Diane Wolkstein, Legendary Storyteller

We are shocked and saddened to report the passing of legendary storyteller and author of 23 books of folklore, Diane Wolkstein, last Thursday, Jan. 31.  To children’s book people, storytellers and librarians she brought weight and honor to the art, lightness and joy to the telling. She will be missed. For over 40 years, she introduced children to the joys of folklore by telling Stories at the Statue of Hans Christian Anderson.

In a message, her daughter, Rachel Zucker stated:

It is with profound sadness that I tell you that my mother, Diane Wolkstein, passed away very early this morning in Taiwan. She had had emergency heart surgery but the procedure was not sufficient to allow her heart to work on its own. She was not conscious and she was not alone. She had several of her close friends from Taiwan there with her and at the very end she had a rabbi say kaddish and Buddhist prayers were said as well. Her death is a terrible shock. Her life overflowed with joy, intensity, friendship, love and spirit. Her love for each of us and the stories she told live inside of us forever.

A public memorial service will be held this Sunday, February 3rd, at 3PM at the New York Insight Meditation Center, located at 28 West 27th Street, 10th floor (b/w 5th and 6th Avenue). A second memorial, celebrating Diane’s life, is planned for the summer/fall.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people consider making a donation in Diane’s name to Partners in Health, or Tzu Chi Foundation. Videos of Wolkstein are on Vimeo.

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