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.