On Thursday, September 24, the KidLit TV team joined hundreds of children’s book artists, authors, and advocates to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Carle Honors which is the The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s annual awards ceremony. Some of the greatest faces in children’s illustration attended. This year, the gala also recognized five honorees for their creative inventiveness and dedication to the world of picture books.
The Carle Honors awards recognize four individuals in four distinct areas:
- Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field
- Mentor, for the editors, designers, and educators who champion the art form
- Angel, for those whose generous resources make picture book art exhibitions and education programs a reality
- Bridge, for individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields.
The 2015 Carle Honors honorees:
- Artist: Helen Oxenbury – Critically acclaimed illustrator, awarded Britain’s Smarties Book Prize for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat, and The Dragon of an Ordinary Family.
- Angel: The Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University – International research collection and public resource of illustrated children’s books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys dating back to the 15th century; represented by Corinna Cotsen and Andrea Immel.
- Mentor: Neal Porter – Publisher of his own imprint at Roaring Brook Press for the last 14 years and champion of award-winning authors and illustrators for more than 35 years.
- Bridge: Joan Bertin – Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship; attorney and author whose articles have appeared in professional books and journals and in the lay press; advocate of free thought, inquiry and expression.
About The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
For twelve years, The Eric Carle Museum has collected and celebrated picture books and their illustrations.Their mission is to preserve renowned art in the children’s literature world and to preserve a love of art and reading through picture books. In addition to the impact it has on the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books, The Carle offers educational programs, providing a foundation for arts and literacy.
Eric and Barbara Carle founded the Museum in November 2002. Eric Carle is not only the face of the picture book world, but he is the author and illustrator of more than 70 whimsical, beautiful books, including the 1969 classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The museum has served more than half a million visitors, including over 30,000 schoolchildren. It is the perfect place for parents to bring their children for the day or for teachers to take their students on field trips. To find out more about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art be sure to visit the official website.
KidLit TV and the Carle Honors
We were grateful to receive another invitation to interview on the red carpet, as we did last year. This year the Carle Honors was held at Guastavino’s in New York City. David Macaulay, award-winning artist and author presented the awards and gave a marvelous speech about Eric Carle and the ever-changing but creative world of children’s picture books. Barbara Carle, beloved wife of the children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle, who had passed away September 7, 2015 at her home in North Carolina, was honored that night. Barbara Carle, known as “Bobbie” to her friends, was an educator and a lifelong champion of the arts who had truly brought magic and wonder to the children’s literature world. Guastavino’s was filled with heartfelt tears and smiles as this remarkable champion was remembered and honored for her generosity, beauty, and inspiration.
When KidLit TV interviewed the 2015 Carle Honor honorees and guests, many of them spoke highly of Barbara Carle and said that she would always be remembered. They also spoke about how Eric Carle and his work inspired their work and how they grew up with his stories. Nick Bruel and the Books of Wonder founder, Peter Glassman, even told us stories about how dedicated Eric Carle was whenever he had a book signing or an appointment.
As part of our Red Carpet Event, KidLit TV interviewed the Carle Honor honorees and a few guests:
David Macaulay is a well-known author and illustrator with many talents and when he was asked to present at the Carle Honors he spent day and night studying his notes and making sure everything was perfect. When we asked him what Eric Carle would think of the new and upcoming talents in illustration, he expressed his own joy and said:
“I think he would be delighted! There’s such a variety as there always has been in the picture book world, but maybe even more so these days.”
He discussed how the book business has changed over the years with the loss of independent bookstores and how it has become more generic. He expressed how if a writer or illustrator is only trying to appeal to an audience for their own good and numbers, nothing should come of it. But if his or her work comes from their heart and there is a publisher looking for that individuality, it will be published.
“The greatest joy of any illustrator illustrating children’s books is getting into the life of little children and trying to understand their feelings and their emotions.” —Helen Oxenbury
During the evening of the Carle Honors, Helen Oxenbury was given the Artist Award. She is most famous for her exquisite work on classics such as Alice in Wonderland and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. During her interview, Helen Oxenbury discussed how proud she was of the new illustrators, gave wonderful advice on how they should “be brave” when entering the world of children’s literature, and even told us about her greatest joy as an illustrator.
The Cotsen Children’s Library is more than just a library in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library. This library has a collection of illustrated children’s books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the 15th century to the present day. Its visitors can even explore Bookscape a children’s gallery. The Cotsen Children’s Library offers many resources for children, families, and educators in the greater Princeton area; it also has a variety of children’s programs that are open to the public and free of charge.
Corinna Cotsen along with the Cotsen Children’s Library’s curator, Andrea Immel, accepted the Angel Award that night. We talked with Corinna before the presentation and asked her a few questions about what her favorite book was in the Cotsen’s rare collection, what she thinks of the newly published picture books. You can find out her responses in the Red Carpet interview.
