David LaRochelle

author & illustrator

More than you’d ever care to know about David LaRochelle

As you can see, I wasn’t always known as “Tall Dave”! I was born in Min­neapo­lis on Octo­ber 26th. I grew up in New Brighton, Min­neso­ta, where I spent way too much time watch­ing TV (which is strange because I don’t even own a tele­vi­sion now).

When I wasn’t watch­ing reruns of Gilligan’s Island or The Brady Bunch, I enjoyed read­ing, draw­ing, act­ing out make-believe sto­ries with my neigh­bor LuAnn, and annoy­ing my old­er sis­ter Debbie.

Some of my favorite gifts as a kid includ­ed a tank of heli­um (I want­ed to become a bal­loon man), Spiro­graph, and packs of bright­ly col­ored con­struc­tion paper. I could spend hours mak­ing things out of con­struc­tion paper. My child­hood hero was Charles Schulz, cre­ator of the Peanuts com­ic strip, and if I couldn’t become a bal­loon man, I want­ed to become a cartoonist.

I had var­i­ous pets grow­ing up, includ­ing rab­bits, tur­tles, gold­fish, and a white rat left over from a school sci­ence project. But for those of you who have read The Best Pet of All, it will come as no sur­prise that my favorite pet was our dog, Caesar.

I loved mak­ing up sil­ly poems, and cre­at­ed my own mag­a­zine, Rhyme Time, which also fea­tured the com­ic strip adven­tures of Mighty Man. In high school, a hor­ror sto­ry of mine titled “Miss Phillip’s Sixth Grade Class Goes to the Muse­um” (too grue­some to describe!) was pub­lished in a mag­a­zine for teens, which was the first time I was ever paid mon­ey for one of my sto­ries. Art and Eng­lish class­es were always my favorite subjects.

By the time I grad­u­at­ed from St. Olaf Col­lege in 1983 I had changed my career plans once again. This time I want­ed to work as an illus­tra­tor for Hall­mark cards. When that plan fell through (I was told that I couldn’t draw well enough), I decid­ed to become an ele­men­tary school teacher instead.

It was while I was teach­ing fourth grade that a friend con­vinced me to send a sto­ry I had writ­ten to a local pub­lish­er. To my sur­prise, the edi­tor want­ed to buy it, and in 1988 my first book, A Christ­mas Guest, was published.

Since then I have writ­ten or illus­trat­ed over thir­ty books, includ­ing pic­ture books, puz­zle books, and a nov­el for young adults.

When I’m not work­ing on a new book, I love enter­ing con­testssolv­ing puz­zlesgeo­cachingtrav­el­ing, and carv­ing pump­kins. And of course I love to read!

not tall David
Not-So-Tall David
David and sister Debbie
My sis­ter Deb­bie and me
David and rabbit
Our pet rab­bits Peter and Puff
Elementary school teacher
Me, hard at work as a teacher in 1988