Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays

Dear Friends,

Have a wonderful, colorful and happy holiday season
and all the best wishes for 2011!

Peace to all,
Eric Carle

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"One Book, One Osaka"

I am delighted to share that The Very Hungry Caterpillar was chosen in Osaka, Japan as the best children's book by an organization called "One Book, One Osaka." Our long-time publisher in Japan sent us photos from an event last month at a library in Osaka where more than 1300 people came to a reading of a VERY large edition of the book. I am honored to have my book selected and have very fond memories of my visits to Japan. Thank you friends in Osaka!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to The Carle

This week, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art turns 8 years old. But the seed or idea for the museum was planted when Bobbie and I traveled to Japan many years ago. We were inspired by our visit to this beautiful country and in particular by the Chihiro Art Museum, where the work of children's book artist Iwasaki Chihiro resides.

Now, all these years later, we are amazed to be marking The Carle's 8th birthday. From a tiny seed, so much has grown. There are many people who have supported The Carle since its early days and people who make it all happen day in and day out, the museum's wonderful directors and staff. To all of you, we are very grateful and very proud.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Society of Illustrators

I was very honored to receive a 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators, an award that was also given this year to Alice and Martin Provensen. Alice was a recipient of a Carle Honors Award in 2009. I was delighted to attend the ceremony in New York last week and to see the 30th Annual Exhibition of Original Illustration. And to have a chance to meet some of the award winners at the event.

My editors Ann Beneduce and Pat Gauch were there with me, which made the night even more special.

Here is Anelle Miller, director of the Society of Illustrators introducing me. I hope you will enjoy these photos!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carle Honors 2010

Last month, the 5th Annual Carle Honors, the Gala for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, was held in an inspiring space built underneath the bridge on East 59th Street in New York City. It was an elegant evening, attended by many dear friends and colleagues.

I was delighted to greet the honorees and celebrate with them. This year the Museum recognized the sculptor Nancy Schön (in the photo with me above) who created the well-known bronze Make Way for Ducklings sculptures in Boston, author and illustrator David Macaulay creator of The Way Things Work, the collectors Allan and Kendra Daniel who have been great supporters and contributors to the Museum and Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver cofounders of the Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.

It was a wonderful evening and I was very grateful to all the artists who contributed their beautiful work for the auction.
I hope you will enjoy the photos I've included from the Carle Honors in the gorgeous Guastavino's space under the bridge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The caterpillar's tomato

The season's last tomato that I grew here in North Carolina.
I sacrificed this one for the caterpillar who seemed so happy to have it. Does anyone know what kind of caterpillar this is?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Day in My Life

Dear Friends,
Here is a glimpse of a recent day at home in North Carolina. I spent my morning in the kitchen. My ingredients list included: eggs, flour, butter, milk and oranges (I like to make fresh squeezed juice).

Here I am settling down to enjoy my breakfast!

Later I worked in my studio where my ingredients list included: paintbrushes, tubes of colorful paint, papers and pencils

The sun was out and the room was bright.
Sweet fruit juice, a plate of pancakes and time to work.
No complaints.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Books and All Kinds of Learners

Many teachers who work with children who are autistic or children who have learning disabilities write to me and tell me that my books are helpful in their classrooms. I’m not an expert in the field of education but I am very pleased that I do reach all kinds of learners.

I started school in the US and had a wonderful experience. But when my family moved back to Germany it was a different story. There was a strict, mean teacher and I began to hate school and hating school prevented me from learning. Back then it wasn’t recognized whether you were learning disabled but I’m sure I was.

I try in each of my books to include learning and entertainment and I aim to let readers into my world, my life experiences. The learning part I always camouflauge. It’s just one aspect; one dimension of the book.

I feel strongly that each child is an individual; each child is different. I don’t even like to use the word children. I prefer to say, a child and a child and a child. I think I make my books for a child, and that child is me, the child in me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My annual signing at The Carle

This past weekend I was in Amherst, MA for my annual book signing at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, now known as The Carle. It was a wonderful day and I was delighted to sign books for the visitors who came and waited so patiently in line.

People from all over including visitors from VA, CA, NY and even Iceland were at the Museum and I enjoyed meeting the teachers and children, grandparents and parents who arrived at the table where I sat with my pen.
Here I am taking a break and eating a healthy snack.

Bobbie and I are so happy to have had this time to come back to Massachusetts and visit with old friends here and the staff at the Museum who handled a busy day beautifully. There was ice cream and other treats in the apple orchard after the signing and I hope all who came enjoyed themselves as much as we did.

