August’s Leader of the Month: Bill Martin Jr. (Author)
Bill Martin Jr. truly was “America’s favorite children’s author.” He wrote for almost 60 years (Yes, his first book, The Little Squeegy Bug–The Story of the Firefly, was published in 1945). He was the author of the classic text Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?, which was illustrated by his dear friend Eric Carle, as well as more than 300 other books for children.
Bill Martin lived the last 11 years of his life in the east Texas woods near Commerce, Texas. A Kansas native, Bill graduated with a teaching certificate from Emporia State University. He taught in Kansas and was an elementary school principal in Chicago before he moved to New York City in 1961 to work for Holt, Rinehart and Winston, where he developed the literature-based reading programs Sounds of Language and The Instant Readers. Seven years later, Bill left Holt and launched his career as a writer of children’s book and as a consultant to teachers. He lived in New York until 1993, when he moved to Texas.
Through the years he gave children some of their favorite books, including Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? (also illustrated by Eric Carle) The Ghost-Eye Tree, Barn Dance, Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom and many more. His classic work, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, now in board book form, is at the top of the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. His basketball thriller, SWISH, co-authored with Michael Sampson, is an exciting basketball tale, written in classic Martin Rhyme\Rhythm style, that features girls’ basketball. Six new Martin/Sampson book are now available: (Rock It, Sock It, Number Line; The Little Squeegy Bug, Trick or Treat?, Caddie the Golf Dog, I Pledge Allegiance, Chicka, Chicka 1,2.4! and Little Granny Quarterback. Read them today! A new vesion of Chicken Chuck came out in 2005, and I Love our Earth was published in 2006. Other Martin books that he completed before his death will continue to be released in the years to come.