Spring 2022      Volume 50, Number 2

In Memoriam: Remembering Children’s Book Creators Who Passed in 2021
By Betsy Bird

Document: Article 

Introductory Paragraph:  How do you explain to your children why so many famous people are dying? The other day my 10-year-old daughter had the wherewithal to note that there were a lot of older celebrities dying right now. My knee-jerk reaction was to correct her and note that this wasn’t precisely true, but then I thought about it a little. In my capacity as a librarian with a specialty in children’s books, I have tracked obituaries of children’s book creators for a couple of years now. For example, in 2019, I noted the passing of 12 authors and illustrators. In 2020, there were 20. And in 2021? Twenty-eight. And big household names, too!  The fact of the matter is that we are beginning to see the passing of the torch. Children’s books are incredible for many reasons, but one of the lesser appreciated facts is that they provide steady employment and enjoyment to people well past retirement age. Of the people who died in 2021, several have books coming out this and next year that were still in the works. And while there were a couple early deaths, the vast majority of people moving on were of the Baby Boom generation. Taking that into account, it may well be that these high numbers of famous creators passing will take place for a number of years now. And yet, I hope we remember to take the time to celebrate each and every last one of these lives.

DOI:  https://doi.org/10.33600/IRCJ.50.2.2022.3

Page Numbers:   3-6

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