Richard Scarry

2012 Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous): Richard Scarry

Richard Scarry (1919–1994) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He briefly attended business school and then enrolled in the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston. During World War II, he joined the US Army and served as the editor and writer of publications for the Information and Morale Services section of the Allied Forces. After the war, he worked as a freelance artist for a variety of magazines—and began creating pictures for children’s books. Among the authors whose texts he first illustrated were Margaret Wise Brown, Kathryn Jackson, and Patricia Murphy, who became his wife.

Richard Scarry’s career picked up in the early 1950s, when Little Golden Books (now part of Random House) began to publish his work, including Rabbit and His Friends and The Great Big Car and Truck Book. Then in 1963, with the release of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, his career took off. This large-format book contained over 1,400 labeled pictures, featured a cast of funny anthropomorphic animals, and was designed to entertain children while teaching them words, numbers, and concepts. It sold over seven million copies in its first twelve years in print, launching a whole series of “Best Ever” books, and it’s still in print today.

Over the course of his career, Richard Scarry wrote and illustrated over 200 books published in over twenty languages. Children around the world love his characters: Huckle Cat, Bananas Gorilla, Hilda Hippo—and of course Lowly Worm. They were featured in his many Busy Town books, eventually starred in The Busy World of Richard Scarry, an animated TV series, and were the basis for an interactive exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. For more information, visit his publisher’s website: www.randomhouse.com/kids/richardscarry