Rober Munsch was born on June 11, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a family of 9 kids. As a child, Munsch says he was not an A+ student: "I almost flunked first grade and also the second, third, fourth, and fifth... I never learned how to spell, graduated from eighth grade counting on my fingers to do simple addition, and in general was not a resounding academic success."
His one saving grace throughout school was poetry: "I did, however, all through elementary school, write poetry. Funny poems, silly poems, all sorts of poems."
Munsch's post-grad included an undergraduate degree in History from Fordham University and a Master's degree in Anthropology from Boston University. During his studies, Munsch also spent time learning to become a Jesuit priest. After about 7 years, he left this path to pursue a new course towards working with kids, something he became passionate about after working part-time at an orphanage.
Munsch spent some time working in daycare, and went back to school for a year at the Elliot Pearson School of Child Studies at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. His job and studies helped grow Munsch's passion for storytelling, specifically children's stories.
In 1975, Munsch found himself working at the lab preschool at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. It was here that his colleagues encouraged him to publish the stories he would tell the kids, which he did. Munsch's first book, Mud Puddle, sold 3000 copies the first year.
After Munsch realized just how much people loved his stories, he would quit his job at the University to focus on his craft. It was around that time that he became a full-fledged Canadian citizen, too!
Munsch has published over 54 stories, and his books are loved by both children and grown-ups all over the world. As a writer, Munsch is never afraid to break new ground, and challenge conventions and stereotypes. Take The Paper Bag Princess, for instance, which sees the princess take on the mantle of the brave and smart protagonist, as opposed to a helpless damsel.
Nearly all of Munsch's works are based on real kids he has met, often on his tours and travels. Each book is dedicated to the child or children that inspired it.
Other stories touch on personal moments from Munsch's own life: The international bestseller Love You Forever, which started out as a song, was originally written after Munsch and his wife had two stillborn babies, in order to help them deal with the grief.
The success of his books has allowed Munsch to travel all over Canada and the US. To this day, he still makes surprise visits to daycares, classrooms and libraries throughout North America, often reading to large audiences of over 3000 kids. While travelling, Munsch stays with local families, and they often end up inspiring many of his future books.
In 1999, Munsch was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Munsch is known for his animated storytelling methods, with exaggerated expressions and acted voices. He makes up his stories in front of audiences and refines them through repeated tellings. He has said: "It takes 200 tellings for a story to get good."
A Bunch of Munsch was a Canadian cartoon series based on the stories of Robert Munsch. It premiered on September 2nd, 1991.