February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

In Memoriam 2012

Jean Craighead George

Many wonderful authors, illustrators, and others in the world of children’s books passed away last year. Their works have enriched our lives and collections and brought joy to countless children.

School Library Journal regrets any omissions. Please add to our list in the comments section.

January 30 – Bill Wallace, 64, author of more than 30 books, including A Dog Called Kitty (Holiday House, 1980).

February 2 – Joyce Barkhouse, 98, Canadian author of the Pit Pony (Gage, 1989) and other works of historical fiction.

February 3 – John Christopher, 89, British science-fiction author, whose real name was Samuel Youd.  He’s best known for his “Tripods” trilogy (Macmillan).

February 24 – Jan Berenstain, 88, cocreator, with her husband, Stan, of some of the world’s most-beloved kids’ book characters, the Berenstain Bears.

May 4 – Maurice Sendak, 83, one of the most recognizable names in children’s literature.

May 15 – Jean Craighead George, 92, Newbery-winning author and naturalist.

May 25 – Peter D. Sieruta, 53, creator of the popular blog Collecting Children’s Books.

May 26 – Ellen Levine, 73, activist and author of the Caldecott Honor book, Henry’s Freedom Box (Scholastic, 2007).

May 26 – Leo Dillon, 79, the first African American to win the Caldecott Medal.

July 11 – Donald J. Sobol, 87, creator of the popular “Encyclopedia Brown” (T. Nelson) mystery series.

July 12 –Else Homelund Minarik, 91, creator of the “Little Bear” (Harper) series.

July 23 – Margaret Mahy, 76, New Zealand author of more than 100 books.

Josepha Sherman

July 31 – Mollie Hunter, 90, Scottish author of children’s and young adult books.

August 2 – Jean Merrill, 89, author of The Pushcart War (Scott, 1964), one of the 20th century’s best social satires for children.

August 9 – Jose Aruego, 80, illustrator of Leo the Late Bloomer (Windmill, 1971).

August 14 – Remy Charlip, 83, dancer, actor, and an award-winning author and illustrator of more than 30 children’s books.

Irving Adler

August 22 –  Nina Bawden, 87, author of the World War II novel Carrie’s War (Gollancz, 1973).

August 23 – Josepha Sherman, 65, sci-fi and fantasy author.

September 22 – Irving Adler, 99, social activist and prolific author of math and science books for children.

November 23 – Sandra McLeod Humphrey, 76, award-winning author of children’s books on character development.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. Marcia Leonard says:

    Each year, “The Original Art,” an exhibition of children’s book illustration held at The Society of Illustrators in NYC, is dedicated to the luminaries of children’s books who died in the past 12 months. Here are others we recognized in addition to the names on your list.
    Authors and Illustrators: Ray Bradbury, Bill Brittain, Shirley Climo, Seymour Fleishman, Rosa Guy, Florence Parry Heide, Russell Hoban, Thomas Locker, Anne McCaffrey, Sally Ride, Ronald Searle, Simms Taback.
    Designers, Editors, Publicists, and Publishers: Deborah Brodie, Milburn Calhoun, Gerald Harrison, Portia Clark, Atha Tehon, Ned Waldman.
    Critics, Librarians, and Reviewers: Dorothy Broderick, Elizabeth Winship.
    Their spirits live on in all that we do.

  2. Angela Frederick says:

    Dennis Brindell Fradin passed away on 8/29/12.


  3. Patty Collins says: