Robert Munsch

On this date in 1945, children’s author Robert Norman Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., 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 stopped, unable to “believe all the things he was expected to espouse.” (See quote for citation.) Instead he found himself drawn to work in orphanages and day care centers.

In the 1970s he and his wife Ann Beeler, whom he met working in an orphanage, moved to Canada and found work at the University of Guelph in Ontario. One of his first children’s stories, Mud Puddle, was published in 1979. His U.S. popularity grew 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” (1991-92). He regularly made surprise appearances at day cares, 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 his books, Giant; or Waiting for the Thursday Boat (1989), was banned in some places as offensive to religion, e.g., a character threatens to “pound God into applesauce.” Munsch is a Unitarian who attended the Unitarian Fellowship in Guelph “until the routine petered out when the kids got restless.” (Citation below.) Munsch and his wife have three adopted children.

Munsch autograph session in 1997 in Guelph, Ontario; Markbellis photo under CC 4.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation