On this date in 1945, bestselling Canadian children’s author Robert Norman Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the fourth of nine children. Munsch earned a Bachelor’s in history from Fordham University (1969) and a Master’s in anthropology from Boston University (1971). For seven years, he studied in Boston to become a Catholic priest but gave this up, unable to “believe all the things he was expected to espouse” (Unitarian Church of Edmonton website, “The Theology of Robert Munsch,” by Brian Kiely, May 9). Instead, Munsch found himself drawn to work in orphanages and daycare centers. In the 1970s, he and his wife Ann Beeler, whom he met working in an orphanage, relocated to Canada and found work at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. One of his first children’s stories, Mud Puddle, was published in 1979. Munsch became a bestselling author in Canada, and his popularity grew in the United States with his book Love You Forever (1986). More than 55 of his books have been published. Some of his stories were adapted for a cartoon series, “Bunch of Munsch” (1991-1992). He regularly makes surprise appearances at daycares, libraries and schools to tell stories to children. Munsch became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999, in recognition of “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” One of Munsch’s books, Giant; or Waiting for the Thursday Boat (1989), was banned in some places due to a story line deemed offensive to religion in which a character threatens to “pound god into applesauce.” According to the Unitarian Church of Edmonton website, Munsch is a Unitarian who attended the Unitarian Fellowship in Guelph “until the routine petered out when the kids got restless” (“The Theology of Robert Munsch,” by Brian Kiely, May 9, 2004). Munsch and his wife have three adopted children.
“My brief answer is that I am an atheist. . . . I’m not saying there isn’t a god, but there isn’t a god who cares about people. And who wants a god who doesn’t give a shit?”
—Robert Munsch, quoted in an article on the Unitarian Church of Edmonton website, “The Theology of Robert Munsch,” by Brian Kiely, May 9, 2004
Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch
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