TORONTO — For more than 30 years, Robert Munsch has fascinated young readers with his unique stories that have made his books staples of any child’s library.
But it is his latest story, one of admission to cocaine and alcohol addictions, that has become the most shocking and captivating one, a story not intended for his young “Munschkin” fans.
In a message titled “Note to Parents” posted on his website, the bestselling author admits he’s been diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive and manic-depressive.
“Those challenges have led me to make some big mistakes,” Munch says, without providing further details.
But in an interview with Global Television aired Saturday, Munsch admitted he is a recovering cocaine addict and alcoholic, adding he has been clean for about four months.
In his note to parents, Munsch, 64, wrote that his mental health and addiction problems are not a secret to his friends and family.
“They have been a big support to me over the years, and I would not have been able to do this without their love and understanding.”
He goes on to say that he hopes that others will also understand and that “everyone will talk to their kids honestly, listen to them, and help them do their best with their own challenges.”
In August 2008, Munsch suffered a stroke that briefly affected his ability to speak in normal sentences, a big challenge for a man who was used to do about 50 storytelling gigs a year.
In an interview with The Canadian Press four months after the stroke, Munsch said he was unable to create new stories.
“I try to do poetry and make up stories and it doesn’t work, and (the doctors) told me that I should probably wait for a year for that to come back,” he said at the time.
Munsch also said that he planned to edit the whopping 51 book drafts he had on the go before his stroke.
Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., Munsch studied to be a Jesuit priest before he decided to work in preschools, where he got his start as a storyteller.
He moved to Canada in 1975 and four years later wrote his first book titled “Mud Puddle”. He’s since written more than 50 books, including some best-known titles like “Love You Forever” and “The Paper Bag Princess.”
His latest books are “Down the Drain” and “Roar” published in 2009.
He has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Munsch was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame last September.