Happy belated birthday to beloved illustrator Eric Carle, born on June 26, 1929 in Syracuse, New York. Carle’s parents were German immigrants and when he was 6, his family returned to Stuttgart; Carle grew up there and graduated from Akademie der bildenden Künste, a fine art academy in Vienna. Carle dreamed of returning to the United States and in 1952, he traveled back to New York and where he worked in the promotional department of The New York Times. He later worked as an art director of an advertising agency, where his work was noticed by author Bill Martin, Jr.. The two collaborated on the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Carle found a new career as a children’s book illustrator.
Eric Carle creates his illustrations with the collages made from hand painted papers, and his works are instantly recognizable. Nature is a common theme in his books and they offer children the chance to learn about the natural world while they enjoy his beautiful artwork. Carle has illustrated more than 70 books, but his most popular book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s sold almost 50 million copies worldwide! Carle has won a number of awards for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (now called the Children’s Literature Legacy Award) from the Association for Library Service to Children. Eric Carle has even had a spider named after him! Uroballus carlei is a small spider found in Hong Kong that mimics the movements of a caterpillar.
If your children are fans of Eric Carle, make sure to visit the library on Tuesday, August 13 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for an Eric Carle themed scavenger hunt! Plus, this summer our friends at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh are hosting Very Eric Carle, a special exhibit where kids can explore activities inspired by five of his most iconic books. Don’t forget that you can visit the library’s catalog any time and borrow some of his popular books! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.