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Happy 75th Birthday Curious George! Throw A Party With Accessible Books for Struggling Readers

Happy Birthday Curious George! The most famous curious monkey and the man in the yellow hat turn 75 years old in 2016! The duo has outlived their creators, H.A. and Margret Rey. Their simple messages are as relevant today as they were in 1941 when the first book was published. Among them: 

  1. Curiosity and initiative are good
  2. Mistakes and messes can be learning experiences
  3. Friendship and loyalty rule
  4. Persistence and problem solving are virtues

There is more. The authors narrowly escaped from the Nazis during WWII while on homemade bicycles, perhaps due to their illustrations of cute little monkeys. The Reys make a very interesting author study. Find more in the resources section that follows. Today, George and his best buddy star in movies, a nine-season TV series, numerous videos, early education learning products and software.  

Accessible Book Formats

Celebrations of the Reys, George, and man in the yellow can be inclusive of all types of readers because a few of the books are converted to alternative formats. Once the books in print are read aloud by teachers, peers, or others and when there is no adult reader around, students with disabilities can read Curious George books on their own. Alternative formats are possible thanks to an "accessible educational materials" program (AEM), which is federally funded, so the book editions are free for eligible students. For example: 

Virginia: AIM-VA has two braille editions that are ready for reading: Curious George and Curious George Goes to the Hospital. Titles vary depending on a state's AEM program requests. 

Nationwide: All students eligible for AEM can read in audio formats.  

  • Learning Ally: Right now there 9 titles in classic audio format read by a human narrator.
  • Bookshare:  More than 65 titles are recorded using synthetic voices.

As part of AEM, any teacher or librarian can request audio, accessible digital, large print or braille conversions. There are 11 formats in all that support eligible special education students in Virginia. 

Decrease Reliance On Print

There are many multimedia options for Curious George that decrease a teacher's reliance on traditional books and printed worksheets. This choice supports teachers who are individualizing, personalizing, differentiating and offering a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to instruction. Check out the Curious George resources that follow.

In 2016-17, celebrate literacy by offering books and learning materials in multiple formats with the goal of including all types of readers who learn in ways that suit them best. For students with disabilities, AEM is not only a nice option, it is a necessity.  


Throwing a party? Need to build background knowledge? Looking to engage learners? 

  1. Watch Jack Johnson's music video featuring George himself. Hear "Upside Down" from the Curious George movie or all 14 songs.
  2. View the publisher's "Curious George 75th Anniversary Video." 
  3. Order a copy of The Journey That Saved Curious George Young Readers Edition: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey, by Louise Borden, Allan Drummond. It tells a dramatic story about the WWII escape of Margret and H.A. Rey from the Nazis when the couple lived in Paris. This edition features a new introduction and extended back-matter by the author in a new trim size for chapter book readers. - See more on the hmhcowebsite.
  4. Find Curious George fun and games on the Curious George website.
  5. Join bookstores and library celebrations on or around Sept. 17 for the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first Curious George book. Find an event location on the state by state list.
  6. Download a free Curiosity Day Party Kit.


Accessible educational materials (AEM) help to create access to the curriculum for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, vision or physical challenges, and others. A federally funded AEM program in every state assures that books in alternative formats are provided free of charge to eligible students with disabilities whose education teams take action. The AEM program operates under a legal exception to federal copyright law. Check out the AIM-VA home page to learn more about eligibility in Virginia. In other states, contact a special education teacher, a school administrator or download a list of AEM state contacts.External Link to AEM state contacts (New Window).

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