February 11, 1968 |
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Occupation||Author, Illustrator, Animator|
|Education||New York University (BFA)|
Early life 
Willems was raised in New Orleans, where he graduated from Trinity Episcopal School and the Isidore Newman School. He graduated cum laude from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He married Cheryl Camp in Brooklyn, New York, in 1997. Willems now resides with his family in Northampton, Massachusetts.
After graduating from Tisch, Willems spent a year traveling around the world drawing a cartoon every day, all of which have been published in the book You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons.
Returning to New York, he started his career as a writer and animator for Sesame Street, where he earned six Emmy Awards for writing during his tenure from 1993 to January 2002. During this period he also performed stand-up comedy in NYC and recorded essays for BBC Radio along with making a promo for Cartoon Network and animating the opening for a show on Nickelodeon. He later created two animated television series: The Off-Beats for Nickelodeon's Kablam, and Sheep in the Big City for Cartoon Network. Sheep in the Big City was a success with the critics but ultimately failed to attract sufficient viewership and was canceled after two seasons. Willems later worked as head writer on the first four seasons of Codename: Kids Next Door, created by one of his colleagues from Sheep, Tom Warburton. He left the show to pursue his writing career.
Since 2003, Willems has authored numerous books for young children, many of which have garnered significant critical acclaim. The New York Times Book Review referred to Willems as "the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the 00's" — and to his pigeon character as "one of this decade's contributions to the pantheon of great picture book characters."
Three of Willems' books have been awarded a Caldecott Honor: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (2004), Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (2005), and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (2008). Recently he has been creating the Elephant and Piggie books, an early reader series about a friendly elephant and pig. Elephant and Piggie books won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009, and Geisel Honors in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2010, Willems introduced a new series of books featuring Cat the Cat, also aimed at early readers.
Willems' books have been translated into a number of languages, spawned animated shorts that have twice been awarded the Carnegie Medal (Knuffle Bunny, 2007, and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, 2010), and been developed into theatrical musical productions. His illustrations, wire sculpture, and carved ceramics have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the nation.
Willems has worked on a number of books on his own, as well as submitting work for other compilations.
- Pigeon series
- Knuffle Bunny series
- Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct
- Leonardo, the Terrible Monster
- Time to Pee!
- Time to Say "Please"! — a book about manners (2005, Hyperion Books)
- You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons — a compilation of cartoons Willems drew while taking a year-long backpacking trip around the world (2006, Hyperion Books)
- Elephant and Piggie series
- Today I Will Fly!
- My Friend is Sad
- There is Bird on Your Head! — Geisel Medal 2008
- I Am Invited to a Party!
- I Will Surprise my Friend!
- I Love My New Toy!
- Are You Ready to Play Outside? — Geisel Medal 2009
- Watch Me Throw the Ball!
- Pigs Make Me Sneeze!
- Elephants Cannot Dance!
- I Am Going!
- Can I Play Too?
- We Are In a Book! — Geisel Honor 2011
- I Broke My Trunk! — Geisel Honor 2012
- Should I Share My Ice Cream?
- Happy Pig Day!
- Listen to My Trumpet!
- Let's Go For a Drive! — Geisel Honor 2013
- Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
- Big Frog Can't Fit In: A Pop Out Book
- Cat the Cat series
- Cat the Cat, Who Is That?
- Let's Say Hi to Friends Who Fly
- What's Your Sound, Hound the Hound?
- Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep!
- City Dog, Country Frog (2010, Hyperion Books)
As animator 
- The Man Who Yelled (1990)
- Cartoon Network Europe "Closedown" (design) (1993)
- Sesame Street (various shorts) (1993-1999)
- Crazy Owen (promo for Cartoon Network) (1995)
- Nickelodeon "Rhino ID" (design) (1996)
- The Offbeats (1996-1998)
- Short Films by Short People (show open) (1997)
- Susan Larson, "Local writers continue to rack up awards", Times-Picayune, January 23, 2008.
- Maria C. Montoya, "Mo Willems, author and former 'Sesame Street' writer, visits New Orleans", Times-Picayune, June 22, 2011.
- "Publishing Success is Child’s Play for Mo Willems ’86", Isidore Newman School, September 30, 2009.
- "New York Times: Weddings: Mo Willems and Cheryl Camp". The New York Times, Style Section. 1997-09-28.
- Pigeon Presents: You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons
- Mo Willems' biography
- Mo Willems at the Internet Movie Database
- Garner, Dwight (2005-05-15). "New York Times Book Review: Inside the List". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Handy, Bruce (2006-11-12). "New York Times Book Review: Churlish Critters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- American Library Association: Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present.
- American Library Association, Association for Library Service to Children: (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award Winners and Honor Books, 2006-Present.
- "A Conversation With Mo Willems". School Library Journal. 2009-11-18.
- National Public Radio (NPR): Stories featuring Mo Williams
- Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video: Past Winners
- Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video: Current Winner, 2010
- National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature: Mo Willems
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mo Willems|