Beverly Cleary has died aged 104. Full obituaries will be listed here as they appear.
1984 Hans Christian Andersen winner, Mitsumasa Anno, has died aged 94. He was known especially for wordless pictorial bird’s-eye view “Journey” books, in which a character’s travels embrace a country’s art, literature, culture, and history. His first book, English title Topsy-Turvies – described by Anita Silvey as “an amazing collection of improbable constructions filled with impossible perspectives and angles” – was published in 1968, when he was already in his forties. Before that he had been a primary school teacher. Anno’s Alphabet, published in 1974, received the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award and was specially commended for that year’s Kate Greenaway Medal (awarded that year to Pat Hutchins for The Wind Blew).
In 1985, Shirley Hughes wrote a profile of him for Books for Keeps, describing the artist as having “about him more than a touch of the genial magician, a flamboyant westernised style combined with the formal politeness of his fellow country-men; he is quick, observant and very, very intelligent.”
Hughes goes on to observe, “He shows a similar brilliant sleight-of-hand with perspective as the artist he is sometimes compared with, M. C. Escher. They both play on the way our eye perceives three-dimensional form on a flat surface. But Anno is the more humanly fanciful and, unlike Escher, works in colour which he uses with stunning fluency. He is not, one senses, particularly drawn to the role of interpreting other people’s texts. Responding very strongly to poetry, he feels (as many writers do) that a good piece of literature needs no further illustration to enhance its meaning. His books explore the converse of this reaction; that a visual medium doesn’t need words to explain the story.”
There is a Mitsumasa Anno Art Museum designed by world-renowned architect, Tadao Andou.
Christopher Little, the agent who signed J. K. Rowling, died earlier this month. The opening paragraphs of this Times obituary describe how his office received three chapters of the first Harry Potter book, Rowling having picked “his name from a list of literary agents in an Edinburgh library, thinking that he sounded like a character from a children’s story”.
Althea Braithwaite – ‘Althea’ – died last month aged 80.
Primary school libraries and classrooms were particularly full of her slim, informative and accessible titles during the last three decades of the 20th century.
In recent years, she was better known, particularly in East Anglia, as an artist specialising in brightly coloured fused glass.
Sorry to learn of the recent death of children’s illustrator Althea Braithwaite, (1940 – 2020) who went under the simple name of Althea. In later years she turned her talents to ceramics, and she created this wonderful glass dish #althea #AltheaBraithwaite pic.twitter.com/lM3fW2Pgeo
— Colin West (@mooseandmouse) September 24, 2020
The Guardian obituary, published 20 September and linked to below, is an excellent summary of her life and career. As is the Books for Keeps Authorgraph, published while Althea was still alive:
Indeed, given only minimal entries in the standard reference books on Children’s Literature, these two sources of information together represent the best available information on Althea’s place in the history of children’s books.
If further obituaries appear, they will be added to this post.
I am very sorry for being so late in posting this news. My reaction was similar to that of Camilla Reid, writing on the Nosy Crow blog (see the link below):
I almost felt that it was impossible for Wendy to actually die. This is bonkers, obviously, but anyone who ever met her cannot have failed to notice in Wendy a vitality, a force of positive energy that is rare to encounter and would fool you into thinking it would go on forever.
She must have been at practically every children’s publishing event I ever attended in London. If she wasn’t, it would mean she was on one of her regular travelling expeditions, and if she was, you could bet that conversation would be as likely to be about her latest adventures in India, as it would about children’s books.
She will be greatly missed.
The NYT reports:
Andrew Clements, who mined a brief career as a teacher in Illinois in writing two dozen books for young readers, most notably “Frindle,” which sold more than eight million copies, died on Nov. 28 at his home in West Baldwin, Maine. He was 70.
Alison Prince, Watch With Mother writer, creator of Trumpton and children’s bookskm aurthor: born 26 March 1931; died 12 October 2019
The Guardian obituary appeared online at the end of October but for some reason the print version didn’t appear till today, Saturday 16 November.
The death of, Richard Jackson, a significant children’s books editor and champion of Young Adult themes has been announced:
Richard Jackson, an editor who published books by Judy Blume, Paula Fox, Virginia Hamilton and other award-winning authors that broadened the scope of children’s literature, then late in life became a children’s author himself, died on Oct. 2 in Towson, Md. He was 84.
…His work as an editor beginning in the 1960s that changed the landscape of literature for young people. At a time when many people still thought of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries as the height of sophistication for young readers, he published authors who wrote about bullying, race, sexuality, adolescent angst of all kinds.
He often found himself defending the books he published against complaints from librarians, school boards and parents who deemed them too strong.
Of publishing Judy Blume, Jackson said, “I felt her voice was so extraordinarily pure, I just couldn’t worry that we were going to raise hackles… There’s always someone to be offended. But it was never to raise hackles that we published her. It was the voice, and the absence of adult regret, instruction or nostalgia in those novels. She turns them over to the kids, over to the characters.”
More >>> https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/13/books/richard-jackson-dead.html
Updated full-length obit. >>> https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/13/books/richard-jackson-dead.html?smid=tw-nytobits&smtyp=cur