“Did you hear? The Smithsonian is honoring Eric Carle Wednesday night!” my friend blurted into the phone.
“When? Where? I’ll meet you there!” I replied excitedly.
As a teacher, stacks of Eric Carle books can be found in my classroom and I love sharing his bright and beautiful picture books during read-aloud time. When I heard he would be just a Metro stop away receiving an award and speaking, I just had to attend this free event sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute.
Days later, I got off the Metro at Federal Triangle and began the three block walk to the Natural History Building. As I walked, I suddenly noticed that a white-haired man was walking in front of me, flanked by two women seemingly in their twenties. I sped up to walk beside this trio and glanced over to see if this man was indeed Eric Carle. To my amazement, it was!
Not wanting to intrude but also not wanting to miss this opportunity to be standing two feet away from my favorite children’s book author, I spoke.
“Congratulations, Mr. Carle! I am excited for you to be recieving the award tonight! I’ve come to watch and hear your speech. I’m a teacher and I can’t imagine teaching without your books.”
The one woman guiding him to the museum seemed startled. “How did you know this was Eric Carle?” she asked.
“How did I know? Come on,” I chuckled. “He’s Eric Carle. ALL teachers know his kind grandfatherly face.!”