Penn Live Arts Blog

Master the art of doodling with Mo Willems

Posted May 14, 2020


Parents of young children might recognize the name Mo Willems, but if you aren’t familiar, Willems is a beloved author, illustrator, animator and playwright. He is most recognized as a New York Times bestselling author, a Caldecott Medal recipient, an Emmy® winner for his work on Sesame Street and the inaugural Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence. If you’re looking for fun yet simple ways to be creative at home, Willems is one of the top resources for engaging the whole family.

Currently, as part of his Kennedy Center residency, Willems and Disney Publishing Worldwide are producing a special video series called Thank You Thursdays! Every Thursday in May, Willems spins his Thank-O-Rama wheel and then draws a special thank you doodle for whomever the wheel selects, choosing from such options as scientists, teachers, squirrels and more. He sometimes sings a thank you song too! Last week’s kick-off episode, shown above, thanked medical workers for being such heroes these last couple of months. Give the wheel a spin and print your own Thank-O-Rama card at home here. Tune in after 1 PM on Thursdays to see who Willems will thank next.

Prior to this month’s Thank-O-Rama celebration, Willems hosted his popular Lunch Doodles program. For three weeks, Lunch Doodles invited kids and doodlers of all ages to join Willems daily at lunchtime to channel their inner illustrators. If you weren’t able to follow along live last month, you can still access all 15 episodes which have been archived on the Kennedy Center education page. Even though the show has ended, Willems encourages the doodling to continue.

Last but not least, in a very special evening of musical doodling, Willems will join forces with beloved cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Yo-Yo Mo Show. Ma will provide the music while Willems leads doodling exercises for the entire family. The Yo-Yo Mo Show will air May 31 at 5 PM, so mark your calendar now and tune in at