Mercer Mayer is a notable children’s book illustrator who has published over 300 books since starting his career in 1966. His most notable series of books, Little Critter and Little Monsters are highly revered and highly recommended for beginning readers. Their images are so adorable, and really attract children to the story. With several decades in the business, Mercer is highly recognized in his field. He has worked with writers such as Jane Yolen, John Fitzgerald, Jay Williams, John Bellaires, as well as other writers. His style is hard to miss, and very recognizable. You could almost bet that when you see a book illustrated by Mercer Mayer, you will know right away which one it is.
Mercer writes his books about things that happened to him growing up. He finds the first hand experience in a situation to be the best of story tellers. Combining these life experiences with his clever wording at captivating images, you get a beautiful little book that is easy to read, and interesting enough to keep the interest of the little ones. Mercer also has children of his own (three with his second wife and two with his third) so he also bases his stories off of situations and issues that occur in his home with them. He also has the aid of his wife, Gina Mayer, in writing the stories. The two have been working together on these great stories since the early 90’s.
Life wasn’t always a walk in the park for Mercer. He had to overcome a lot of doubt and criticism to get to where he is today. His professors at the Honolulu Academy of Arts thought he was not good enough to be a children’s book illustrator. After meeting his first wife an art director had told Mercer to throw his portfolio away, which he ended up doing; that may have been the difference between landing his first job and giving up hope.
Today, Mercer is a highly accomplished children’s book illustrator today because he did not give up his aspirations and dreams. He made those dreams realistic by continuing to believe in himself and his abilities. He now goes around reading his stories, commenting on them and spreading a good message of perseverance and dedication. He makes it a point to come out and tell his fans that anything is in reach if you’re willing to work really hard for it.