Sandra McLeod Humphrey, 76, an award-winning author of children’s books on character development, was killed in a house fire on November 23, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Her husband, Brian Humphrey, 77, was also killed.
The couple’s single-family home in Minnetonka, MN, was in flames at 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to news sources, including the Minneapolis/St. Paul TV network KARE 11. No official cause of the blaze has been released.
Humphrey was the author of nine books, all of which focused on “young people thinking and talking about important social and moral issues,” according to her website.
She was an avid user of Twitter (@sandra305) with close to 2,300 followers and over 18,000 tweets. Her most recent book, They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference (Prometheus, 2011), was published last November. The book profiles 25 individuals, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who Humphrey hoped would inspire children to believe in themselves.
Her book Dare To Dream!: 25 Extraordinary Lives (Prometheus, 2005) featured biographical sketches of 20th-century individuals from Albert Einstein to Sammy Sosa. A School Library Journal review said of the book, “Although the group is eclectic, the individuals all have one thing in common: they became successful in the face of adversity and therefore are great candidates to become heroes for today’s youth.”
Humphrey explained on her website that she wrote Dare To Dream! after observing that many students she met during school visits had given up on their dreams and had no defined aspirations. “They were willing to settle for ‘just getting by’ and weren’t particularly interested in discovering their passions,” she wrote.
Humphrey’s book Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs (Prometheus, 2007) is included on many anti-bullying booklists, including The Berkshire (MA) District Attorney’s Bully Prevention Lending Library and the Aurora (CO) Public Schools Bully Prevention Resource List.
Hot Issues, Cool Choices features a collection of 26 vignettes depicting various forms of bullying and questions for discussion. The book received a 2008 Mom’s Choice Gold Award, a 2009 Young Voices Foundation Silver Award, and a 2009 Readers Favorite gold medal.
Humphrey received many other honors, including the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature from the Church & Synagogue Library Association (CSLA) and the 2012 American Authors Association Golden Quill Award.
Humphrey was also a retired clinical psychologist with over 35 years of experience working with young people, and a consultant for the Heroes & Dreams Foundation, which provides education materials to schools K-8 throughout the United States and Canada, according to her website.
The Humphreys are survived by three adult children.
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