Meet Dr. John Becker
As a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, John loved to read and write. He loved to take out books from the local library about far off places and exotic animals and would dream up stories and imagine himself there seeing everything first hand. He was also very much a sport fanatic and when he wasn’t reading or writing, he was playing sports, especially baseball and hockey!
As a high school student at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Ohio, John played varsity football and baseball for the Brunswick Blue Devils, had a prominent role in the Senior Class Play, represented the high school at the Rotary Club of Medina County, was a member of the Future Teachers of America club, and was the president of the high school bowling club. He was also awarded the Charles Palmer Davis Medal for excellence in the field of current events. After he graduated from BHS in 1960, John went on to study at The Ohio State University where he also played ice hockey. After graduating, John became an elementary school teacher in Pontiac, Michigan. He returned to The Ohio State University and earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees and became a college professor. While he was teaching the future teachers of the world, he wrote many articles for journals and co-authored a college textbook about how children learn.
Dr. Becker loved animals and jumped at a chance to take a job at the Columbus Zoo in 1978. One of his duties included writing articles for the zoo’s newsletter, ZooViews. His newsletter articles inspired him to share what he had learned about wild animals with other interested readers and he then began writing magazine articles.
Working at the Columbus Zoo offered many exciting and interesting opportunities. Like a chance to visit Africa, the rainforests of Central America and the Amazon Rainforest. It was John’s childhood dreams come true!
In his travels he had seen many wonderful animals and beautiful landscapes that would inspire him to write more articles and eventually children’s books.
In 1988, Dr. Becker helped start a conservation organization for wild cats call the International Society for Endangered Cats. For the next seven years, Dr. Becker served as the organization’s Executive Director and traveled all over the United States and Canada talking to many people about protecting endangered cats. He continued to write and share his wealth of knowledge through his articles in the organization’s newsletter, Cat Tales.
At the start of 1995, Dr. Becker started speaking at schools about his passion for reading, writing and wildlife as well as sharing stories of his adventures. He has been lucky enough to share these stories on television and the radio many times as well—including on Good Morning America and a radio broadcast to the United States and Canada.
Dr. Becker also teaches young writers at the Thurber Writing Academy in Columbus, Ohio as well as through the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Artist-In-Schools program. He is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
When Dr. Becker isn’t out exploring the rainforests or the African savannah, teaching an exciting creative writing workshop or writing about his adventures for the young and old alike, he enjoys playing tennis, hiking on the trails near his home and reading. In the winter, you’ll find him lacing up his hockey skates. He also has written a hockey blog about Ohio State Ice Hockey.
In December 2007, Dr. Becker was inducted into the Brunswick High School Hall of Fame in Brunswick, Ohio. He was awarded the honor for his work in the fields of education, literature and wildlife conservation.
In 2009, Dr. Becker’s non fiction book Wild Cats: Past & Present was awarded a won a spot on the Nonfiction Honor List for 2008 from the Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA).