Robert Heidbreder was born on the wet, muddy banks of the Mississippi River in 1947 and in 1970 he moved to the wet, misty skies of Vancouver B.C. to pursue his Master’s degree in Classical Languages.
In 1975 he became a Canadian citizen, and in the same year he completed his teaching degree at University of British Columbia. Soon after he started teaching primary children in Vancouver, he began writing because he wanted the children in his class introduced to a liveliness of language that matched their natural bounce, energy, imagination and playfulness.
His first book was Don’t Eat Spiders, published in 1985, and his newest books are Crocs at Work (2017), Song for a Summer Night (2016), and Rooster Summer, spring of 2018. His books have won and been nominated for many awards, including the BC Book Prize, The Chocolate Lily Award, The Blue Spruce Award and the Marilyn Baille Picture Book Award.
In 2002 he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2005 he retired from teaching after 30 years. Mr. H and His Unruly Puppets, a film by Annie O’Donoghue, celebrates Robert (“Mr H” to his grade one students) as he transforms the Grade One curriculum into a year-long interactive drama, with a cast of over 50 puppets, led by the wise wizard Alphaterwa and the unruly Stanley C. Crow. His passions as a poet and author are evident in a style of collaboration with young children that truly exemplifies the art of teaching. His presentations to children in the schools and at festivals help keep the child within him alive, awake, laughing and rhyming away. In the past years he has given over 100 school and group presentations.