Allan Ahlberg, one of the most acclaimed and successful authors of children’s books—including the best-selling Jolly Postman series—says that he dreamed of becoming a writer since the age of twelve. But his route to that goal was somewhat circuitous. Other jobs along the way included postman (not an especially jolly one, he recalls), gravedigger, plumber, and teacher. The author wrote his first book when he was thirty-seven, after a decade of teaching—a profession that he maintains is “much harder” than being a writer.
Allan Ahlberg’s books with Candlewick Press include Monkey Do!, illustrated by Andre Amstutz; Mockingbird and The Bravest Ever Bear, by Paul Howard; The Snail House and Treasure Hunt, illustrated by Gillian Tyler; and Half A Pig and The Goldilocks Variations, illustrated by his daughter, Jessica Ahlberg.
The prolific author also wrote the hilarious The Man Who Wore All His Clothes, The Woman Who Won Things, and The Cat Who Got Carried Away, the first three books of what he hopes will be a six-book series about the ever-surprising Gaskitt family. Of the Gaskitts, he says, “They may be more than a little eccentric, but there’s a real sense of loving unity and warmth in their cozy, if somewhat unconventional, daily lives.” These quirky stories, which take place “in a universe in which cats can talk, refrigerators and doormats leave messages, and everything is animated,” are written as early chapter books, abundantly and humorously illustrated by Katharine McEwen.
Allan Ahlberg says that if he hadn’t become a writer, he would have loved to be a soccer player. He lives in England.