Children's writer Bill Martin, Jr. was born and raised in Hiawatha, Kansas. Ironically, the future early childhood educator had difficulty reading until he taught himself, before graduating with a teaching certificate from Emporia State University. After graduation, he taught high school drama and journalism in Kansas. He served in the Army Air Force as a newspaper editor during World War II. He wrote his first book, The Little Squeegy Bug, for his brother, Bernard, an artist, to illustrate while recuperating from war wounds. It was published in 1945 and the brothers would go on to collaborate on 10 more books by 1955. He earned a master's degree and doctorate in early childhood education from Northwestern University and became principal of an elementary school in Evanston, Ill., where he developed innovative reading programs. In 1962 Martin moved to New York City to become editor of the school division of Holt, Rhinehart and Winston where he developed the literature-based reading programs Sounds of Language and The Instant Readers. Martin returned to full-time writing in 1972 and ended up writing over three hundred children's books during his career. His titles include; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?, The Ghost-Eye Tree, Barn Dance, and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom. He died on August 11, 2004 at the age of 88.
Eric Carle is an award-winning, children's picture book author and illustrator whose most recognized work is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book. Carle was born to German parents in 1929 in Syracuse, New York. The family returned to Germany in 1935, moving to a suburb of Stuttgart. Carle disliked high school, quitting at the age of 16 before graduation. He was admitted as the youngest student to the Akademie der bildenden Kunste, an art school. After finishing at the Akademie, he worked as a poster designer for the U.S. Information Center in Germany until 1952, when he moved back to New York City. He was a graphic designer at the New York Times and later worked as an art director at L.W. Frohlich & Co. In 1963, Bill Martin, Jr. saw a poster of a red lobster that Carle had designed and asked him to illustrate Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, thus launching his freelance career. Among his many children's books are Hello, Red Fox, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, and Pancakes, Pancakes! His title The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse made Publisher's Weekly Best Seller List for 2011. His title Brown Bear Brown Bear What to You See? made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012.