Be Who You Are with Todd Parr

If you're not familiar with children's book author and illustrator, Todd Parr then this post will introduce you to a colourful way to educate and entertain young children who love books. Todd has written and published over 30 colourful children's books that teach children about kindness, acceptance and feeling good about themselves.

todd parr

I first discovered Todd's books when a friend gave my daughter The Daddy Book as a third birthday gift. Like his other books, this story is told through simple yet colourful illustrations and easy to read and understand sentences. In The Daddy Book he tells the story of different dads, including how some "daddies work at home" and "some daddies work far away." 

All of Todd's books celebrate what makes someone special, whether that person be a parent, a family or a child - including the reader themselves! The books also encourage early literacy, multiculturalism, promote character growth and strengthen friendships and relationships. Every book is cheerful and leaves the reader feeling good about themselves - and who doesn't love that? 

Although my daughter reads chapter books on her own now, she still loves Todd Parr's books and we plan on passing on our love of his books to other young children in our family. It was with this in mind that I was excited to hear Todd will be publishing a new children's book in October called, Be Who You Are.

Be old. Be young.
Speak your language. Be proud of where you’re from.

Just BE WHO YOU ARE!

I reached out to Todd and asked him a few questions about where he gets his inspiration from and what his new book is all about. Here is what he had to say:

Q. What is your inspiration for writing so many books about situations and lives that impact so many children? 

A. A lot of this stems from my childhood. I struggled with so many issues I write about. I was always trying to be like everyone else instead of just being who I was. I think the more you can help build children’s confidence and teach them about kindness, difference, and being different will make them better human beings. 

Q. Your messages for kids are so powerful! My daughter and I own several of your books, including The Family Book, The Daddy Book, The Mommy Book and It’s Okay to be Different - and just when I think you have run out of ideas you come out with another topical book! What is the inspiration behind your newest book, Be Who You Are

A. Thank you. This is something that took me years to learn when I was growing up. Finally, I realized that I needed to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be myself. Things got a lot easier after that. 

Todd Parr - Be who you are

Q. I love your use of humour and your colourful art style to get your message across - where does it come from? 

A. My dad, he was always doing stuff to make me laugh. I rely on humour as well as my simple art style to better help me deliver the messages I write about given that some are hard for younger children to understand. And the word underwear makes every kid laugh. 

Q. What is one of your favourite books from those you have written so far? 

A. "The Goodbye Book." It took me so long to come up with a way to help deal with loss. This book is so simple and matter of fact. I’ve seen how it’s helped kids deal with “goodbye” but also every year old adults. 

Q. Growing up, did you find it hard to be who you are? 

A. Yes, I did not fit in. I was not interested in most things that the rest of the kids were. I grew up in a very small town which did not make things any easier. 

Q. Who was your favourite children’s author growing up? 

A. Dr. Suess.

Q. Any chance of coming to Canada (Ottawa in particular) to speak to a few local schools who I know would love to hear you?

A. I love Canada! I’ve been to several cities there. In November I will be speaking at a teachers conference in Edmonton. Hopefully, I can make it to Ottawa one day soon. 

Special thanks to Todd for answering my questions!

I'd love to know if any of our readers are Todd Parr fans and if so, what's your favourite Todd Parr book? You can add Be Who You Are to your book shelves on October 26th.