Spread the Joy of Picture Books. Support The Carle Today!
We are deeply grateful to you for the tremendous outpouring of support you’ve shown for the Museum as we navigated a second, and difficult, year with the pandemic. These challenges have taught us so much about ourselves—but maybe most of all how inextricably tied we all really are.
The Carle community is bound together by a shared belief that every child has the right to thrive and grow. And these last 21 months have really tested children. This was the time that picture books really needed to shine—and they did! Since COVID began, picture books have offered children an escape from the confines of home, or the constancy of screens. They’ve been a friend when our children needed one most. They’ve been comfortingly familiar even as they’ve challenged our thinking. They gave our children windows into the world and inspired them to take action.
Picture books remind us of the precious, extraordinary pleasures of our ordinary days. They’ve also helped to remind children—and their anxious parents—that every story has an ending.
But even as we hope for an ending to the long story of the pandemic, other stories continue to unfold, like racial inequality and climate change. We need our children, more than ever, to be able to imagine a more perfect world, and to commit themselves to a more just future. What part do they want to play? Who do they want to become?
Books have beckoned children to read and learn and think for themselves—building not only the resilience they will need for the years ahead, but also the optimism. They’ve helped them find courage to do hard things and the empathy to understand why those hard things matter most.
As you know, we were not immune this year at the Museum to heartbreak. When our cofounder Eric Carle died on May 23 at the age of 91, the loss for us was of course a professional one, but it was also overwhelmingly personal. Eric Carle was our muse, our greatest ambassador, our inspiration, and our friend. He was the person we most wanted to make proud.
When Eric and Barbara Carle built the Museum almost 20 years ago, they understood that picture book art has the power to draw people together. They wanted to create a place where generations of visitors would come together and be moved by art, where people could find their common humanity. And that, we see more clearly than ever before, was Eric’s final charge for us all: to make sure the Museum does good in the world. And we are compelled to do that, even without him here to cheer us on.
Through the roller coaster that was this last couple of years, we have worked to remain true to Eric and Bobbie’s vision by offering comfort and hope. We created hundreds of virtual programs—and met new friends passionate about children’s literature tuning in from all over the world. We reimagined the Museum with online exhibitions like Asians, Everyday, started offering dozens of virtual talks with artists, and began an online storytime program, now viewed by more than 50,000 families who want to gather and watch, listen and learn.
Visitors who were able to come to the Museum this last year explored the history of racism, and the heroic activists who fought for equality, in Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books, curated by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Visitors learned about prehistoric reptiles in Inside-Outside Dinosaurs: Making a Book with Roxie Munro, and about Black spirituals in Ashley Bryan in Song. Today, our visitors are learning about the powerful history of wordless picture books in Speechless: The Art of Wordless Picture Books, an exhibition curated by a master of the form, artist David Wiesner. Color|Joy|Eric Carle is filled with original art—full of Eric’s love for color—much of which had never been exhibited before.
We have been able to do everything I recounted this year because of the support of our board, the Carle family, and YOU.
We hope you will consider a gift to The Carle this season. We promise to put your gift to work immediately to keep picture books and art at the heart of all we do – so we can continue to bring hope and heart to our visitors in Amherst, online, and around the world.
While you explore this new website—designed with you in mind—check out this video highlighting Color|Joy|Eric Carle.