Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mo Willems Studio MARCH - APRIL 2019 Update!

March and April will be busy months, with new books and celebrations for the 16th Anniversary of the publication of my first book!


It was 16 years ago on April Fools Day that my first book, DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! was published.  The manuscript had been floating around the publishing industry for years, rejected for being 'unusual' until it found an editor who felt that 'unusual' was a good thing.

Thanks to her, the book was published; thanks to YOU it was read.

The past 16 years have been a wonderful ride.  I've held on tight as new friends like Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, and a batch of Unlimited Squirrels joined in the fun.

Thanks to you and your support I've been able to travel the world and explore new worlds with these characters through animated shorts, theatrical productions, activity books, board games, art exhibits, interactive experiences, even performances with world renowned comedians.  Most importantly, I've gotten to meet and chat with thousands of kids, young artists, talented writers, fabulous readers, cool teachers, and awesome librarians.

Thank you.

I take my work seriously and hope I have 16 more years of experiments and explorations to share.


It has recently been announced that I will be the Kennedy Center's inaugural EDUCATION ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE! 

What does that mean?

This video may give you a taste.

I'm thrilled to be able to collaborate with folks like Jason Moran, Ben Folds, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more yet to be announced awesomeness.  I'm even teaming back up with Codename: Kids Next Door and Muppet Babies leader Mr. Warburton!  I'm thrilled to be working on Symphonic music, Jazz, Dance, Experimental, Musical Theater, Digital Platforms, Outreach, Comedy, even a series of artworks inspired by L v. Beethoven all within and without the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and it's new next-door campus, The Reach.

You can go to this site to learn more about some the events, programs, and outreach that MoKC has planned for the next 2 years.  It's all incredibly exciting and a great honor.  Also, it's going to be fun!

There will be many new announcements over the coming months of events and initiatives tied to MoKC, but for now you can read the full press release here.


There are a few books coming out in March/April that I hope you'll enjoy.  You can get your copy at your local bookseller or library!

MARCH 5th will see the publication of BECAUSE, a new picture book featuring the art of very talented Amber Ren in her picture book debut.  It is a book about music, co-operation, chance, and inspiration. 

Publisher's Weekly loved it, saying in a starred review, "Debut illustrator Ren takes the sprightly energy of The Philharmonic Gets Dressed and adds depth, with distinctive expressions for each diverse face and a wonderful vision of the powerful emotions that music evokes—building on the idea that it takes multiple players to create something wonderful."

Booklist also gave the book a starred review, saying, "Writing simply but powerfully about inspiration, its links from one generation to another, and the seemingly random elements that culminate in a transformative moment, Willems creates a narrative that will resonate with both children and adults. In her first picture book, Ren uses expressive line drawings and subtle washes of color to illustrate this unusual story. Her depiction of music brings a sense of enchantment to the pages, particularly in the series of pictures indicating the girl’s growing ability. This radiant picture book celebrates the magical, far-reaching power of serendipity."

Kirkus says"While many books celebrate the arts and creativity, this one stands out for recognizing the importance of community support; from the orchestra librarian to the music lovers who purchase tickets, everyone contributes to the culture of creativity." 

I'm very happy and proud of this collaboration and I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

MARCH 19th will see the publication of the board book version of A BUSY CREATURE'S DAY EATING!,  an alphabetical tale of hunger, hubris, regret, and redemption as a Busy Creature hilariously chomps and chews its way from A to P and then to Z (now in a format YOU can chew on).

APRIL 2nd will see the publication of THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH BOOK!, a condensed, bath ready version of THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!, The Pigeon's epic battle against bathing.


There are several different exhibits exploring different aspects of my work from original illustration to fun interactivity to my more personal work.  I hope you'll visit one of the shows in your area.


April 2 - May 15, 2019

The FENIMORE ART MUSEUM in Cooperstown, NY
Since their debut in 2007, Elephant and Piggie have entertained millions of children and adults with their hilarious escapades that impart valuable lessons on manners, empathy, emotions, and—most importantly—friendship.
The exhibition features a selection of original illustrations from all 25 Elephant and Piggie books. These black-and-white drawings are supplemented with digital color renderings, early sketches, dummy books, and character size charts, together revealing Willems’s methodical working process. A generation of children have learned to read with Elephant and Piggie, and this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to view the charismatic duo first-hand.


Glazer Children's Museum
110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602

Runs thru May 12, 2019!

This interactive, immersive experience filled with games, drawing, animation and much Mo' is designed to spark creativity in kids and their grown up pals.

The bus is has currently stopped at Tampa, Florida's Glazer Children's Museum

There are many fun experiences for you and your family to enjoy.  Hopefully, it will spark the whole family to start writing and drawing together.  I hope you'll have fun when you visit!

You can read about the process behind the exhibit HERE.  

Interested to know if The Pigeon will be coming to your town?  This site has the latest on the exhibit's schedule.

Illustrated Reflections & Protest Signs From 2018

March 1 - March 31, 2019

R. Michelson Galleries, Northampton, MA

Occasionally during the rollercoaster that was 2018, Mo Willems pulled out his pen and markers as a way to absorb, reflect, and share his thoughts on the events of the day.  TRY BEING NICE collects many of these drawings along with a few signs created for various protests Mo attended throughout the year.

Proceeds for this show will be donated to The Northampton Education Foundation to help supplement programs and activities for the community’s public-school students.

This exhibit is my 3rd annual benefit exhibit at the R. Michelson Galleries.  Past shows include YOU ARE NOT ALONE: REFLECTIONS ON THE NEWS and WORD PLAY.


There is one production of my musical plays going on this summer.  If you're in the area, take a kid to the theater.  You'll be exposing a young mind to the joys of live performance, and I'll bet you have a great time, too!

Here's what's running now:

Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!" at Indiana Repertory Theatre

140 W. Washington Street
IndianapolisIN 46204

Irt Exploring Stages

Thru 03/31/2019

Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!" at Cornerstone Black Box Theatre

302 Town Place
FairivewTX 75069

Plano Childrens Theatre Dba Mckinney Youth Theatre

03/07/2019 to 03/10/2019

Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!" at Carousel Theater

1411 Cartwright Street
Granville Island
VancouverBC V6H 3R7

Carousel Theatre

03/01/2019 to 03/31/2019

Elephant & Piggie's "We Are in a Play!" at Long Island Childrens Museum

11 Davis Avenue

Garden CityNY 11530
Long Island Childrens Museum
03/05/2019 to 04/26/2019

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

510 Centerville Rd
LancasterPA 17601-1306
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Thru 03/15/2019

FOREIGN LANDS (and socks)!

Elephant and Piggie were the focus of a fun playscape/interactive area in Hong Kong's Windsor Mall celebrating the Chinese New Year (of the Pig)!  

Additionally a slew of newly published Russian editions of Elephant & Piggie, The Pigeon, and Knuffle Bunny arrived at the studio.  

The folks at OUT OF PRINT also came out with some fun, new stuff, including little socks for little feet!

You can see all the Mo Out of Print stuff (including grown up socks) here!


Remember there's always more to see on the various blogs, PigeonPresents  & THANK-O-RAMA.com

You can always get signed books and all new Mo things at the Eric Carle Museum Bookshop.