Carol McCloud, the “Bucket Lady”

Carol McCloud
Carol McCloud, a.k.a. the “Bucket Lady,” enjoys teaching people of all ages, all over the world, how to be happy. The secret: “Be a Bucket Filler. Be Kind.” She’s undertaken a “mission for meaningful happiness.”

A graduate of Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services in Rochester, Michigan, Carol spent 20 years in education as a teacher, youth mentor, and early education director. As Adjunct Professor for the Florida Keys Community College in the 1990s, Carol taught early childhood classes and served as president of the local NAEYC affiliate. It was during those years that Carol first learned about the “bucket” concept.

Carol began following the new research on mental, emotional, and social development that was being uncovered in the orphanages of Romania. The research she found clearly defined the intense need that all children share to have their buckets filled by caring adults. In 2005, while talking to a teacher, she began to wonder why no one had yet taught this amazing “bucket” concept to young children. That same year, within months of losing her job due to corporate downsizing, she wrote her first book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.

Her book was released in June 2006. Two weeks later, her husband, Mike, was diagnosed with kidney cancer and couldn’t work. While Mike was receiving chemotherapy, Carol carried on, selling her books, out of their 10-year-old van, at local farmers’ markets. Sadly, Mike lost his battle with cancer and died twelve weeks later.

Within a month of her book’s publication, teachers from schools around the country were calling Carol to teach their students about “bucket filling.” To help with these presentations, Carol assembled a small team to travel around the country and present the concept to schools. In the first fifteen years, they gave over 3,000 presentations to a half-million attendees. Today, thousands of schools worldwide use “bucket filling” as their primary character development program.

In her book and life, Carol focuses on the reciprocating benefits of “filling” buckets by helping others and being kind. It’s a lesson she learned from her parents at an early age by putting a portion of her allowance in the church basket each week. As a result, she established a habit of giving back a part of everything her family received.

Currently, Carol’s books have sold over three million copies and have received hundreds of awards and five-star reviews for her titles. She now has ten titles, with translations in ten different languages and published in various formats.

Carol is a Talent Smart® Emotional Intelligence Trainer and member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Her passion for bucket filling, energetic style, and creative storytelling serve her goal: to motivate each person to make a daily choice to be a bucket filler. Carol lives with her husband, Jack Lysinger, in Venice, Florida. They enjoy spending most summers traveling in their RV, teaching others about the “Bucket Filler Happiness Rules.”

Fun FAQs About Carol

Yes, every day I try to fill my bucket and fill someone else’s. I might not always do it, but I try. I fill my bucket when I pray, read, write down three I’m grateful for, and get outdoors. I fill other people’s buckets when I do something to let them know I care about them. I love helping others and sharing my blessings. I believe in the motto: Use what you need, share the rest.
Every day, my husband Jack and I either go for a long walk or ride our bikes. We love to cook together. We bowl on a couple of mixed leagues, hang out with friends, float in the pool, and travel in our RV. And, I still promote bucket filling daily.
I actually have two favorites. For ages 1-6, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is my favorite. I had read this book with hundreds of early childhood professionals when I taught child development classes in the 1990s. For ages 9-12, Wonder by R J. Palacio is my favorite. These two books are multi-million sellers and are truly beautiful classics.
Red Grammer! His Teaching Peace album was my go-to preschool classroom music in the 1990s. I’ve given away dozens, if not hundreds, of copies to parents, teachers, and friends. The whole album is wonderful. Today, I recommend, sing, and exercise to Red’s newest album, Circle of Lights, Songs for Bucket Fillers. It's my current favorite and reminds me daily about the happiness that stems from being a bucket filler. We have the power to change the world.
Wonder is up there on top again. I cry happy tears every time I see it. The Pixar movie, Inside Out, is also a favorite. There’s lots of wisdom about emotions in this movie.
I love how thousands of people lead happier lives because they’ve committed to being bucket fillers. I'm in awe that my work has helped accomplish that. I am also proud of my company's giving back. Over the past fifteen years, we have donated more than one million dollars to non-profits that make positive life changes. I plan to continue filling as many buckets as I can.
Yes, I always have a book in the works. It's usually a few I'm working on at once. I haven't decided which one I want to finish first. I’ll have to keep you posted on that.