Author/artist Eric Carle wins 2003 Wilder Award

Contact: Paige Wasson


For Immediate Release

January 27, 2003

Author/artist Eric Carle wins 2003 Wilder Award

Eric Carle, best known for his picture books for young children, is the 2003 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner. His numerous picture books include "The Very Hungry Caterpillar;" "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?;" "Do You Want to Be My Friend?;" "The Tiny Seed;" and "From Head to Toe."

"Eric Carle's visual observations of the natural world encourage the imagination and often mirror the larger changes in a young child's development and experience," said Chair Ginny Moore Kruse, former director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin - Madison. "His keen knowledge and genuine appreciation of nature undergird his vivid, often humorous artwork, providing a deeply satisfying complexity."

The Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award was announced January 27 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA, and is named for its first recipient in 1954.

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1929, Carle moved with his parents to Germany in 1935. He came back to the United States in 1952, first working as a graphic designer for
The New York Times. Later, his work was noticed by Bill Martin, Jr., who invited Carle to illustrate his text for the still-popular picture book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" (Holt, 1967).

While Ann Beneduce edited the first books Carle wrote and illustrated for very young children, Philomel editor Patricia Lee Gauch has published most of Carle's later books. Carle's noteworthy works include "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (World, 1969), a classic translated into more than two dozen languages; "Do You Want to Be My Friend?" (Crowell, 1971); "Why Noah Chose the Dove" written by Isaac Bachevis Singer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1974); "From Head to Toe" (HarperCollins, 1997); and "'Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,' said the Sloth" (Philomel, 2002). Carle's own "The Art of Eric Carle" (Philomel, 1996) summarizes a substantial portion of his distinguished career.

"Taking the medium of collage to a new level, Carle creates books using luminous colors and playful designs, often incorporating an interactive dimension, tactile or auditory discoveries, die-cut pages, foldouts and other innovative uses of page space," Kruse said. "Carle's picture books are a national treasure greatly loved by preschoolers the world around and vividly remembered years later when, as adults, they share his books with new generations of young children."

Members of the Wilder committee are: Ginny Moore Kruse, Madison, Wis., Joan Atkinson, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; Margaret Bush, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston; Barbara Elleman, book critic, Northbrook, Ill.; and Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library. More information about the Wilder Award can be found