Norman Bridwell, born February 15, 1928, is the author of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" series of books for children. Clifford is, well, he's a big, red dog who's owned by Emily Elizabeth. Originally Bridwell was going to name Clifford, Tiny. Fortunately his wife (whose name is Norma!) brought him to his senses, and Clifford was named after an imaginary friend that Bridwell's wife had as a child. The name Emily Elizabeth comes from Bridwell's real-life daughter.
The idea for the Clifford books came from a drawing that Bridwell had done and shown to a children's book publisher. She suggested that Bridwell write a story to go with the illustration and Clifford was born. Clifford was published by Scholastic and was one of the major books that launched the success of the publishing house. Clifford is used as the Scholastic "mascot".
Bridwell wrote over 40 Clifford books as well as "The Witch Next Door" and "A Tiny Family". The Clifford books have led to a PBS series, videos, toys, and memorabilia.
Bridwell died December 12, 2014 at age 86.
Check out this great interview with Norman Bridwell on the School Library Journal.