Archive for the ‘Deaths’ Category

Barbara Robinson Dies

Monday, July 15th, 2013

EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, writes in response to the news of the death last week of children’s book author Barbara Robinson:

The Best Christmas Pagent EverBarbara Robinson died. Here’s the thing — if I share what she meant to me, its definitely too much information. But if I don’t then how will you know so… here it goes. We were the Herdmans (featured in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, HarperCollins, 1972 and other titles). The kids who were running wild, the kids who were not “maybe going to get in trouble,” we were trouble. So when I say to another children’s book person, we were the Herdmans, I don’t have to get into the “we were raised by wolves” thing. They get it and I don’t have to say another word. Barbara Robinson did that for me. Thank you just doesn’t say enough but thank you.

The story was covered by several sources, including School Library Journal and The New York Times.

Vince Flynn Dies

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The last manAuthor of the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thrillers, Vince Flynn, died yesterday of prostate cancer. He was 47.

Flynn’s best selling books were particularly popular with conservatives (George Bush was a fan and Rush Limbaugh a close friend). In an interview with USA Today in 2012, Flynn said that was probably because of the ” the pro-military, CIA and law enforcement theme of the books … And the idea that the United States is not the problem.””

Flynn’s next novel, The Survivor was originally scheduled to be released in October. USA Today reports that the  publisher, S&S/Atria, does not yet have information on how much of the book was completed.

His most recent book, The Last Man, was published last November.

Remembering E.L. Konigsburg

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Last night during dinner with one of my oldest friends, I asked if she’d heard that E.L. Konigsburg had died, she said, “Oh no! You don’t know what she meant to me.”

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth...And I didn’t. I only know what she meant to me. My friend, who isn’t a librarian and hasn’t been to the kids’ section of the library since her son was little, vividly recalled reading Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (S&S/Atheneum) in elementary school. She and her friends were so entranced by the book that they became witches, making up spells and wreaking havoc.

From the Mixed UpI was only half listening as I recalled my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in my early twenties. I walked from the grand stairs to the entrance. As I sat, enchanted by the fountains, I realized I was following the footsteps of the famous run-away Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (S&S/Atheneum).

One of the delights of being a school librarian is rereading Konigburg’s titles. A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (S&S/Atheneum) was required reading in our 5th grade for a very long time.

I have a brother who is sight impaired. When it became obvious that he wouldn’t be able to read again using his eyes, I started shipping him audio books I had reviewed. At a family gathering he took me aside and said he never was much of a reader and wasn’t interested in these kids books, so please  stop sending them. “Sure,” I said. “Sorry.”

Then I reviewed the audio of The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place (RH Audio)It was fabulous. Five stars! Not thinking, I popped it in a jiffy pack off to the brother.

About a week later, a phone call. “Hey, Lisa, you know that audio book you sent me?”

I sputtered, “Oh, I am sorry, I wasn’t thinking … I just loved it so much …  I won’t send anymore.”

“No, no,” he interrupted, ” it was great! Send me more just like that.”

And I would, I thought at the time, except, there are no more just like that. And now there won’t ever be.

Peter Workman Dies

Monday, April 8th, 2013

peter-workman-2-100._V221476672_We are saddened to hear the news that Peter Workman died yesterday. He was the founder and CEO of Workman Publishing, a successful company built on unique, often quirky titles. In addition, he was a vital part of several charities, including the Goddard-Riverside Community Center, an organization that works for social and economic change for the poor in West Harlem and the Upper West side, Prep for Prep, which works with New York City’s students of color to give them better educational opportunities and the UJA.

Peter was known for being very hands-on and as a result, a Workman title is always recognizable. The companies that Workman acquired over the years are also unique and have retained their own identities; Algonquin, Black Dog & Leventhal, Highbridge Audio, Storey Publishing and Timber Press.

In the midst of corporate consolidation in publishing, Workman has remained steadfastly independent. The company will continue to be run by Peter’s wife and business partner, Carolan Workman, their daughter Katie Workman and a small management team of people from within the company.

Roger Ebert Dies

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Life ItselfFilm critic and author of several books, Roger Ebert, died yesterday at 70. The Chicago Tribune, where he worked for over 45 years, declares “in words and in life he displayed the soul of a poet whose passions and interests extended far beyond the darkened theaters where he spent so much of his professional life.”

He showed the range of his passion for the movies in over a dozen books from A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies That Suck (Andrews McMeel) to appreciations of The Great Movies, Volume One and Volume Two (RH/Broadway).

He also wrote a book about one of his favorite cities, The Perfect London Walk (Andrews McMeel, 1986)  and even a cookbook, The Pot and How to Use ItThe Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, (Andrews McMeel, 2010).

In 2011, after treatments for thyroid cancer robbed him of his ability to speak, he published a memoir, Life Itself, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio). In the New York Timesfellow critic Janet Maslin, called it, “candid, funny and kaleidoscopic … the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written.”

