and song carry words along.” So sings award-winning author,
John Archambault. Archambault invites children and teachers
to float along on a river of language where music and poetry
are intertwined for fluent and joyour language absorption and
Most well known for his best-selling classic Chicka
Chicka Boom Boom which he wrote and dedicated to his son,
Arie Alexander Archambault, 15 years ago when he was the “new
baby boom boom.” By all accounts John Archambault is a
modern day alchemist. In medieval days the alchemists were said
to have secret knowledge enabling them to turn base metals into
gold. Archambault does something no less amazing; he turns something
that many children dread: learning, into a magical experience.
John’s work motivated kids to turn off the TV and get
turned on to the magical worlds that reading can deliver. “I
have a passion for bringing words to life. I stir rhythm, rhyme,
and whimsy, stringing words so that a melody is created, then
kids can ride along on this musical river.”
John is developing a series of Big Books (shared reading) for
Childcraft Education Corporation, incorporating musical CDs
with read-along and sing-along styles to help early readers
develop fluency and intuitive associations with print while
making the experience fun, affective, and effective. Some of
the titles to be published are: I Love the Mountains,
Turtle Song, Grandmother’s Garden, The
Birth of a Whale, Freedom’s Dream and several
titles devoted to singable, readable Mother Goose. Archambault
collaborated extensively with Bill Martin Jr. and together they
created the landmark supplemental reading program, the Sounds
Archambault has become fascinated with brain research involving
the power of music, most notably The Mozart Effect
by Don G. Campbell. “We all know that kids love music
but studies show that music may strengthen the mind, aiding
learning and membory.” To that end, Archambault has six
music compilations on CD available through Youngheart
Music performed with British recording artist and partner,
David Plummer. Titles include Painting My World and
Dancing on the Moon.
In addition to the CDs, Archambault has authored and co-authored
over 20 books. Several have won awards including Parent’s
Choice, ALA Notable Children’s book, Kentucky Blue Grass,
and the American Library Association awards. Chicka Chicka
Boom Boom (Aladdin Library, 2000) was recently chosen to
be included in the 21st Century Literature Collection along
with such famous titles as Curious George and Madeline.
Archambault’s works have appeared as featured selections
on the PBS shows “Reading Rainbow” and “Storytime.”
After attending Columbia Teacher’s College, Archambault
was recruited to teach a first grade class in the Bronx, NY.
The students were ethnically mixed and many were from poor families.
Archambault used his own ear for language and a lyrical reading
style to help his students learn that language is power. He
loved seeing the kids excited about reading.
John’s third grade teacher handed him a copy of Charlotte’s
Web by E. B. White early in that school year. He read it twice,
back to back. It was his very first favorite book, and it was
much more; it inspired his future career. “I told my teacher,
Mrs. Williams, that I wanted to do what E. B. White does. She
said, “John if you want to be a writer, you have to be
a reader.” That was not a problem as John began the first
grade already reading, fortunate to have been read-aloud to
and raised in a household that valued books and reading.
Some of the other best selling books by Archambault include,
Knots on a Counting Rope (Owlet September
1987), Barn Dance (Henry Holt &
Company, Inc. October 1989), Here Are My Hands
(Henry Holt, 1987), and The Birth of a Whale
(Silver Press 1996).
The new book, Boom Chicka Rock, (Philomel,
a division of Penguin Putman) is due out in May 2004. It teaches
young children to count through the lively antics of mice who
live behind a numbers on a clock. The characters seem to leap
off the pages with the use of dance styles including everything
from the jitterbug to the tango. Numbers have never been this
much fun! Older readers will love the toe-tapping rhythm and
humor in the text.
John grew up in Sierra Madre California and his first book,
The Ghost-Eye Tree, originated from
an actual old oak tree near his boyhood home on Highland Avenue.
He attended the University of California, Riverside where he
was editor of his school paper, the Highlander. Prior to teaching,
Archambault was a journalist, writing for the Pasadena Star
News. He now travels the country reading and performing at schools,
libraries, conferences, and other venues. Archambault , friendly,
gregarious, and an engaging performer with a wonderfully rich
voice, is the perfect presenter for large and small groups as
well as television and radio.