book do you return to most often, whether passages or whole?
James Marshall’s George and Martha, The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends.

What’s the last book that had you reading past your bedtime?
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong was a biome-altering book that my parasites induced me to read late into the night.

Who made reading important to you?
Kurt Vonnegut and Iris Murdoch.

BONUS QUESTION: In honor of the 5th anniversary of Children’s Day, we’re asking everyone, What’s your favorite children’s book?
My favorite children’s books are diverse, enigmatic, and unique, much like my favorite children.


Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. Mo’s celebrated Elephant & Piggie early reader series has been awarded two Theodor Seuss Geisel Medals (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) and five Geisel Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, Let’s Go for a Drive!, A Big Guy Took My Ball!, and Waiting Is Not Easy!). In 2019, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC named Mo the first-ever Education Artist-in-Residence. Mo began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards.


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