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Obituaries

Death notices and remembrances of children's-book people.

RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

Peter Dickinson, 1927-2015

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One-of-a-kind British writer Peter Dickinson died in December at age eighty-eight. His work cannot be easily categorized: a prolific author, he wrote everything from adult detective novels to speculative YA science fiction to heart-stopping adventures to intriguing almost-fantasies. The protagonists in his work for children range from an American-missionary boy who finds himself trekking through […]

Always: remembering Alan Rickman

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Just a few days ago, the Goblin King passed. While Bowie the Artist never really had much of an impact on my life, Bowie the Goblin King certainly did. As a child, Labyrinth in equal parts delighted and terrified me. I watched it over and over, always hiding my face when the fire creature things […]

Vera B. Williams (1927–2015)

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We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children’s book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It’s a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds of communities. Both A Chair […]

Dorothy Butler, 1925-2015

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We were very sad to hear about the death this week of Dorothy Butler — author, bookstore doyenne, kiwi, and great Friend of The Horn Book. Read — and be inspired by — her classic Horn Book Magazine article “A Children’s Bookshop in New Zealand: One Family’s Enterprise“: “The fact that the story of my […]

Marcia Brown, 1918-2015

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We were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors (including her indelible Stone Soup […]

Remembering Terry Pratchett

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Just two weeks ago, the nerd world lost the beloved Leonard Nimoy. Today, we’ve been served another crushing blow: Sir Terry Pratchett has died at 66 after a struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The fact that my Twitter feed is full of Pratchett love and lore is enough to choke me up, but that last […]

Mal Peet: Whimsical Alchemist

Elspeth Graham, Amanda Lewis, Mal Peet, and Tim Wynne Jones at Snapes Point, near Salcombe, Devon, March 2012. Photo credit: Janet Irwin.

Mal Peet’s first novel was published when he was fifty-six; his last this past fall, just over a decade later. A late bloomer, you might say, and what a vivid, abundant, effulgent bloom it was. Peet died of cancer on March 2, 2015. He had been diagnosed sometime around Christmas. I saw him only last […]

Goodbye, George

Roger Sutton, Paul Zelinsky, and George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law’s apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

Back from ALA to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved over to Harper and then to a successful second career as an agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. He was […]

Frances Foster

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We’re sad to hear of the death yesterday of Frances Foster, publisher of Frances Foster Books at FSG. At the link, please read Leonard S. Marcus’s interview with her from the September/October 2003 issue.