R.I.P. Jill Paton Walsh

We're sad to have lost Jill Paton Walsh yesterday. I only met her once, at a 1990s CLNE gathering at Radcliffe, but Jill was a longtime friend of the Horn Book dating back to the 1970s, when Paul and Ethel Heins were running things here, and they and Jill and her later-husband John Rowe Townsend and Betty Levin and Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire were pulling together the children's literature master's program at Simmons.

And, oh, her brilliant books. I first read her in library school -- actually I first read about her in cataloging class, where her name was used as an example of the "name and form of name" problem in the then-new AACR2 (is that still a thing?). A Chance Child is one of the great English timeshift novels, and A Parcel of Patterns, a story of the Plague in 17th-century England, would provide some interesting reading in todays pandemic times. I reviewed her novel Grace for the NYT, and I'd like to share with you Gregory Maguire's meditation on Unleaving and his long friendship with Jill. She will be missed.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.
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therese bigelow

much as I love Gregory neither he nor Jill and John were there in the beginnings of the Center. Ginny Moore Kruse and Jane Langton were also part of the initial group of planners. Greg came later as a student in the first masters class (just a kid then) and I think Jill and John first taught summer 1978 and were regularly involved after that.

Posted : Oct 20, 2020 08:43


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