Biography – Bill Martin Junior

Bill Martin Jr is best known for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Martin wrote this book in just 15 minutes. It was published in 1967 and went on to become one of the most important and popular short children’s books in the world.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?   by Bill Martin Jr

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin Jr

Bill Martin Jr. was born in 1916 and died in 2004.
Over the course of his career, Martin wrote more than 300 children’s books. He focuses on the text, and collaborates with illustrators to make cheerful, bold and colorful picture books. He attributes his rhythmic, almost song-like style to the way he creates his books. He said that he doesn’t “write” books, rather he talks them. In his own words, “I write a melody”. This is quite clear when you read his books out loud. They have a strong pace and clear rhythm that many other children’s stories lack.
Martin had a lot of experience in working with children. He worked as a a schoolteacher and a principle as well as an author. This is impressive when you consider that he did not learn to read himself until he started college. He managed to keep his illiteracy a secret while he was at school, but his inability to read was found out as soon as he went to college. He learned quickly, however, and went on to successfully earned both a Master’s Degree and a Doctoral Degree in early childhood education.
Martin wrote his most popular book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, while he was riding the train on the way to work. He scribbled the full text for the book into the margins of his newspaper, and as it needs illustrations he chose a young but talented illustrator, Eric Carle, to work with him on the pictures for the book. Since then Carle and Martin have worked together on two other “bear books”, titled “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” and “Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?”

Biography: Eric Carle

Eric Carle is a children’s illustrator, most famous for creating the Very Hungry Catterpillar – a book that captured the hearts of generations, and became so popular that even Google paid tribute to the book, making a Google Home Page image based on it to celebrate the book’s 40th anniversary.
Carle was born in New York in 1929. He loved art from an early age, playing with paints from the moment he started kindergarten. Real Art actually is something different than illustrated maps. When he was six years old his parents moved back to Germany and he struggled to adjust to the rather different culture of German grade school. In many ways, he had a difficult childhood. When he was ten years old, World War II broke out and his father was drafted into the army and spent several years away from home. The neighborhood that Carle lived in was bombed. He was lucky enough, however, to be able to pursue his passion for art thanks to the support of one of his high school teachers.

by Eric Carle

by Eric Carle

Carle graduated from art school in 1952, and decided to go back to America. He arrived in New York with an impressive portfolio that he had built up while studying in Stuttgart, but had just $40 to his name. Fortunately, he managed to get a job as a graphic designer for the New York Times. He later moved on to work for an advertising agency, and it was there that he was put in touch with Bill Martin Jr, who hired him to illustrate his children’s book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See.
Carle’s talent for children’s illustrations did not go un-noticed, and in 1969 he was able to get The Very Hungry Catterpillar published. This small title took the world by storm, and went on to be translated into 33 different languages. Over the next 40 years it sold more than 18 million copies around the world.
In 2003, Carle was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Lifetime Achievement award for his illustration work.

Biography – Lois Ehlert

Lois Ehlert

Lois Ehlert

Lois Ehlert is a children’s books illustrator with a unique style. Instead of traditional line drawings and painted illustrations, she uses collage to create interesting and unusual designs. Her style is instantly recognizable and looks similar to some bright illustrated maps. She makes use of vivid colors, intricately cut pages and cleverly photographed collages to engage the eyes of her young readers and inspire them to try art for themselves.

The process that Ehlert uses to create her boos is unusual. She cuts paper, textiles, thread, and even salvaged items that she finds when out walking, and glues them onto paper to create her designs. She then photographs them and uses the photographs to put together the final illustrations for her books.
Ehlert comes from a creative background. Her father was a woodworker and her mother was a seamstress. She was frequently given leftover lumber and fabric, and enjoyed trying to turn these resources into creative projects. From an early age she favored bright colors and varied textures.
With such a background it should be unsurprising that Ehlert decided to study art to a high level. She graduated from the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, and went on to find a job in graphic design. She sought work as an illustrator for children’s books, but found that she did not enjoy illustrating other people’s stories. Eventually she decided that she might enjoy the work more if she wrote her own books. She wrote, designed and illustrated Color Zoo, and it was well received, winning the prestigious Caldecott Honor Award in 1990.
Ehlert’s best known books are Leaf Man, In My World, Growing Vegetable Soup and Waiting for Wings. She has also collaborated on several projects, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, a book and CD based project aimed at teaching young children the alphabet through rhyme.