Our belief is that without the presence of creative expression, the ability of students and adults to learn and pursue any subject becomes stiffled, uninspired and robotic.
Our mission involves giving people of all ages the tools and inspiration to explore their talents in whatever field they choose. With direction, mentorship, motivation and a little push, we believe and have witnessed that anyone from any background can achieve success and wealth. Our speakers and artists have been all over the world, met with powerful and successful leaders and entrepreneurs and have been sharing the stories of "creators" with millions of people for over 30 years.
The proof of the success of our mission is in the creators of today that were inspired by our message. Many of their creations are recognized around the world and they are living out their success and reaping the rewards of hard work and determination.
To read more about our history and people Cartoonists Across America & The World has influenced please click here.
Facts About Literacy
2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.
Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school.
As of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country where the current generation was less educated than the previous one.
Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate.
53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.
75% of Americans who receive food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy, and 90% of high school dropouts are on welfare.
Teenage girls between the ages of 16 to 19 who live at or below the poverty line and have below average literacy skills are 6 times more likely to have children out of wedlock than girls their age who can read proficiently.
Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year.
In 2013, Washington, D.C. was ranked the most literate American city for the third year in a row, with Seattle and Minneapolis close behind.
Long Beach, CA was ranked the country’s most illiterate city, followed by Mesa, AZ, and Aurora, CO.
“I am pleased that the Cartoonists Across America tour has been formed, because I agree that literacy has become a problem in our country. Humor itself is always a valuable tool in providing incentive for reading.”
Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts
Cartoonists Across America & The World is an ever-growing grassroots organization of dedicated artists, entrepreneurs, and mentors. Our over-arching goal is to promote literacy, entrepreneurism and a desire to learn. We aim to kickstart the imaginations, ambitions and creative ideas that lay dormant in many of us today. For the past two decades, many of the school systems have fostered students to become employees, but rarely is any attention focused on the freedom and endless growth potential of becoming a creator and captain of your own ship. Cartoonists Across America & The World recognize the power that creativity, mentorship, and reading have on the success of individuals, families and communities great and small. Since 1985, we have reached thousands of people with our message by conducting over 2000 mural and speaking events in the United States and in 17 countries around the world.
The decline of literacy and love of books in the United States began in the early to mid 1990's. It was unmistakable when we began to see funding for guest speakers, workshops, fieldtrips and the arts, diminish steadily. The emphasis in schools was placed on sports, science and math. There is no question that these are important subjects, however, they should never have been a replacement to all other subjects, but rather a equal and opposite facet of the school system. The success of any society hinges upon the people's ability to create, take ownership, be informed and learn from history.
Phil Yeh founded Cartoonists Across America in 1985 after his friend Wally “Famous”Amos explained the problem of illiteracy in America to him. Phil pledged to tour the world for 15 years (1986-2000) in order to try and really reach a generation of young people. On September 12, 1999, Wally presented Phil an Alphie Award on behalf of the Los Angeles County Library Foundation at Sony Pictures Studios. Along with actor Edward James Olmos and Imperial Toy Company CEO Dr. Fred Kort, Phil was recognized for his years of dedication in promoting literacy. When accepting the award, Phil announced that he would continue to tour the globe until the year 2020.
Phil Yeh and his group have traveled throughout the world these last 30 years promoting reading, creativity and the arts, it has become clear to us that we have to do more to make education really mean something to students. Our books, speaking engagements, mural events, and our art workshops have proven that they reach kids of all ages and attract important media attention to these issues.
Phil has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students from the elementary school level to teachers in universities.
He has also been a featured speaker at educational, library, and book conferences around the world. His graphic novel workshops have been successful with all ages and the number of professional artists who have been influenced from Phil's ideas and support for the last 35 years is amazing.
Phil's mural painting events and speaking engagements continue to draw media attention to the education crisis we all face. Phil has been featured on hundreds of front pages in newspapers across the country and around the world. He tries to combine his events with interviews with the local media on the subjects of creativity and literacy and how art and reading can change anyone's life. Phil’s books and these events inspire people of all ages to turn off the TV and give reading and the creative arts a place in their lives. Phil has inspired artists and writers all over the world. His "Read. Avoid Extinction." dinosaurs were featured on t-shirts for many years through the American Library Association and other groups worldwide.