John is best known and globally recognized for authoring and developing “Zoobooks,” educational children’s books on wildlife and science. John had a life-long passion for educating children and answering their questions about the natural world. This passion led him to found Wildlife Education, Ltd. Publishing Company and The Knowledge Company to publish the Zoobooks. John wrote and designed sixty-two books in the Zoobooks series. Over 100 million Zoobooks have been distributed globally. The Zoobooks have been translated into all of the major languages of the world, including Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Brazilian, Portuguese, and French.
In his work on the Zoobooks, John was mentored and inspired by his wife Dawn’s stepfather, Charles Roy Schroeder, D.V.M. Dr. Schroeder was the Director Emeritus for the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park as well as the zoological consultant for all of the Zoobooks. John also admired Dawn’s father, E. Yale Dawson, Ph.D, a noted biologist, who died in 1966 while on an expedition in Egypt related to his position as curator of Cryptonic Botany at the National Museum of History, Smithsonian Institution.
As a young man, John was the Managing Director of The Poet’s Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, where he wrote, directed, and produced many plays. During this time, John also wrote scripts for several nationally televised TV series, including the original Mission Impossible series. In addition, he created four nationally-published educational games and edited coffee table books for Sea World Publications.
John then became an experienced and sought-after marketing and advertising executive. He gained fourteen years of experience working on advertising and marketing campaigns at the national level. At the age of thirty-two, he was the National Copy Director and television advertising supervisor for George McGovern’s Presidential Campaign. John also held staff positions with Xerox, Polaroid, and Time, Incorporated. He wrote copy and designed advertising for many other successful and innovative companies. Among the many products and services that John helped promote were Smithsonian, Time, LIFE, Money, People, and Natural History Magazines, American Airlines, Pan American World Airways, IBM, HBO, McGraw-Hill Educational Films, and CRM Textbooks for high schools and colleges. By the time John was thirty-five years old, he had founded two national magazines – a consumer guide for power boats and one related to paleontology.
In 2009 and 2010, John started Ancient Life Publishing and completed his final educational book for children, “Where Did Dinosaurs Come From.” He also completed “Geological Times and the History of Life,” a geologic time chart for geologists and paleontologists.
John was a true Renaissance man – a scholar, sculptor, classical pianist, playwright, author, and evolutionist. He was strong, caring, deeply spiritual, and insightful. He never stopped challenging, questioning, and researching.
In 1997, John and his wife, Dawn, relocated from San Diego, California to Buffalo, Wyoming. They bought and began renovating the Historic Occidental Hotel. There, John designed and completed several wild-life sculptures, one of which has been donated to the Museum of the Occidental to raise funds for the Historic Occidental Hotel. Indeed, John and Dawn have spent the past thirteen years nurturing the Occidental to restore it to its former glory and to assure its place in Wyoming’s history.
In 2007 and 2008, the Occidental received the True West Award as Best Hotel in the West. In 2009, the Occidental was one of only 129 hotels in North America to be included on the highly prestigious National Geographic Stay list and featured on the Today Show.
For information on the John Bonnett Wexo Foundation, please visit their website.