Carle, Eric

Carle, Eric, 1929–2021, American children's book author and illustrator, b. Syracuse, N.Y. Although born in the U.S., Carle was raised in Stuttgart, Germany, where he experienced the rise of Naziism. He attended the Academy of Applied Arts there, graduating in 1950, and then returned to the U.S. to work as a graphic designer in New York City. Struck by a collage of a lobster that Carle had done for an advertisement, author Bill Martin, Jr., asked him to illustrate his Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967), the first of several children's books on which they collaborated. Working with tissue-paper collage and bright acrylic paints, Carle often features small animals in his books, such as his most popular book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), which has sold more than 55 million copies worldwide in over 70 languages. In 2002 Carle and his wife, Barbara, opened the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Among his awards and honors are the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association in 2003, the NEA Foundation Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education in 2007, and the Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators in 2010.

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