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.
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.