At my local children's library, a librarian was reading to a group of young children. They were mesmerized and smiling. I was curious. The book she was reading was, Zoom Zoom Zoom! I'm Off To The Moon!, a Scholastic publication, written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Afterwards I spoke to the librarian about the book. She proceeded to show me the other books written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, which she recommends because they are beloved by the children and their parents. I took out a bunch to read and quickly fell in love with them.
I got in touch with Dan and was invited to attend a presentation where he was inspiring young artists to have the confidence to pursue their dreams. Sitting among the students, I could feel their enthusiasm. Dan was talking about his own life, the sense of confidence that gave him the ability to say, “YES” each time an opportunity revealed itself, even if he didn’t know how.
He began as a magazine illustrator and one day, when asked by a book editor whether he had a story idea for a picture book, even though he did not, he swiftly said, “Yes”, went home to write the manuscript and proceeded to launch a successful career as a beloved children’s author, illustrator, and television Producer. He has recently entered the world of feature films.
Soon after, we met for coffee at a café on the West Side of New York City. Dan talked about his career and it became clear that “family” was a theme of great importance to him. As we discussed his repertoire of books, the theme of family emerged regularly. Dan himself, is represented as a character throughout his work and his own son and daughter began to show up as well; Dan and his son are the characters in the picture book, Every Friday and Dan’s daughter is the main character in the Nickleodeon television show, Willas’s Wildlife.
Dan talked excitedly about his new book, Coming to America, which is the story of his grandfather’s journey from Sicily, Italy to New York City. When he wrote this most “personal” of his books, it hadn’t occurred to him that it would become his most “universal.”
A few weeks later, I interviewed Dan. I am delighted to share this peek into the world of Dan Yaccarino as he steps into Dream Jam World to talk about his life, his work, his philosophy to “say yes” and his hopes for the future. As a special treat, Dan reads his books, Lawn to Lawn, Every Friday and Unloveable.
Interviewed by Cori Chertoff
Videotaped and Edited by Nicky Kulund
Edited by EZ Productions
Check out our selection of Dan Yaccarino's books in our store
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