Jon Scieszka was born September 8, 1954 in Flint , Michigan. After he graduated from Culver Military Academy where he was a Lieutenant, he studied to be a doctor at Albion College. He changed career directions and attended Columbia University where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1980. Before he became a full time writer, Scieszka was a lifeguard, painted factories, houses, and apartments and also wrote for magazines. He taught elementary school in New York for ten years as a 1st grade assistant, a 2nd grade homeroom teacher, and a computer, math, science and history teacher in 3rd - 8th grade. He decided to take off a year from teaching in order to work with Lane Smith, an illustrator, to develop ideas for childrens books. His book, The Stinky Cheese Man received the 1994 Rhode Island Childrens Book Award. Scieszkas Math Curse, illustrated by Lane Smith, was an American Library Association Notable Book in 1996; a Blue Ribbon Book from the Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books in 1995; and a Publishers Weekly Best Childrens Book in 1995. The Stinky Cheese Man received Georgias 1997 Childrens Choice Award and Wisconsins The Golden Archer Award. Math Curse received Maines Student Book Award, The Texas Bluebonnet Award and New Hampshires The Great Stone Face Book Award in 1997. He was appointed the first National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature by the Library of Congress in 2008.