Jon Scieszka - Professional Life

Professional Life

While pursuing his MFA at Columbia in New York, Scieszka painted apartments. He went on to teach 1st-8th grade at the Day School (currently the Trevor Day School) for ten years. In 1991 he started writing and touring full-time which he still does today.

According to Scieszka, he writes books because he "loves to make kids laugh." Most of his best-known works were written in collaborations with illustrator Lane Smith, who does the artwork for Scieszka's words. Among their collaborations are The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and Math Curse. He is also the author of the Time Warp Trio series, for which Smith illustrated eight of the sixteen books. The series has been made into a television show. The design of many of Scieszka and Smith's collaborative works is attributed to Molly Leach, Smith's wife, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.

Scieszka is also the founder of Guys Read, a web-based literacy program for boys whose mission is ‘to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.’ He was prompted to found the nonprofit in response to his experiences as an elementary school teacher and the United States National Assessment of Educational Progress statistics showing boys consistently scoring worse than girls on federal reading tests every year, at every grade level.

In 2008 Scieszka was named the nation’s first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Librarian of Congress. During his two years as Ambassador, it was his job to raise “national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. For Scieszka, this meant traveling to schools, libraries and a variety of book related conferences to speak to people about engaging kids in reading through choice, an expanded definition of reading, positive role models, and embracing new technologies. He as also joked that being an ambassador gets him out of parking tickets.

Read more about this topic:  Jon Scieszka

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