Robert Munsch an open book about own life

robertmunsch584.jpg(Photo: Canadian Press/Frank Gunn)

Beloved best-selling children's book author Robert Munsch says parents should take 20 minutes and read two books to their children before bedtime. And those books have to be fun. 

"Families, especially with people working, are under a lot of stress and one of the things that's lost in that is the kind of interactions with the kids that help family literacy," he told the Canadian Press in an interview.

Munsch, who lives in Guelph, Ont., will be reading at an event at the Ontario Science Centre this Sunday, as part of Family Literacy Day. It's a rare appearance for the 68-year-old, who has significantly cut down his public appearances since he suffered a stroke in 2008.

He also talked to the Canadian Press about his challenges with substance abuse and mental health. In recent years, Munsch has opened up about his struggle with cocaine and alcohol addictions and being in and out of recovery programs for 25 years. The writer, who has penned more than 50 books, now attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings four to five times a week and is on lithium to help control mood swings. 

More from CBC Books

Despite focusing his energies on his health, Munsch said he's been keeping up with his goal of publishing two books a year, by cleaning up stories he had written before his stroke.

"My goal in stories is to make a story that will be good, irrespective of the time that it's surrounded in," he told the Canadian Press. "Little kids' lives, for better or worse, are not yet cluttered up with iPhones and the neatest thing on the block."

- With files from Canadian Press