If you look for Angelo DeCesare during the school year, youll most likely find him in a classroom, showing students how to have fun through writing and drawing. Flash back to his grade school days, and you might see Angelo doing the same thing with a group of classmates during an indoor recess period. Angelo loves to create, and he loves helping others find the creative person within. And you dont even need a flashlight!
Angelo grew up in the Bronx, New York, and has been drawing for as long as he can remember. Due to the early loss of his father, Angelo's household was often an unhappy place, and he used writing and drawing as an escape. He would sometimes draw and write comic stories about his friends. This trait would resurface years later when Angelo came to write his first children's books, as youll see if you keep reading and dont skip anything.
Angelo was first paid for his artwork at the age of 15, when he worked in his high school's audio-visual center. After high school, he attended Pratt Institute for a few years but left to become a famous comic-strip artist (which, 30 years later, still hasnt happened. It's a good thing that Angelo changed his plans).
Angelo's first real job was at Harvey Comics in New York City. There he wrote and drew his first published comic-book stories. Angelo found that the comic-book medium was much more suited to his storytelling abilities than the quick-gag comic-strip medium. Obviously, Angelo has a lot to say, only some of which is worth hearing. He has since written and storyboarded hundreds of comics for Marvel, Harvey, and Archie.
In 1980, Angelo began working in the art department of King Features Syndicate. He stayed there for eight years, during which time he honed his writing skills, usually when his boss wasnt looking.
In 1993, Angelo entered the first Dr. Seuss Picture Book Award contest, in which applicants were required to write and draw an original children's book. Although Angelo didnt win, his book was the only entry out of 1,200, aside from the winner, to be chosen for publication. In March 1996, Anthony the Perfect Monster appeared as part of Random House's Beginner Book series and has sold well over 100,000 copies. In 1997, Anthony was selected as a Children's Choice award winner in a joint project of the Children's Book Council, the International Reading Group, and his mom.
Following the publication of Anthony, and with the help of his friend, Vicki Irgang, Angelo began working as a visiting author for the Center for Educational Change at Brooklyn College. Under its auspices, Angelo visited various public schools and created a program to foster creativity. A few years later, Angelo met Dr. Tova Ackerman, the director of Puppetry In Practice, an organization that promotes literacy through the arts. Dr. Ackerman suggested using an unpublished book that Angelo had written, Flip's Fantastic Journal, as the basis of a new writing/drawing program. The story of Flip, a cartoon dog who learns to enjoy writing by using his imagination, is inspired by Angelo's childhood, and its characters are based on his family and friends (including his big bossy sis... I mean, his nice sister, Sniffie). Flip proved very successful in helping reluctant readers and writers. In 1999, Flip's Fantastic Journal was published by Dutton Children's Books, a division of Penguin/Putnam.
The success of the Flip program led to a series of Flip books, each printed by PIP and covering a different aspect of the school curriculum. The latest book, Flip's Math Party Journal, is based on the boring New Year's Eve parties that Angelo was forced to attend as a child (Angelo's presence at the party was the main reason it was boring).
Angelo lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter, and two noisy parakeets.