KidLit TV interviewed The Cotsen Children’s Library’s curator, Andrea Immel who also accepted the Angel Award with Corinna Cotsen. She tells us about the Cotsen Children’s Library’s grand collection. She has been the curator for over twenty years and says it’s a job that she has fun with every day.
“One of the rarest books we have in our collection is Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book which is the first volume of English nursery rhymes. It was originally issued in 1744 in two volumes, no copies of volume one survived and there are two copies of volume two. One in the British Library and one in Princeton.” –Andrea Immel
Andrea’s true joy as a curator is seeing what book comes on her desk next! And she says she is not intending to retire anytime soon.
“Being honored this way is kind of stupefying and intensely pleasurable. I am deeply grateful for the honor.”–Neal Porter about being honored with the Mentor Award
Neal Porter is the definition of how hard work can lead to an amazing success. He is the founder of Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press which is a division of the Macmillan publishing house. Neal has an eye for reeling in some of the greatest talent in the kid lit industry. On the night of the Carle Honors, Neal was honored with the Mentor Award, the award that truly suited him and his magnificent work in the children’s book world. His editing was the pinch of magic these award winning picture books needed.
“Nothing will ever replace the page turn. You can look at a picture book on an iPad and it’s like pushing a dead fish across the screen it’s not terribly satisfying. So in a way we are seeing a return to the olden days which is very exciting for an old person like me.” –Neal Porter
Joan E. Bertin is the Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship. NCAC’s mission is to promote freedom of thought, inquiry and expression and oppose censorship in all its forms. Joan and the NCAC were honored with the Bridge Award during the 2015 Carle Honors and gave a wonderful speech about the importance of freedom of thought in all forms of literature. KidLit TV interviewed Joan and asked about some of her favorite picture books.
“I am a huge fan of picture books for children ever since I read hundreds and hundreds of them to my own children!”–Joan Bertin
She also tells us how schools are important to the NCAC’s work because the problems happen when parents object to a book the kids want to read. The NCAC is also a supporter of Banned Books Week and hopes to shine a light on these books being prohibited in schools today.
Emme is the perfect role model for kids of every age. She is a TV personality, model, mom, author, brand spokesperson, creative director of her fashion lines, and lecturer. In fact she is a globally recognized advocate and expert on positive body image, self-esteem, fashion trends, and model diversity on the runway and in magazines. She is a board member of Hearts of Gold, an honorary board member to Project Heal, an Ambassador to The National Eating Disorders Association, and donates her time to middle school teen and preteen girls and boys by speaking about bullying, to create a kinder peer-to-peer atmosphere.
During her interview, Emme talked all about how Eric and Bobbi Carle were a big part of her life growing up, how Eric’s books and art allowed her to escape into the story and feel attached to all his wonderful characters and how every parent and teacher should take a trip to the museum at least once to teach their children about the wonders of his creations.
We also asked her about her picture book published by Harper Collins called What Are You Hungry For?
“What Are You Hungry For? is a book that I wanted to have mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and caretakers be able to sit with their child or the one that they’re the guardian for and have a shared experience talking about the many different kinds of hunger that we have. A lot of times our hearts are hungry, and it’s been said that we need to get hugs every day. It’s important to do that with the people you feel safe with. –Emme about her book What Are You Hungry For?
Brian Floca is an illustrator with an eye for detail. He has illustrated books for AVI such as Poppy and Old Wolf and is the author-illustrator of many award-winning books. Brian shares a studio called Pen & Oink with Sergio Ruzzier, Sophie Blackall, Edward Hemingway and John Bemelmans Marciano. We asked him what his favorite exhibit is in the Eric Carle Museum and he shared with us how the museum has deepened his appreciation for the artist and writer in every kid lit creator exhibited in the museum.
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
When Laura Vaccaro Seeger isn’t creating brilliant picture books with her editor Neal Porter or winning awards, she is giving presentations at the Carle Honors and even taking the time to speak with KidLit TV! Laura presented Neil with an album of illustrations from all of his kid lit creators and gave a tearjerking speech about her magical time spent with him.
When asked what was some of Neal’s greatest advice she replied:
“The tip that changed my writing life forever. He told me once, and maybe he’s sorry that he did this, but he said the book will tell you when it’s done. It’s amazing advice, because it teaches the author to trust that if a book needs something then it needs that time to figure it out and be the best it could be.” —Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Laura’s most recent book release is called I Used To Be Afraid and she’s currently working on a book called Blue and another called Why?
Bumping into Bad Kitty author-illustrator Nick Bruel is always a joy for the KidLit TV team. Recently we interviewed Nick at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival in New Jersey and chatted about what makes Bad Kitty so bad.
