Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Visit With Todd Parr


Life is good and it just keeps getting better.

For many, many years I have had a intense love for the creations of children's book author and illustrator Todd Parr. His artwork is bright, colorful, happy, childlike and totally engaging. His words convey a message of peace, acceptance, honesty, fun and love.

The work seems to be the creation of someone who has a passion for what he does and follows his bliss.

I first discovered Todd Parr through the book It's Okay To Be Different and after that first reading I was hopelessly hooked. At the time it seemed to me as though Todd Parr was my little secret, not well known but deserving of attention on a grand scale. It became my mission to get the word out.

And I did in small ways. All the children in my life got Todd Parr books as gifts, I encouraged friends to follow suit and purchase his books for the little ones in their families, I read his books to my elementary students who subsequently fell in love with the adventures of Otto and Underwear Do's and Don'ts and our school librarian ordered his entire catalog for the children's library AND my classroom library.

Through the years his popularity has certainly taken off. He has a successful children's television program entitled Todd's World and merchandising ranging from children's clothing to toys for your pet.

But since the beginning I thought that it would be AMAZING if I could have an opportunity to meet him and share with him the impact of his work. Here is a children's book author/illustrator who I greatly admire that I could actually meet (unlike the creators of a certain little monkey).

And on Thursday, March 24, 2010 after a book reading at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue I finally did!

Todd signed a few books for this (hopefully) outwardly composed individual (inside I was screaming "I AM TALKING TO TODD PARR!!) and by the end of our short conversation he expressed an interest in visiting my school. Everything after that was a blur but I know that I floated out of the library feeling elated and hopeful.

It is not often that we meet public figures we greatly admire. It is even less often that they admire your work as well and offer to visit. A date in early June was mentioned as a possibility so I remain hopeful that the details will all get worked out and this happens.

In the meanwhile I FINALLY MET TODD PARR!!


Arielle Lee Bair said...

That. is. awesome.



Lorenzo at the Alchemist's Pillow said...

Congratulations, Gary. Keep us posted on the possible visit.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

glad you got to meet him, I love your classroom its' so rich and inviting the schools in my area are NOT

Barbara said...

How exciting! I hope the June visit happens. Your kids will be so thrilled to meet one of their favorite authors.

I really enjoyed reading all about H. A. Rey in the link you provided. I'm really glad Curious George survived their flight on bicycles out of Paris. But then he always was a precocious little monkey!

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

if your not away for the break, check my site
and I sent you a virtual spring basket and hope you will send it along to other bloggers to raise money for the children's fund.

Mickle in NZ said...

How absolutely wonderful for you. Really hope Tod's visit to your class happens. You have me smiling a big, broad grin - I like reading happy news.

Have a happy Easter break.


i hope i can get to meet Todd Parr too.

oh and i truly admire your work here in your blog. i came across this blog tjrough Todd Parr's recommendation at facebook. :D


Gary said...

Arielle - I know, right! Simply awesome.

Lorenzo - You can count on it.

Whisper - My classroom is spectacular. It has to do with the fact that we have a large space with good light and administrators who support our vision. I am lucky in that respect certainly. Many of the classrooms I see in NY and elsewhere are restrained by space making the rooms hard to navigate and cluttered. Thanks for the virtual spring basket.

Barbara - The only issue with a visit will be who to invite. The older kids love his books as well as the little ones. I do suppose there are more horrible decisions to make than this however. :)

The Curious George exhibit at The Jewish Museum is fantastic. I attended an educator workshop there already (I want to post about it) and will attend a lecture about their flight from Paris on April 8th. The Reys are so, so interesting. Where is their movie??

Mickle - You make me smile as well. I am enjoying the Easter break. I am much lazier than I had anticipated. Perhaps today is the day I get to my school work. We'll see...

Happy Blogger - It was a treat to meet Mr. Todd Parr. And I am stoked that he put a link to my blog on his Facebook page. How utterly amazing is that! Thanks for stopping to visit. I hope you'll be back.

Sylestial said...

Oh my gosh!
I love your blog, Gary!
I was a public school teacher for 8 years, before becoming a "full time" mom. I LOVE Todd Parr as well. His books have made all of us smile so much! I am so very jealous that you were able to meet him. VERY COOL! Thanks for posting the chef photos too! I really love everything that you do. :-)

Sylestial said...

PS: Are you on Facebook, because Todd updates his page regularly and there is some pretty funny stuff on there right now. Check it out...
I love his readings of his fan mail! So great!

Gary said...

Sylestial - Welcome to the blogosphere! (I popped over to your blog and saw that you are a fledgling blogger.) I am a fan/friend of Todd's on FB as of about two weeks ago. His video posts are really cute. How wonderful that he connects with the children who read his books. Thanks for stopping by FYB, I hope you will return.

Sebastien Millon said...

Wow! thanks for sharing, his work is amazing! going to check out more of his work.

Mrs. Crook said...

I love Todd Parr too! Are you on Twitter? Edie


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