Our client, Eric Carle, author and illustrator of iconic children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been entertaining generations with his thoughtful stories and beautiful imagery. Extending his works to a multi-category licensing program has brought his colorful tales to life in a whole new way. But with his most recent storybook, Friends, an even deeper history was brought to light giving Carle a wonderful re-connection to his past.
Released late last year, Friends, was inspired by a photograph from Carle’s childhood. He had wondered for years about the little girl in a white dress he was hugging in this photo which was taken in Syracuse when he was just three years old. He had lost touch with his childhood friend when he moved away and couldn’t even remember her name. Some 80 years later, the photograph inspired the cover art and some of the story in Friends.
When Friends was published last year Carle had mentioned in a USA Today interview that he was hoping the book would help him track down his long lost friend. Sean Kirst, a columnist for The Post Standard in Syracuse read the article and became intrigued. He ended up contacting a local historical society to track down records about Carle’s childhood years in upstate New York. After some intense research, Kirst was able to track down the little girl in the photo, the now 85-year-old Florence Ciani Trovato who currently resides in Florida.
Amazingly Trovato had also saved the 80 year-old photo that pictured her and her friend Eric. On Easter Sunday, Kirst called Carle and sent him Trovato’s photographs along with her phone number. Carle was astounded and immediately reached out to his old friend. He called the re-connection an “Easter Miracle.”