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Eric Carle

Published on Jul 01, 2020

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Eric Carle

 By: Amanda Culpepper 
Photo by Wendy Copley

Life Events/ Bio

  • Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929, Eric Carle moved with his parents to Germany when he was six years old; he was educated there, and graduated from the prestigious art school, the Akademie der bildenden Künste, in Stuttgart. But his dream was always to return to America, the land of his happiest childhood memories. So, in 1952, with a fine portfolio in hand and forty dollars in his pocket, he arrived in New York. Soon he found a job as a graphic designer in the promotion department of The New York Times. Later, he was the art director of an advertising agency for many years.
  • Eric Carle has two grown-up children, a son and a daughter. He lives in the Florida Keys. In 2002, Eric and his late wife Bobbie founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Eric’s work has been widely recognized in the world of children’s literature, and has won many awards. Some works, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, have even been translated into many different languages and are enjoyed by children around the world. If you are interested in more complete biography of Eric, we recommend the autobiography section of The Art of Eric Carle published by Philomel Books.

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into 66 languages and sold over 50 million copies. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 152 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

Photo by kkfea

How He Became a Writer

  • One day, respected educator and author, Bill Martin Jr, called to ask Eric Carle to illustrate a story he had written. Bill’s eye had been caught by a striking picture of a red lobster that Eric had created for an advertisement. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the result of their collaboration. It is still a favorite with children everywhere. This was the beginning of Eric Carle’s true career. Soon Eric was writing his own stories, too. His first wholly original book was 1,2,3 to the Zoo, followed soon afterward by the celebrated classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967)
  • 1,2,3 To The Zoo (1968)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
  • The Nonsense Show (2015)
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! (1970)
  • The Tiny Seed (1970)
  • Friends (2013)
  • The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse (2011)
  • 10 Little Rubber Ducks (2005)
  • Mister Seahorse (2004)
  • Does A Kangroo Have a Mother, Too? (2000)
  • Do You Want To Be My Friend? (1971)