Photo credit: Kristin Angel

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I love honey and have since I was a child in Germany. And another treat that I love is chocolate. Maybe it goes back to my childhood as well when an aunt of mine worked in a chocolate factory. She was my favorite aunt of course because she could bring home left over pieces so whenever I visited her I would be given a bag of broken chocolate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Old Friends

I created illustrations for these books in the 1960's before I had started making books for children. These “gift” books were done as work-for-hire and in linoleum cuts. I still appreciate these older works for their simple design.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reading the Funny Papers

On Sunday mornings, when I was a child, my father would read the funny papers to me. It was a ritual for us. I would sit on his lap and he would read me the comics. It was fun, entertaining. But also, he would add a little learning into our Sunday mornings. He pointed out one cartoonist in particular who only did side views or front views, no perspective. My mother would call in from the kitchen to him that I was too young to understand what he was saying. But my father would just keep talking, enjoying our Sunday time together, reading the comics, building in a little education.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Under the spell of Lisbeth Zwerger

Many years back, I happened upon one of Lisbeth Zwerger's books for the first time. I knew I was looking at the work of a soulful and unconventional artist and I stood in the bookstore turning the pages of the book in my hands. When I closed the book I had fallen under the spell of one of the finest illustrators of our time, and I experience this each time I open a book by Lisbeth Zwerger. It is a great pleasure and honor that Lisbeth Zwerger's work will be exhibited at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this summer, starting on June 29th!

Illustration from THE STRANGE CHILD © 1981 by Lisbeth Zwerger

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Brown Bear Tells a Story

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was first published in 1967 and has been reissued numerous times particularly in its early years.

Bill Martin Jr would decide to change the text and I would create new illustrations to go along with Bill’s changes. As of today, there are four complete sets of artwork for Brown Bear, Brown Bear. The changes in the text of the book were made mostly on the last page where there is either a teacher or a mother (or a monkey in a UK edition from 1984).

Originally created for the educational market to be sold to schools and libraries only, Brown Bear was later published as a trade book to be sold in bookstores. For the most part, I was creating new art work to match the changes Bill was making. But the changes in the art work tell an interesting story as well.

In the earlier editions of this book, I was using commercially available tissue papers in various shades of color. I would use crayon and paint to add texture, but over time these papers faded and the rubber cement I was using discolored the papers and did not last as an adhesive.

Eventually, I started painting my own papers to achieve even greater texture and I began using archival quality materials. You can see these changes in the art work from these selected illustrations from Brown Bear where a history of how my style has evolved is evident.

It is also true that I created new art work for numerous other titles because the original work had faded and needed to be recreated for reprints of the books. Fortunately, using archival materials made for more long-lasting art work that we hope will last for years to come.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Bird's View

Bobbie and I have made our move to the mountains of North Carolina where we will spend the summer months. We'll be enjoying the climate in NC, the good company of friends and family who live nearby, and the view from our home of the expanse of undulating mountains. At times, it feels like the view from an airplane from where we sit in our house. Or a bird's perspective.

I am also looking forward to our return to Massachusetts for a visit later in the summer and my annual book signing engagement on August 14, 2010 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I'll also be giving a lecture at the Museum the night before the book signing. I hope to see you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Pretzel Story

I recently read an article about pretzels in the New York Times that mentions a number of bakeries in New York City where one can buy fresh baked soft pretzels and a wonderful bakery in Northampton, MA called Bakery Normand. I have been a fan of good bread for a long time and I often enjoyed Normand's pretzel rolls among other treats in their shop when I lived in the small city in western Massachusetts. I like all kinds of breads and pastries and have baked some of my own in the past. I even wrote a book about a baker.

The NYT pretzel piece described the style of pretzels that come from the Baden-Württemberg region in Germany where I grew up in this way: "the pretzels are known for their fat 'bellies' and skinny, intertwined arms." My pretzel story, which also includes a little pretzel history, is called Walter the Baker. The story is based on the tale of how the pretzel was invented, which was told to me by my Grandmother when I was a boy. But I truly had an uncle named Walter who was a baker and who baked, along with all kinds of bread, cookies, cakes and rolls; pretzels!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Creative Crisis

Writer's block or any kind of "creative crisis" is part of being creative; it will never disappear. I have suffered from this "creative crisis" many times, and this is what I do.

I always start working on a book with my best intentions, but then, sometimes I encounter unsurmountable mental resistance. Early in my career I despaired when this occurred, but later on I discovered how to overcome this anguish.

The first step is simply to give in. I’d tell myself that, "Yes, it is true that I am not talented, that I cannot do it, that my brain has died and my sense of color is off."

