Swiss-born author and illustrator Marcus Pfister entered the world on July 30, 1960, the third of five children. One influence on his later life was the bedtime storytelling of his father. Pfister remembers the action, the drama, and the suspense of the adventure tales involving animals or children. Pfister also loved to draw, so after growing up, he worked for an advertising agency while he attended art school in Bern for five years. Then he moved to Zurich. There he created posters, ads, and ad campaigns as a graphic artist. Hoping to gain additional job experience from working in the United States, Pfister applied for a work permit. Though it was declined, Pfister was granted a six month tourist visa that allowed his wife and him to travel and sightsee through many states. Appreciating this freedom, Pfister found it hard to return to full-time work. Instead, he dropped to part-time employment and hit upon the idea of writing a children's book. The Sleepy Owl was born.
Pfister's wife, a writer and kindergarten teacher, gave him ideas and inspiration, but it was a difficult period while looking for a publisher. After two years and multiple rejection letters, Nord-Sud Verlag published his book in 1986. Pfister writes in German and his text is translated into English. Or, as is the case for The Rainbow Fish, Pfister's words have been translated into thirty languages. With simple, clear writing and soft watercolors and sometimes holographic foil stamping, Pfister's books have grabbed the attention of children and adults. He has received numerous awards and his books appear on bestsellers lists. Yet, most important to Pfister is the connection and interaction a book brings between a child and an adult. He continues writing from his home in Switzerland.
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