Robert Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Fordham University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and from Boston University in 1971 with a Master of Arts degree in anthropology.
He studied to become a Jesuit priest, but decided he would rather work with children after having jobs at orphanages and daycare centers. In 1973, he received a Master of Education in Child Studies from Tufts University. In 1975, he moved to Canada to work at the preschool at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. He also taught in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Guelph as a lecturer and as an assistant professor. In Guelph, he was encouraged to publish the many stories he made up for the children he worked with.
One of Munsch's best-known books, Love You Forever, was listed fourth on the 2001 Publishers Weekly All-Time Best selling Children's Books list for paperbacks at 6,970,000 copies (not including the 1,049,000 hardcover copies). It has since sold more than 30,000,000 copies and has been featured on the iconic television show "Friends", as well as being mentioned by Oprah on Late Night with David Letterman as being her favorite children's book.
The Munsches are the parents of Julie, Andrew, and Tyya.
Munsch has publicly talked about his bipolar disorder and addiction issues. In August 2008, Munsch suffered a stroke that affected his memory. He has since retired; however, he continues to publish two previously written books each year. On May 15, 2010, Munsch revealed that he has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive and manic-depressive disorder, and that he is recovering from cocaine addiction and alcoholism.
Munsch is known for his exuberant storytelling methods, with exaggerated expressions and acted voices. He makes up his stories in front of audiences and refines them through repeated tellings.
His stories do not have a recurring single character; instead, the characters are based on the children to whom he first told the story, including his own children. He often performs at children's festivals and appears at elementary schools, sometimes unannounced. In 1991, some of his books were adapted into the cartoon series A Bunch of Munsch.
In 1999 Munsch was made a Member of the Order of Canada. On June 17, 2009, it was announced that Munsch would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. The induction ceremony was held on September 12, 2009 and in 2013 his star was revealed on King Street in Toronto. In 2009, Robert Munsch Public School opened in Whitby, Ontario and in 2014, a second Robert Munsch Public School opened in Uxbridge, Ontario.
He is also the most stolen author at the Toronto Public Library.