The following is a republished press release written by Li Kinast … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at


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ITHACA, NY­–On Saturday, June 6, Family Reading Partnership celebrated 20 years of gifting Eric Carle’s classic book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to families with babies in Tompkins County. Hosted by Ithaca Children’s Garden, the Caterpillar Birthday Party in the Garden drew over 500 children and families for caterpillar crafts, read-aloud, and birthday cupcakes. The Very Hungry Caterpillar himself, an iconic fabric sculpture made by local fabric artist Mary Milne, was in attendance and ready for birthday photos.

Children and their families gathered throughout the afternoon under a big tent to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” aloud in French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Croatian, Russian, Polish, Hebrew, and English! John Simon delighted the crowd with an original caterpillar song, while everyone enjoyed cupcakes, sweet watermelon, and lemonade generously donated by Wegmans.

Brigid Hubberman, executive director of Family Reading Partnership, recognized the funder, Tompkins Trust Company, and Cayuga Medical Center as two long-time community partners who have helped place “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in to the hearts and homes of families for 20 incredible years.

Children and families join in a group read-aloud of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” led by former Family Reading Partnership board member, Rich Steinacher, of Ithaca. PHOTO CREDIT: Edna Brown

New life for beloved story

Hubberman and Erin Marteal, executive director of Ithaca Children’s Garden, announced an exciting collaboration between their organizations on “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” story walk. The boardwalk ringing the perimeter of the garden will bring the story to life for children and families. Marteal said their vision is for the story walk to become beloved public art, akin to Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” in Boston Public Garden.

The community will be invited to give input on the design of the story walk. There should be no shortage of ideas; since 1995, over 18,000 babies have received “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as a gift from the community through Family Reading Partnership, meaning a generation of children in Tompkins County know and love this special story.

Family Reading Partnership is a not-for-profit community coalition dedicated to creating a culture of literacy in which all children have early, frequent, and pleasurable experiences with words and stories, as a special part of everyday family life, right from the start. The Welcome Baby Book encourages families to read with their baby as soon as baby joins the family. It’s never too early to start and the benefits last a lifetime!

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