The inspiration to begin writing and illustrating for children came from my wife, Carol. As a kindergarten teacher, she collected picture books. I was attracted to their colorful pages and the way the words and pictures played with each other, much like the captioned cartoons I had drawn when I was young.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of my career as an author is that I'm now going back to elementary school! Visiting young readers in classrooms and libraries is something I love. Kids keep me on my toes and they ask a lot of questions. The number one question seems to be, 'Where do you getyour ideas?' It's also the hardest question to answer because every idea is different. Some ideas seem to pop out of thin air -- while I'm in the shower or walking the dog. Others come from reading or research. But most of my ideas come from my family and the things they do and say.
For instance, one time when my first son, Walter, was five years old, I found him lying on the couch, looking pale as a ghost and clutching a Bible to his chest. He was praying! When I asked what was wrong, he wouldn't answer. In fact, he wouldn't even open his mouth. My wife, Carol, finally coaxed a response from him: he pointed inside his mouth. Carol exclaimed, 'You have a loose tooth!' Walter's eyes nearly popped out with fright. We quickly assured him that it was perfectly okay for his tooth to come loose and that a new one would replace it. But Carol and I looked at each other and realized that despite all our efforts to be good parents, we had somehow completely forgotten to warn Walter that teeth fall out! He had thought he was falling apart! I made a little note in my journal; then ten years later, I expanded that memory into my book Parts.
Tedd Arnold lives in Elmira, New York, with his wife, Carol, two sons, Walter and William, two cats, Cody and Frankie, and one dog, Hershey.
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