Geoffrey Hayes grew up in San Francisco and has been telling stories all his life. He and his brother Rory drew picture books for each other even before they learned to write. As time went on, they incorporated their stuffed animals and toys, each with distinctive personalities, into their stories, art and home movies.
As a young man, Geoffrey moved to New York where he studied at Hunter College, the School of Visual Arts and The Art Students League. He earned a living in the Interior Design department of an architectural firm where he was able to hone his drafting skills, and began building his portfolio. His first book BEAR BY HIMSELF, published by HarperCollins in 1976, was in print for over thirteen years — and was later reissued by Random House. His third book, illustrations for Margaret Wise Brown’s WHEN THE WIND BLEW, was chosen by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year. About this time, Geoffrey began studying with Caldecott Award-Winning artist Uri Shulevitz.
Geoffrey discovered that he had an innate talent for understanding the way young children think and behave, as well as an ability for telling stories with simple, direct language. This led to a long career writing Easy Readers. His series of OTTO AND UNCLE TOOTH adventures for Random House have sold over a million and a half copies, and his BENNY AND PENNY readers, published by TOON Books have won numerous awards and honors, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2010 — the first time this was given to a graphic reader.
BENNY AND PENNY in LET’S PRETEND was the initial title in the TOON Books line, the brainchild of Francoise Mouly — the first ever readers done as comics. This idea has proven immensely successful with parents, librarians and children. Doing books for TOON reawakened Geoffrey;s early love of the Graphic Novel format and sequential storytelling. Currently, he is hard at work on his dream project, a 144 page original fairy tale, LOVO AND THE FIREWOLF, which Fantagraphics plans to publish in early 2018.