Jon Scieszka was born in 1954.
Best known for his collaborations with illustrator Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Stories, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs), author Jon Scieszka has also written a memoir, Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka. Scieszka is a champion of reading opportunities for boys, having founded the web-based literacy program Guys Read and served as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
- Ask students to brainstorm all the ways that their families, school, and community have supported their love for reading—or have squelched their love for it. Ask them to transform this list into a chart of Do’s and Don’ts advising the adults in their lives on how to nurture a love of reading in young people.
- Then share (in language appropriate for your students’ grade level) and discuss the components of Jon Scieszka’s platform as Ambassador for Young People’s Literature to motivate young readers:
- Expand your definition of reading beyond fiction and novels. Lots of kids love to read non-fiction, humor, comic strips, magazines, illustrated stories, audio recordings, and websites. It’s all reading. It’s all a good way to become a reader.
- Let kids choose reading that interests them. It may not be the reading you like, but making the choice is important to kids.
- Be a good reading role model. Talk to your kids about how you choose what you read. Share your reading likes and dislikes. Let kids see you reading.
- Try not to demonize TV, computer games, and new technologies. These media do compete for kids’ time, but they are not the “bad guy.” Help kids become media literate. Show them how different media tell stories in different ways.
- Think global. Act local. There are all kinds of good people and worthy groups working to help kids read. Teachers, librarians, and booksellers are a wonderful resource. Ask them for book recommendations. Join a local literacy group.
(from National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Library of Congress)
- Then ask students to compare their suggestions to Scieszka’s and to return to their list to make additions or changes.
- Finally, invite students to use the Letter Generator to write a letter to families, school staff, librarians, and community members sharing their ideas on how best to support young readers’ interest in books.
This video shares Sciescka's perspectives on how to make reading fun.
Scieszka's whimsical webpage includes a biography and information about his books and series.
The homepage of Scieszka's project supporting reading choices for boys includes book lists, ideas for book clubs, and more.
This page offers a brief feature on each of the Ambassadors, including Scieszka, Katherine Patterson, and Walter Dean Myers.
This resource from Scholastic provides suggested activities for teaching Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. There is a link on the page to similar resources for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.