Life Lessons from Eric Carle’s Critters

Kate Buckley_Eric Carle-16

by Caroline Jackson
Public Relations Intern

Eric Carle has sold more than 138 million copies of his children books around the world. Behind his use of brilliant colors and fantastical images of nature lies a lesson that will last a lifetime.

As a young child, I was extremely wary to leave my parents’ side on first day of school. Even past the first few days, my mother would often need to console my uneasiness to help build up my confidence for the school day. Now as an adult, the transition into new jobs and unfamiliar cities brings me back to a similar state of fear. Anything new can be scary and unfamiliar, but it can also be exciting and remarkable!

In his books, Eric Carle addresses the fear tied to the transition from home to school. He once said, “With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent, warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly?”

His picture books depict this apprehension within nature in an understandable way. Eric Carle explains that “the unknown often brings fear with it. In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message.”

Eric Carle’s books teach that it is okay to leave feeling scared for feeling brave. Branching out from comfort zones can be nerve-racking. Many never leave their comfort zones. However, the uncharted is often where the adventure lies! A life of fear is not what we wish for ourselves, and especially not what we wish for our children. How important it is we teach them to not be fearful at a young age! It seems we never grow out of Eric Carle’s children books.

Creative Discovery Museum will be hosting “Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit” through Sept. 17, 2017. 

Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit was co-organized by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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