Mike Nawrocki can’t get enough of telling great stories. The co-creator of the animated phenomenon Veggie Tales is now collaborating with his friend Michael W. Smith on a new series of children’s books and music albums called Nurturing Steps. Mike explains his passion for crafting compelling stories for kids.

“I think story is hard-wired into all of us as people that are created by God. We see our own lives as stories, and I do think story has the power to influence how we look at the world. Really it’s been part of my desire to just tell stories that remind kids that God made them and loves them. He wants a relationship with them. Kids hearing stories with that worldview – it really takes take hold in their lives. It’s really important.”

Learning and laughter is still being shared in living rooms across the world every day because of Mike’s creation – with his college friend Phil Vischer – of Veggie Tales. So how did the show written for kids, beloved by adults, and starring vegetables end up being designed around these healthy food items?

“We had cooked up an idea to do a show with this new technology, this art form of computer animation. We thought – what if we could take what we did in puppeteering and tell stories with this new technology in a really affordable way? In a really cool-looking way? But we needed really simple characters – characters with no clothes, and no hair, and no hands. Because those were really expensive to do on a computer!”

“So we started with a model of this candy bar initially. It was just sort of moving around on screen. And Phil’s wife Lisa – who also became the voice of Junior Asparagus shortly thereafter – walked by and said that a lot of moms aren’t going to like their kids learning good values from candy bars! So the wisdom of a mother basically was the entire genius behind the vegetables. And so Larry the Cucumber was born, and then Bob the Tomato followed.”

Mike Nawrocki is the co-creator of the animated phenomenon Veggie Tales – alongside his college compatriot Phil Vischer. He and his good friend Michael W. Smith are just out with a new series of children’s books and music albums called Nurturing Steps.

On the Road with Mike Nawrocki

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