Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

Hello, Deborah Freedman! Thank you for returning to Watch.Connect.Read. to celebrate Carl and the Meaning of Life. I love everything about this beautiful picture book—the case cover, barcode, paper, story, heart. EVERYTHING! Thank you for always putting your heart on the page. 

Deborah Freedman: Thank you for this! Putting one’s heart on the page is a scary thing, so when I send love out to readers and then am lucky enough to have it returned… it means the world to me.

What planted the seed for Carl and the Meaning of Life?

Deborah Freedman: “What am I doing?” and “why?” were questions I was asking myself more often than usual during 2016. Was doing what I love, making picture books, too small and self-indulgent? Should I be doing something larger, more “important”? I was paralyzed for a long time, until Carl appeared one day. He arrived, a tiny character tunneling to light, and sweetly he told me, get back to work. 

How will you celebrate Carl and the Meaning of Life’s book birthday on April 2, 2019?

Deborah: I will spend that day with children from all around the US, via Skype, and in between those classroom visits I may snack on worms & dirt*. 

Please finish these sentence starters:

Earthworms are so important that Charles Darwin wrote an entire book about them! “It may be doubted,” he said, “whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly, organized creatures.”

School libraries are essential to a healthy school’s ecosystem. And so are the school librarians who cultivate them!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me…Do you like to dig in the dirt? Yes, I do! And if I uncover earthworms in spades, I smile — because that means the soil is healthy and my plants will be happy. Thank you, worms.

* Crushed chocolate cookies and chocolate ice cream topped with gummy worms. Yum!

Look for Carl and the Meaning of Life on April 2, 2019.

Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: “Why?” Carl’s quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it’s not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.


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