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Love You Forever, Robert Munsch

Robert-Munsch Robert Munsch, bestselling children's author and storyteller, revealed he is four months clean after battling cocaine and alcohol addictions.  Turns out one of my childhood heroes is not just a genius - he's human, too.

In a post entitled "A NOTE TO PARENTS", on his website, Robert wrote: "Several years ago I was diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive and manic-depressive. Those challenges have led me to make some big mistakes." 

In an interview with Global Television, he revealed what these big mistakes were: “When I was drinking, I would sometimes drink too much and do stupid things,” he said. “And one of the stupid things I did was use cocaine.”

My plea to parents everywhere: Please ignore the cocaine.  I know how that sounds - difficult? impossible, perhaps? - but in my heart of hearts, I believe in Robert as an honest to goodness champion of children.    This addiction that he is fighting is a personal demon he has taken by the horns and is owning by doing all the right things.  He has admitted his problem, he is attending AA and NA, and his family is supporting him.

Mortimer Robert was, is, and, in my opinion, will always be Canada's King of Kidlit.  He is Canada's bestselling author of all time, in any genre.  He has published more than 50 children's books, was awarded the Order of Canada (Canada's version of being knighted - a big deal) in 1999, and received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in September, 2009.   

But more than all that, Robert writes books for children, about children, that children actually get.  He writes with the voice of a child, using their cadence, their language, their enthusiasm.  This is something he did before, during, and after his battle with alcohol and drugs.

He is my favourite children's author, but more importantly, he is my daughter's favourite author.  We read one of his books every night; our favourites being Mortimer and 50 Below Zero.  She listens intently, joining in when she knows a line (CLANG CLANG RATTLE BING-BANG GONNA MAKE MY NOISE ALL DAY from Mortimer, especially), and she'll make me read it again if I don't use the proper funny voices.

Love-You-Forever-Robert-MunschAnd then there is Love You Forever.  Written as a memorial to two stillborn children he and his wife had in 1979 and 1980, the book is different than his other abundantly, fantastically ridiculous children's books.  It is about a mother's unconditional love for her son and how love begets love and all that squishy, smoochy, lovey stuff.  The stuff that makes you cry real tears.  Read it if you haven't, even if you don't have kids.  I dare you.

So, does the addiction matter?  Can we look past it and continue to treat Robert's books like the national treasures that they are?  I think we can.  As a Canadian parent, I know I can.  We can be in shock and confused and wonder how something like this happens to someone like Robert Munsch.  But we can also be sympathetic and supportive and respectful of his privacy and let him recover from his moment of being very human.  Then he can carry on being our favourite author.  Mine and my daughter's.



. . . . .
Jen O. thinks Prince Ronald is a douche. Ten points if you know what I'm talking about.

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I don't understand why the guy being an addict would make parents not buy his books? I mean, unless he shows that "Love You Forever" kid snorting cocaine off the toilet seat or something, but I don't remember that in the illustrations. Wouldn't the "No Recovering Addict In My Child's Life" policy also lead to the elimination of, like, his best friend's mom, or Uncle Aaron, or Grandpa, or something? Or do I just live in a cluster of recovering addicts and didn't know it?


I have never been able to read "Love You Forever" without turning into a giant, sobbing mess at the end. Even thinking about it now makes me tear up.

I also love "Stephanie's Ponytail", and when I was teaching, I used to read it to my fifth-graders every year.


I never new the real story behind Love You Forever. I will cry even harder the next time I read it.

Prince Ronald IS a total douche bag and my daughter knows to steer clear of the likes of him thanks to Mr. Munsch.

Honestly, I am relieved that he isn't dead, because that's what I was thinking as I was waiting for the page to load. Whew!

Jen O.

@ainabi - Yeah, I just hope everyone feels that way. From what I've read, he's getting a lot of fan support, which is fan-tastic.

@Kemi - We love Stephanie's Ponytail, too! There are so many great ones.

@Kelly - Ha! Ten Points. And sorry 'bout that.


Robert Munsch is the king. Love You Forever, Thomas's Snowsuit, Murmel Murmel Murmel, I Have To Go!!, the list goes on and on. I hope nobody lets his personal struggles overshadow the fact that he has written some of the best children's stories ever.


I will stand by him forever as well. I love all his books, although "Good Families Don't" is far and away my most favorite book, mostly for the following line:

"Silly girl, good Canadian families don't have farts!"


LOVE him! His books were such a huge part of my childhood. Knowing his struggles with addiction, I don't think I'd leave him unsupervised with children, but why on earth would that stop me from enjoying his books? Real people mess up. Even if good families don't have farts ;)
And Prince Ronald is SUCH a douche. My friend Jodi does the BEST voices when she reads that book. (She works in ECE so she's totally pro, heh.)


I have the paper bag princess tattooed on my left arm at my wrist to remind me that I am strong and independent and I don't need anyone to tell me my worth. Thank you Robert you gave me so much as a little girl and I am now passing that on to my daughter


Great post, Jen! Munsch deserves our support.


Well, good for him getting clean. I still maintain, though, that "Love You Forever" is a kind of creepy kids' book. I read it to my then-three year old, and he got this mildly horrified look on his face and said, "Mommy, please don't climb through my window when I grow up." My husband looked at the book and said it creeped him out to think of his mother coming into his bedroom to snuggle him. So, a sweet backstory, but the execution left a lot to be desired.

Irma Floresta

I first read "Love You Forever" when I was thirty years old. I had a three year old at home and was thumbing through books at Chapters to find him something new. I read that book from cover to cover, standing in the aisle, and then lost my shit entirely.

I never read it to my son, and even though he is now almost fourteen? I probably still wouldn't "allow" him to read it. That book....that book....that book is just so raw,so TRUE, that I sincerely think it is too overwhelmig for children.

This may sound like I am against the man's writings, but it's actually the exact opposite: here is a man who can not only get inside kids' head, he can also tap in to the deepest, most primordial GUTS of filial and parental love.

The man is an utter genius.

Nikki Jasper

Heh. Prince Ronald is the KING of the douches... that book added the word "bum" to my 3yo's vocabulary. Robert Munsch is a genius, and a person. And "I Love You Forever" makes me cry just THINKING about it.


My favorite to read to my nieces & nephews was Thomas' Snowsuit. They would DIE laughing when Thomas & the teacher ended up in each other's clothes.

I'm so glad to hear he's working on recovery. (And that he's not dead, which is what I feared when I read the headline!)


I'll love Robert forever too, he is wickkedly talented. I cried buckets the first time I read "I'll love you Forever", I still get choked up reading it after having read it a gazillion times to my girls.

Yes, Prince Ronald is a douche, but I love the Paperbag Princess and my girls love the voices that go along with it every time I read it.

Robert, good for you for letting the world know about your addictions. It doesn't matter, we love you anyway. You are an inspiration, to generations.


I agree 100% with everyone - he is an amazing author - my kids love his books (as do my husband and I) and we read one everynight without fail. They also love to lisen to Robert Munsch read the books on CD - he is so good.
This will not stop me from reading or buying his books at all.


Honestly, I know this may be an unpopular response on a pop culture blog, but I've never understood confusing the art with the artist. Addict - artist. Amazing books - art. You can love one without affirming the other.

Of course, Mel Gibson movies totally skeeve me out, now. But whatever. Mostly, I can handle it.

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