In Memory: Karen Blumenthal

Review by Elizabeth Rusch of Jane Against The World (Roaring Brook, 2020) from The New York Times.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Our deepest sympathies to the friends, family, colleagues and readers of fellow Texas author Karen Blumenthal.

From Karen’s website bio:

“As a long-time journalist, Karen writes nonfiction for young people with the belief that nonfiction brings context to a complicated world.

“She is particularly fascinated by social change, how it happens and why.”


Former WSJ Bureau Chief and Columnist Karen Blumenthal Dies at 61 from The Wall Street Journal. Peek: “…spent 25 years as an editor, bureau chief and columnist at The Wall Street Journal, died Monday in Dallas following a heart attack. She was 61.”Karen Blumenthal, Author and Former Dallas Morning News Business Editor, Dies by  and  for The Dallas Morning News. Peek: “The journalist and book author excelled in tackling complicated topics for teens and was an advocate for Dallas’ libraries.”

Journalist, Author, Lake Highlands Neighbor Karen Blumenthal dies at 61 by  from The Advocate. Peek: “She graduated from Duke University with her bachelor’s and Southern Methodist University with her MBA. Her impressive and lengthy career included business editor for the Dallas Morning News, editor and reporter for the Wall Street Journal, business columnist at Texas Monthly magazine and adjunct professor at Texas Christian University.”

Author, Journalist and Former Chronicle Leader Karen Blumenthal Remembered for Passion, Warmth by Bre Bradham from The Chronicle at Duke University. Peek: “With The Wall Street Journal…as Dallas bureau chief for eight years…she edited a story on the 9/11 terrorist attacks that was part of the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage.”

Obituary: Karen Blumenthal by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “When her own daughters became readers, Blumenthal said she grew frustrated with the nonfiction titles available to them. Her desire to change the situation spurred her to try writing for young people. The result was her first published book, Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 (Atheneum, 2002), a title that enabled her to use her business expertise in a different way.”

In Karen’s Own Words

Karen Blumenthal (1959–2020) from The Horn Book. Note: Features links to recent author interviews.

Atheneum, 2005

Reclaiming Women’s History⁠—Still: Conversation with Karen Blumenthal, hosted by Grace Lin from kidlitwomen* (Feb. 13, 2019). Peek:

“I adore football as much as anybody, I really do, but it’s unrealistic to say that giving a woman a chance to play volleyball or…means that that’s killed men’s gymnastics. That’s really not what’s happened. It’s just much easier to blame women than it is to blame a football team.”

Reflections & Memories

Remembering Karen Blumenthal: Great Friend, Great Author, Great Appreciator of Good Dogs from Chris Barton. Peek: “Karen and I would have been on a panel together at the Texas Library Association conference this past March, and I would have wanted to be able to talk knowledgeably with her about Jane Against the World. When the conference — and everything else for months at a stretch — was cancelled, I thought I’d have all the time in the world to get around to reading her book and discussing it with her.”

Author Karen Harrington tweeted: “Shocked and saddened by the unfathomable loss of my vibrant friend, Karen Blumenthal…award-winning children’s author and journalist. How fortunate we were to live in a world with your unique talents and gifts. Words can’t describe how much you will be missed.”

Author Melanie Sumrow tweeted: “Yesterday, I lost a dear friend & the writing community lost one of its greats. Karen Blumenthal…was not only an award-winning author, but a beloved wife, cherished mom, advocate for libraries and for social justice, and mentor to many. Rest in Peace, my friend.”

Macmillan Children’s School & Library tweeted: “We were devastated to hear of Karen Blumenthal’s passing yesterday. She was a wonderful author & a lovely person—it was a true joy to work with her. We will miss her greatly. She will live on + touch the lives of so many readers through her words.”

Dallas Public Library tweeted: “Dallas Public Library has lost a passionate advocate and more importantly, a dear friend. Karen Blumenthal was a warm soul, a talented author, and a familiar face in many DPL spaces. She was taken far too soon and we will miss her greatly.”

From Karen’s website bio: “In elementary school, I was a nerdy, obnoxious kid with thick glasses. My favorite book was Harriet the Spy [by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)]. I’m pretty sure that her outsider’s view and her secret note-taking planted some seed that led me to journalism.”

Cynsational Notes

The Duke (University) Chronicle tweeted that it welcomes letters to the editor in memory of Karen Blumenthal. Submissions should be sent to by Tuesday, May 26