By Savanah Bandy
Children’s book author and illustrator Izzy B has a warning on his Amazon page:
“Don’t drink milk while reading my books. It may end up shooting out your nose.”
It’s a fair warning considering the multi-talented storyteller specializes in all things silly, wacky and fun. Whether he’s writing about a spatula-wielding vampire serving up a plate of “feetloaf”; drawing underpants blowing in the wind; or donning a cow costume and making audiences dissolve into gut-busting laughter, Izzy B is on a mission to make the world a much sillier place than he found it.
“I’m a big advocate of fun,” Izzy B said. “I want kids to get to be kids. I want to show kids that even though there’s some stinky stuff going on in the world, there’s always time to laugh.”
Izzy B was born and raised in Carl Junction, Missouri. He attended Ozark Christian College and Missouri Southern State University for elementary education before going on to teach elementary school in the Joplin area.
“Even before I was a teacher, I worked for the Boys and Girls Club, so working with kids was always a part of who I was. But, I’d wanted to be an author since I was in the first grade, so I continued to write children’s books in my free time,” Izzy recalled.
After 10 years of rejection and the devastating loss of a book deal with HarperCollins, Izzy was almost ready to throw in the towel when a literary agent gave him an idea.
“He told me to try my hand at illustration,” Izzy said. “For six years, I practiced illustration while I taught elementary school. I would wake up early and stay up late. I would draw constantly and take online courses and workshops.”
During those years, he self-published four books: “Count Spatula,” “Mr. Marvinni’s Marvelous Magical Clouds,” “Imaginary Fiends” and “A Tighty-Whitie Wind.”
Izzy’s luck started to change when he re-illustrated “A Tighty-Whitie Wind” – his most popular book.
“One day, out of the blue, I was contacted by comedian Devin Siebold to illustrate his book ‘A Teacher in the Wild.’ I knew this was my big opportunity.”
“A Teacher in The Wild” was released January 31, 2022, to immediate success.
“Once people started to recognize me from his book, I got more and more clients wanting me to make books for them. It got to the point where I had to quit teaching!”
Izzy B now illustrates full time. He has 14 published children’s books to date.
He also tours schools all over the Four-State Area doing author visits for kids.
“We read a book together and act it out and make animal sounds and have a good time,” he said. “I also talk to them about my journey and how there were times I wanted to give up and stop chasing my dream. I teach them about how good can come out of hard situations because if it hadn’t been for all the rejection, I never would’ve started illustrating.”
Earlier this year, Izzy started a YouTube channel for kids called Stories4Space. On YouTube, Izzy plays a teacher who gets abducted by aliens who want him to teach them about Earth’s culture through stories. He tells the stories using character puppets he sewed himself and includes a drawing tutorial at the end of the show.
His most recent venture, a podcast titled “Embarrassed Much,” was released April 25. It’s a family-friendly podcast where people share embarrassing stories under the tagline: “Embarrassing stories from people like you!”
“I wouldn’t say I’m cursed or anything, but I have enough embarrassing stories to have my own podcast,” Izzy said with a laugh. “I think it’s really healthy to laugh at yourself. It goes along with everything I do – my books, my illustrations, my school visits and my YouTube channel. It’s all about having a healthy mindset and being able to laugh at yourself and let others laugh along with you.”
Do you want Izzy B to visit your school? Email [email protected] to learn more.
Where to find Izzy B:
Youtube Channel “Stories4Space” @IzzyBBooks
Podcast “Embarrassed Much” Spotify, Apple and all other podcast platforms
All Izzy B books are available for purchase on Amazon.