“Through the simple act of holding your child close while you read to them, you let them know that you care for them, have time for them, and love them.”
Throughout 2019, in honor of Jumpstart’s 25th Anniversary, we will be highlighting 25 Faces of Jumpstart. This campaign celebrates the wide variety of people who have played a major role in Jumpstart’s history — our founders, volunteers from Jumpstart’s past, Jumpstart children and their families, influential donors and supporters, and more. We cannot wait to share their stories with you — how they helped shape and grow Jumpstart into what it is today, the impact that Jumpstart has had on their own lives, and their vision for the next 25 years of Jumpstart.
It’s no surprise that, 10 years ago, when Jumpstart was planning its annual Read for the Record campaign, the book selection was Eric Carle’s best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book was read by more than 2 million readers on one day, October 8, 2009.
Of course, Eric Carle’s classic has eaten its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world and has been translated into 65 languages. Since 1969 when The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published, Eric has illustrated more than 70 other books, many of which made their way onto best seller lists—most of which he also wrote. More than 145 million copies of his books have sold around the world.
“I can remember the excitement of the day itself when we realized that so many people were reading my story at the same time, in schools and libraries and at events all around the world,” Eric says, recalling that Read for the Record event. “I remember the wonderful celebration in New York City which I attended, being interviewed on the Today Show, on top of the Empire State building, and at the New York Stock Exchange. This was a great honor and I was extremely grateful for this incredible experience.”
“I can remember the excitement of the day itself when we realized that so many people were reading my story at the same time, in schools and libraries and at events all around the world,”
Our Shared 2019 Milestones
Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record featuring The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Among Eric’s most cherished memories from his own childhood is his kindergarten teacher—Miss Frickey—distributing colorful paints and big sheets of white paper to draw and paint in their bright classroom with big windows. Offering children books, music, and art is enriching and may open a door in the mind of a child in a way that will stay with them forever, Eric believes.
“All kinds of art, literature, theater, dance, music, poetry ennoble humankind,” he says.
For Eric—as for Jumpstart—literacy is not just an important life skill, but a powerful vehicle for social-emotional development through connection across generations; a foundation for meaningful time shared between parent and child, caregiver and child or grandparent and child.
“Through the simple act of holding your child close while you read to them, you let them know that you care for them, have time for them, and love them,” Eric says. “Sharing a book becomes more than pages with words and pictures.”
“I didn’t have many books as a child, but I have very fond memories of sitting on my father’s lap while he read the Sunday Funny pages to me,” he says. “I enjoyed Mickey Mouse and Flash Gordon. But it is the closeness with my father, the connection we shared that made lasting impact.”
Some quotes have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.