JonArno Lawson - Author

JonArno Lawson

JonArno Lawson lives in Toronto with his wife and three children. In addition to Think Again, he is the author of several other books for children and adults, and is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. In 2015, he received the Governor General's award for his picture book Sidewalk Flowers.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised in Dundas, JonArno's most formative experiences as a child were the months he spent in Florida at the age of eight. Missing almost an entire year of school (which, luckily, he wasn't forced to repeat), he spent his weekdays at the beach digging holes and collecting seashells and coconuts, traveling in glass bottom boats and visiting nature parks that had free-roaming monkeys and parrots. He wore a ship captain's hat at all times, and a green pouch on his belt, in which he kept a small golden sword, dozens of ticket stubs, a musket ball, brass souvenir coins that bore the faces of various US presidents, a small British flag he found stuck in his fish-and-chips one day and other similar treasures (which he still has and enjoys looking at).

His important influences as a writer were mostly songs: The Gumdrop Follies recordings of Jim Copp and Ed Brown, “The Irish Song” by Tom Lehrer and “The Shape of Things” by Sheldon Harnick. He also loved (and still loves) the songs of Stephen Sondheim, Yip Harburg, Jeff Moss and Joe Raposo.

JonArno's first book of poetry (and aphorisms) was published in 1997, helped in that direction by Canadian novelist Timothy Findley. He often works while walking about, scribbling things down in a notebook he always keeps with him. He also works in his cold, messy basement office at home. He hates messiness, but doesn't have time to both clean and write.
Facebook: JonArno Lawson
Twitter: @JonArNoMore

Things you didn't know about JonArno Lawson

1. His poem The Badger, the Barnfowl, and Their Little Friend the Snail was originally written as a letter to his grandmother, who hated poetry. She was bewildered by this poem/letter, and continued to hate poetry.

2. His favourite movie is Fanny and Alexander.

3. He had a parrot named Angus when he was little. Angus would walk around the dining room table and dip his toast in a cup of tea.

4. His parents were planning to name him Martin Luther because he was born shortly after American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

5. Instead they named him after the German writer, Arno Schirokauer.

6. The first real poem he wrote was for his high school girlfriend. Later, (the same year the poem was finally published) she married him.

7. He worked for a summer on the excavation of Tel Dor in Israel. He found nothing at all, but the person working next to him found a 3000-year-old skeleton.

8. His middle name, Burhans, is a Dutch name that means Farmer John.

9. As a child he flew over Miami in the Goodyear Blimp.

10. He thinks (and often writes) best when he's walking. He edits best when he's sitting down.


2017 - Best Picture Books of 2017, Kirkus Reviews, Winner

Picture Books

Leap!, 2017