“You were wearing cat ears then, but now you actually look like the cat who caught the bird and is wearing its wings as a trophy!–Nick Bruel about Katya’s earpiece
He told us how Eric Carle has inspired him and how he admires his style of painting and design. He said how many great author-illustrators like Maurice Sendak and Ezra Jack Keats are remembered not only as talented illustrators, but as masterful storytellers as well.
When asked if he had ever met Eric Carle he told us an amazing story. You’ll never guess what it was, but we’ll give you a hint…it had to do with snail mail. Watch the interview to find out more!
Robert L. Forbes
Robert L. Forbes has a cast of wacky and fun characters in his books. In his interview he spoke about how children and animals and even troubling situations have always inspired him. He tries to avoid the cliches of literature, but not always! He had a chance to meet Eric and Bobbi Carle at the Eric Carle Museum’s first anniversary.
“He is one of those people. There is a life-force there that is second to none.” –Robert about Eric Carle
Robert also agrees with KidLit TV that every parent and teacher should take their children and students to the Eric Carle Museum for a day trip because it is a learning experience that offers so many fun activities to do and exciting exhibits to see.
“It’s a chance to understand what goes into illustrations, how to make a book, what’s hard about it. It’s a very special place.”–Robert Forbes about the Eric Carle Museum
Robert also believes that we are in a Golden Age of literature and illustration. He says that artistry and writing is now incomparable and that there is so much talent these days.
Kwame Alexander & Mo Willems
“One of the great things that the Carle does is not only show art and get kids involved, but now they have other exhibits in other museums around the country and around the world.” — Mo Williems about the Carle Museum
Kwame Alexander and Mo Willems are two unforgettable faces in the children’s literature world. Not only are they brilliant authors of award-winning books, but they proved to us that they can also put on their own stand-up comedy theatrical show. During their interview with KidLit TV they talked all about how Eric Carle inspired their work, what their favorite exhibits are in the Eric Carle Museum and even gave us the inside scoop about what they are currently working on. Kwame Alexander has upcoming picture books and Mo Willems is working ona story inspired by real events in his life!
Yeah, I met him as a child. I met him through his paintings. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, just wonderful books that my parents read to me as a child. It showed me how the words could come off the page and how they came alive through his artwork. –Kwame Alexander about meeting Eric Carle through his art.
As the founder of Books of Wonder, Peter Glassman is always looking forward to events like the Carle Honors. Books of Wonder recently celebrated its 35th anniversary from when it first opened its doors to its literary world of magic. In fact, Peter met Eric Carle during the 25th Anniversary of A Very Hungry Caterpillar and did a special catalog for him. We loved hearing about Peter’s amazing adventure…it included a truck filled with books!
“I remember it was the year Pancakes, Pancakes was published…and Eric made me pancakes.”–Peter Glassman
Peter was lucky enough to be at the opening of the Eric Carle Museum and celebrated the event with Eric, Bobbi and even Maurice Sendak!
When Marla isn’t teaching at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, she is illustrating awarding winning books including All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. She is also the author-illustrator of Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, The Boss Baby, Boot & Shoe, and The Farmer and the Clown, and is the illustrator of many other books including The Seven Silly Eaters, Stars, the New York Times bestselling Clementine series, and God Got a Dog.
She told KidLit TV about her favorite exhibits in the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and how his art and stories have inspired her own work.
“In kindergarten he was getting lost with paints and colors and his teacher told his mom to encourage his creativity. Those stories inspire me a lot!” –Marla Frazee
Have you heard about the Carle Museum’s newest campaign? It’s called Get Behind Picture Books! It was created to remind us all that we have the ability to ensure every child is given a picture book. All you have to do to participate is to snap a fun photo with your favorite picture book and post it to your social media using #GetBehindPictureBooks.
Another way to be a champion of the cause is to read a book to someone special to you, visit a bookstore or library or show your appreciation to a picture book artist! KidLit TV is happy to take part in this campaign and knows how important it is to give every child a book. Our StoryMakers host Rocco Staino reminds us of this at the end of every episode.
Julie Gribble vs. The Silent Auction
At the end of the Carle Honors presentation, KidLit TV founder, Julie Gribble participated in the silent auction. The second she spotted Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty portrait she knew she had to take part. Who could resist?
The Carle Honors is not only a celebration of picture books and illustration, it is a celebration of the kid lit community and the heart of dedicating our lives to creating beautiful books and life long memories for children. We are grateful that the Carle Honors has recognized these creators who have shown true dedication for many years. Writing and illustrating books isn’t about making numbers, as the great Robert Forbes has told us, and it isn’t about competing with others involved with kid lit. It’s the lessons we teach children through our art and writing that truly make a difference. And we at KidLit TV are honored to say that we will never forget that.