UPDATE: The producers of a film based on Life Itself have announced that they will finish it. Martin Scorsese is one of the executive producers. Ebert was participating in the documentary. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Chinua Achebe Dies

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Things Fall ApartThe author of Things Fall Apart has died. The story is reported by many news sources, including:
The New York TimesChinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82

The GuardianChinua Achebe  dies, aged 82

The Associated Press — Author Chinua Achebe dies at 82

Author of AMERICAN SNIPER Killed

Monday, February 4th, 2013

9780062082350Chris Kyle, whose autobiography, American Sniper  (HarperCollins/Morrow) was a #1 NYT best seller last year, was killed at a Texas gun range over the weekend, according to news reports. Kyle, who was 38 years old, claimed that as a sniper for the military, he had killed over 150 people.

Kyle founded an organization to help veterans with PTSD; his suspected killer is a former Marine. He had also recently come out against President Obama’s gun control initiatives.

The mass market pbk of his book just released and is currently #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Many other titles on the SEALS are also rising, including No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Penguin/Durron), Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (Hachette/Little,Brown) and Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
by Eric Blehm (RH/Waterbrook).

Diane Wolkstein, Legendary Storyteller

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

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.

Maeve Binchy Dies

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Binchy launched her career as a novelist with LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE in 1982

Popular Irish novelist Maeve Binchy has died in Dublin after a brief illness. She was 72.

The Telegraph calls Binchy “Ireland’s national treasure,” noting, “She was always delightfully self-deprecating, saying once: ‘I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold great writers. But I’m not insane – I do realise that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation.’ ”

The Irish Times, where she once worked as a journalist, writes about her love of Ireland and quotes her saying,  “the fax was invented so we writers could live anywhere we liked, instead of living in London near publishers.”

Her most recent book, Minding Frankie (RH/Knopf), was published last year.

Nora Ephron Dies

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Tributes to author, filmmaker, and keen social commentator Nora Ephron are all over the media today. She died yesterday of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia, according to the Washington Post.

For many women who began their careers in the 70′s, she was the more sophisticated, successful, yet endearingly fallible older sister we wanted to emulate.

Ephron ended her final collection of essays, I Remember Nothing (RH/Knopf, 2010), with a list of the things she will and will not miss, which now takes on extra poignancy.

Many of her books are rising on Amazon:

#79  I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections (RH/Knopf, 2010; RH Large Print; RH Audio, read by Ephron) — her final collection of essays.

#90 I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (RH/Knopf, 2006; RH Large Print) — essays

#206 Heartburn (RH/Knopf, 1983) – a novel based on the ending of her marriage to Carl Bernstein, which was made into the 1986 movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, directed by Mike Nichols with screenplay by Ephron

#583 Wallflower at the Orgy (Penguin/Viking, 1970; RH/Bantam Pbk) — an early collection of essays

Scribble Scribble: Notes on the Media, (RH/Knopf, 1978, OP)

Crazy Salad, (RH/Knopf, 1975, OP) — essays

Imaginary Friends: A Play with Music(RH/Vintage, 2002) —  the script for the Broadway play, with introduction by Ephron

When Harry Met Sally, (RH/Knopf, 1983) – the complete screenplay

Ray Bradbury Tributes

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Thousands of tributes are pouring in for Ray Bradbury, who died Tuesday night in Los Angeles at 91.

We particularly like the following:

A man who won’t forget Ray Bradbury,The Guardian (by Neil Gaiman)

Dreams of Ray Bradbury: 10 predictions that came true,The Washington Post

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 And The E-book Era,” Forbes (because it quotes a librarian)

 

Peter D. Sieruta Dies

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Is it possible to be so sad about the death of someone that you didn’t really know? Do we know someone through their writings? Their blogging?

Peter D. Sieruta has died. He was a kindred spirit. Even though I am not a book collector, I read his blog, Collecting Children’s Books. I didn’t read it for information about rare first editions or the probable market value of a volume. It was because I have had many an “Aha! moment” as I read with pleasure and reminiscenced  about books that I  loved.

Blogs like Fuse #8 and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have commented on Peter’s wicked sense of humor. I particilarly appreciated his “inside baseball” children’s lit April Fools posting that claimed Neil Gaiman was under consideration to be stripped of his Newbery Prize. His Hornbook parody of Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (Harper, 2000) is flawless.

How sadly appropriate that his final posts were about Maurice Sendak.

 

Jean Craighead George Dies at 92

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

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.

The full list of her many books is here.

Remembering Maurice Sendak

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Perhaps the best of all the tributes flowing in for beloved author Maurice Sendak, who died at 83 on Tuesday, is the fact that his books instantly soared up Amazon’s best seller list, with Where the Wild Things Are moving up to #14.

Sendak’s irreverent wit was on full display in an appearance on the Stephen Colbert Report in late February. During the interview, Colbert threatened to “cash in” on the children’s book game, writing one of his own. In an amazing piece of timing, the resulting book, I Am A Pole (And So Can You!), arrived on shelves the very day Sendak died, bearing the blurb, “The Sad Thing is, I Like It, Maurice Sendak.”

Colbert, who clearly developed a rapport with Sendak, ran a previously unaired portion of the interview on Tuesday’s show (see the original interview here).

Maurice Sendak Dies

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Beloved children’s author, Maurice Sendak, died today at 83.

In tribute, NPR’s web site is rerunning an interview from Fresh Air (audio to be available at 5 p.m. ET today).

His iconoclastic humor was on full display in a recent appearance on the Stephen Colbert Report:

Part One:

Part Two (in which Sendak calls Colbert an “idiot” — watch to the end to find out what he thinks of eBooks):