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Judith Ortiz Cofer and Marilyn Sachs

We were sad to hear about the deaths, just before the New Year, of Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952-2016) and Marilyn Sachs (1927-2016), two of children’s literature’s Great Ladies.

coferCofer’s 1995 linked short story collection An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio was a touchstone work in children’s books: “A milestone in multicultural publishing for children, this collection…offers food for thought for all young adults.” It was on the 1996 Horn Book Fanfare list, and Martha V. Parravano and Lauren Adams cited it as one of the year’s “truly outstanding books for older readers” in their 1996 editorial “A Wider Vision for the Newbery.” An Island Like You won the inaugural Pura Belpré Narrative Award.

sachsMarilyn Sachs was the author of approximately forty books, beginning with Amy Moves In in 1964. Immigration, family, friendship, and bullying were frequent themes in her work. “Don’t feel you have to be smart, beautiful, brave and popular to become a writer,” she wrote on her website. “Or even to be a good speller. Losers often grow up to be writers, which means we have the final word.” Her book Call Me Ruth won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers in 1982. What Roger remembers her most for, though, is this.

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