After sleepless nights, and days of raving against my destiny, I may call my editor and tell her that I have “lost it” and will never do a book again. I surrender to my fate. And that is exactly the point where recovery happens and creativity starts to flow again!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg

This spring, I was very honored to learn that I was one of 23 recipients to be awarded the Merit of the State of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. On May 8, my sister Christa accepted this award on my behalf from the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg which is the state in Germany where I lived as a child in the city of Stuttgart. The ceremony was held at the beautiful Ludwigsburg Schloss (castle) in a suite at the castle called "Order Saal", which means literally "Medal suite".

Here is Christa at the award ceremony earlier this month. The award is the highest medal for outstanding services in "political, social, cultural and economic fields" from the minister of the state of Wuerttemberg. I was truly humbled to receive this award and I would have very much liked to have been there in person. I am delighted by these photos.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A few days in Cambridge

Last week Bobbie and I spent a few days in Cambridge MA where I was invited to speak at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It was an honor to be invited by such a prestigious institution and the whole event was a delight. I spoke about my life and work and gave a slide show presentation.

The title of my talk was The Education of a Good Picture Writer. Afterward, there was a Q&A and students and teachers and children spoke and I tried to answer their questions. Then I signed books and enjoyed meeting some of the students and people who attended the talk. A few teachers brought beautiful collage art work their students had made. It was a lovely spring weekend in Cambridge, the trees were blooming and we had a chance to visit with friends and enjoy the season. Now we are back in Florida enjoying the quiet rhythm of our life at home.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some of my friends

Here are some of my friends who recently came to visit. The egret is sitting on our fence; the pelican is resting on our dock.

And Whitey, a stray cat who has been paying us regular visits for some time now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Red-flannel hash and shoo-fly pie

These are some of the illustrations I created before I started making my own picture books using tissue paper collage. An early assignment from my editor Ann Beneduce was to illustrate a cookbook, Red-flannel hash and shoo-fly pie. I was so eager to please that I came in with many more linoleum cut illustrations than she needed. But she liked them. And so began our long term relationship as editor and illustrator, writer and friend. I hope you will enjoy these linocuts. Linocuts are similar to woodcuts but are made with linoleum blocks rather than wood blocks. You might also be interested in visiting
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art during the exhibit of the artrist Antonio Frasconi's woodcuts.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I love to listen to Mozart, one of my favorite composers, while painting tissue papers in my studio. Sometimes I turn the music up so loud so that it surrounds me.

A number of years ago, I created scenery and costumes for a semi-staged production of The Magic Flute by The Springfield Symphony Orchestra. It was a very exciting project to be involved in and one of the most memorable things I have ever done. I painted panels of Tyvek (the material that houses are wrapped in during construction) on the floor of my studio.

There is a little video of me painting tyvek for a mural project on my web site.

In The Magic Flute production, long banners of various lengths and shapes were hung above the stage and unfurled like huge bolts of color during the performance. All of the costumes for this production were made from painted Tyvek as well!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Very Busy Spider Turns 25!

Happy Birthday my very hard-working friend.

Despite the many diversions in life, we must do our work!

The spider in my book is busy spinning her web so she can catch the fly, which in the end she does. You may have noticed when you touch the pages of this book, that the spider, web and fly are raised. This is a design feature that is meant to draw your attention to the spider and her task at hand. I am still pleased by this quiet and word-less recognition of all of her efforts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Bobbie and I have recently migrated south. We are enjoying the warmth and sun in Florida (even though it hasn't been as warm as previous years) and our life near the ocean. The view of the water, watching the birds and creatures who live here, time in my studio. It is good to be back and to feel relaxed in the way we have come to associate with our Florida home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Doodle 4 Google

Dear Friends,

Last year, I was invited to create a doodle for the Google homepage. What a thrill to see my very own Google Doodle on March 20th, the day selected to mark the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This year, Google is launching the Third Annual Doodle 4 Google competition, open to all K-12 students in the U.S. to create their own Google Doodle inspired by the theme "If I Could Do Anything, I Would..."

I am delighted to be one of the 10 Expert Jurors for the 2010 Doodle 4 Google competition. For more information on how you or your school can participate, please visit:

I hope to see your creation among the entries!

Eric Carle

Christa's Birthday

Here I am with my sister Christa who turned 60 in January, 2010.

I was already a young man when she was born (we are more than 20 years apart in age) but I always wanted a sibling and was so happy when she was born.

Christa lives in Germany with her husband and has two grown daughters of her own now. I dedicated my book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my sister and have been thinking of her during this time of celebration.
Happy Birthday Christa!