CARL and The Meaning of LifeViking Children's Books, April 2, 2019, ISBN: 9780451474988
Audiobook narrated by Adam Grupper, Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980025108

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.


“... a beautiful, gently humorous picture book... Like a tiny legless Diogenes, Carl sets off to find the answers, inadvertently revealing how important he and fellows like him are to the natural world—especially at springtime.
Wall Street Journal

★ “This book is a poignant example of the important contributions of even the smallest creature, but it’s better than that—it’s a science lesson as well. Freedman subtly explains the delicate balance of nature and each creature’s role in maintaining it. Carl is an endearing protagonist.”
School Library Journal, starred review

★ “… supported by fabulous illustrations… This spare but endearing story will help youngsters understand the wonder and interconnectedness of nature.”
Booklist, starred review; Review of the Day

"Even someone who does not like worms will fall in love with Carl… This is a wonderful book to spark a conversation… a must-have in all collections!"
– School Library Connection, starred review

“… celebrates the interconnectedness of all creatures, including the reader… just in time for garden encounters.”
Kirkus Reviews

... Freedman adds the occasional sly touch of humor to this little ecological fable…."
Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books

Freedman’s colorful mixed-media illustrations add depth to her engaging story with an important child-friendly message."
International Literacy Association

“... shows how tiny organisms help to keep the natural world in balance in this inventive worm’s-eye view of the web of life.”
Publishers Weekly

Thoroughly delightful…"
Reading Eagle

... inviting readers to think about how they, like the indomitable Carl, ‘help the earth.’"
The Horn Book, Review of the Week; Calling Caldecott “Book on the Radar”

“I love how it’s rooted in science… but also about about discovering yourself and trying to figure out who you are and why you matter and what place you have on this earth… It’s a beautiful book for kids and it makes the world a better place.”

—Colby Sharp, teacher, & author of The Creativity Project, and co-author with Donalyn Miller of Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids.

Thank you, Colby!

Order CARL!

Signed books available now at JaZams, Bull Moose, and Books of Wonder!

Barnes & Noble ●  Amazon
Penguin Young Readers

Also available as an audiobook narrated by Adam Grupper, Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980025108.