Czech artist Karel Franta, the author of illustrations of books for children and winner of a number of international awards, died at the age of 89 on Wednesday.
Franta illustrated more than 100 books for children, mainly by Czech authors, and also the production of foreign, particularly German-language publishers.
Kamala Laxman, a well-known author of children’s books and widow of legendary cartoonist R.K. Laxman, died due to old age, her son said. She was 90.
Kamala Laxman is survived by her son Srinivas, daughter-in-law Usha and granddaughter Rimanika.
“She was not keeping too well and was suffering since my father’s death last year. After his death, she had said ‘I will join you soon’. It appears her wish was fulfilled today,” said Srinivas.
With many children’s books to her credit in the 1970s, Kamala was commissioned by the India Book House to write a series for children.
Among her notable books are The Thama Stories and her book Raman of Tenali & Other Stories, Thama and His Missing Mother, among others, many of which were illustrated by her husband, R.K. Laxman.
MEDIA RELEASE from New Zealand Society of Authors
Celebrated children’s author William Taylor dies
William Taylor, ONZM, the ‘grand old man’ of New Zealand children’s publishing, acclaimed author of richly comic novels for children and powerful fiction for young adults, died today (3 October) in Taumaranui, aged 77.
Kyle Mewburn, president of the New Zealand Society of Authors says, “Bill Taylor was undoubtedly an icon of New Zealand literature. Less well known is his enormous contribution to the wider literary community, including a stint as NZSA National President from 2001 to 2004. In 2009 he joined an illustrious group of writers appointed President of Honour. His advocacy for, and support of, all writers has left a lasting legacy.”
Taylor’s literary career began in early eighties, while he was mayor of Ohakune and a primary school principal. Six adult novels were published overseas, an apprenticeship, he always said, for his novels for children. During this period he also served six months with Volunteer Service Abroad in Bhutan.
Winning a Choysa Bursary in 1986 enabled him to become a full-time writer, producing a steady stream of books, one almost every year, until the last in 2010, a well-received memoir entitled Telling Tales: a Life in Writing.
Among his best known novels are the children’s classics Possum Perkins, The Worst Soccer Team Ever, Agnes the Sheep and Knitwits, while for young adults he produced ground-breaking novels exploring relationships between teenage boys, notably The Blue Lawn andJerome.
- William Taylor’s novels won him multiple honours: Italy’s prestigious Premio Andersen Award, the inclusion of several novels in American Library Association and Germany’s International Youth Library’s “White Ravens” listings. He won a writers’ fellowship to the University of Iowa in 1996, and appeared at writers’ festivals in Melbourne and Chautauqua, New York State.
- At home, his awards included the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for lifetime achievement and several Storylines Notable Books listings, the Esther Glen and AIM awards, as well as writers’ residencies at the Palmerston North Training Collage and later, the University of Otago.
- In 2004 he was awarded an ONZM for services to literature and the community. Until very recently, he was chairman of the National Park Community Board.
Dr Libby Limbrick, chair of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust, says, “From his warmly humorous books for younger readers, to his thought-provoking novels for adolescents, Bill’s contribution to literature for young people has been immense.”
Among author tributes, Joy Cowley writes, “We will miss his humour, his unfailing kindness, his courage, the books that could have been, but we are so grateful for the writings we have. Through his novels, future generations who never met him, will be glad to know him.”
Writer/illustrator Gavin Bishop, and a board member of the New Zealand Book Council, says, “For many years, Bill was an ardent supporter of the Book Council’s Writers in Schools scheme, visiting hundreds, if not thousands of schools throughout the country. His often challenging and beautifully crafted writing established a high benchmark for the younger writers who followed him. His substantial body of unforgettable work will ensure that William Taylor will never be forgotten.”
Author Janice Marriott remembers Bill as a mentor. “I’ll miss his wisdom. We both loved to put humour into children’s books, and we shared many laughs about our work and our lives.”
Another long-time friend, author Tessa Duder, credits William Taylor as one of the emerging writers of the 1980s who, along with Margaret Mahy and Maurice Gee, raised New Zealand children’s fiction to a new level. “His was a unique comic voice, matched in New Zealand literature only by Mahy. Equally, he produced tough YA novels of unflinching realism, showing great sympathy for teenagers searching for a sense of self, often in terrible circumstances. As mentor of many creative writing students he was always generous and honest.”
The author of award-winning 90s children’s book The Lantern Moon, passed away on Monday after a short illness.
Throughout her career she had written a total of 19 novels for young readers including the popular Harper Collins Witch in Training series.
The books followed the trials and tribulations of young witch, Jessica, as she learned to cast spells and fly.
They were inspired by the time Friel spent living in the town of Ludlow in Shropshire.
Children’s Books Ireland, the Irish childhood literary charity paid tribute to the writer on their Facebook page saying:
“We were saddened to hear today of the passing of a wonderful writer and much-loved woman, Maeve Friel. Maeve’s books included The Lantern Moon, The Deerstone and Distant Voices, all of which were shortlisted for the CBI awards over the years.”
In 1957 he met Shari Lewis, who was, by his recollection, already "the queen of New York television" with Lamb Chop, her beloved puppet sidekick. He and Lewis were married in 1958, and he went on to produce her Saturday morning TV show for several years.
He turned to publishing out of concerns about tying his career to his wife’s fame. One of his first successes was the Carson book, which became a bestseller in 1965. Soon he was packaging book deals for other celebrities, including Diller, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Buddy Hackett and Joan Rivers.
One of the "kaumatuas" of New Zealand children’s literature has died.
Author and bookseller Dorothy Butler died at West Auckland Hospice on Sunday. She was 90. Extremely well-respected by her peers, Butler’s bookstore in Ponsonby became an institution for Aucklanders. Although the store was bought by new owners in 1999, it continues to bear her name. Butler was a passionate advocate for children’s literacy and the importance of books in young people’s lives. She was also the author of dozens of children’s books, several non-fiction titles and her autobiography.
In 1992 she was given the Margaret Mahy Award and in 1993 made an OBE.
Norman Bridwell, a soft-spoken illustrator whose impromptu story about a girl and her puppy marked the unlikely birth of the supersized franchise Clifford the Big Red Dog, has died at 86.
Bridwell, who lived for decades in a house with a bright red door on Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, died Friday at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where he had been for about three weeks after a fall at home in Edgartown, his wife, Norma, said.