I know we are still reeling from the loss of Maurice Sendak, but now we have to report the sad news that another children’s book icon, Jean Craighead George has died (as reported on Twitter last night by her agent, via Publishers Lunch).
JeanGeorge was THE author for reluctant readers. She invented the adventure/survival genre for middle grade readers with My Side of the Mountain, (Penguin/Dutton). There would be no Gary Paulson if there hadn’t been Jean George.
I remember first meeting her at an ABA (now Book Expo America) years ago. I waited in line to talk to her and couldn’t believe she was real.
I told her, “I have a twin brother who only read one book through grade school and middle school, My Side of the Mountain. Every year the only book report he turned in was for that one book.”
“Did he run away? ” she asked with interest.
“Oh yes, he ran away to live off the land in Florida, he got caught and sent home two days later.”
“I get in a lot of trouble for that” she said.