In Memory: Julius Lester

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Julius Lester died Jan. 18 while Cynsations was on winter hiatus.

Julius Lester, whose literature explored African American life, dies at 78 by Emily Langer from The Washington Post. Peek:

“He once wrote that ‘the need to know more about my individual past led me to begin studying slavery.’ …To Be a Slave (illustrated by Tom Feelings,

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In Memory: Sheila Barry

Photo courtesy of Heather Camlot; used with permission.

By Melanie Fishbane

On the 21st of November, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre held its annual Canadian Children’s Book Awards, an evening devoted to awarding the best in children’s literature. Among the always decadent dishes and clinking glasses, there was feeling that something was missing—or someone.

A little less than a week before, on the 15th of November,

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In Memory: Dianne de Las Casas

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Dianne de Las Casas died Aug. 21 while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

A ‘Magnetic Personality’: Author, Storyteller Killed in Harvey House Fire by Jonathan Bullington from The Times-Picayune. Peek: “An award-winning author, Casas published more than two dozen books. She founded Picture Book Month, celebrated in November and recognized by the American Association of School Librarians.”

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In Memory: Jan Andrews

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author and storyteller Jan Andrews died Sept. 2, while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Obituary Note: Jan Andrews from Shelf Awareness. Peek: “British-born storyteller and children’s author Jan Andrews, who immigrated to Canada in her 20s and ‘wrote books for children of all ages, often inspired by the people and landscape of her adopted home,’ died September 2, Quillblog reported.

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In Memory: Robin Smith

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Teacher and picture book expert Robin Smith died in June while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Robin Smith (1959-2017) from The Horn Book. Peek: “A second-grade teacher at Ensworth School in Nashville for the last twenty-four years, she was a longtime Horn Book contributor and reviewer and a founding co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog. She also reviewed for BookPage and Kirkus.”

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In Memory: Geoffrey Hayes

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author and illustrator Geoffrey Hayes died in June while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Obituary: Geoffrey Hayes by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “…Hayes, best known for the comics-style artwork and expressive animal characters in his many titles for emerging readers, died suddenly on June 2, of apparent natural causes, in Asheville, N.C. He was 69.”

His first book,

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In Memory: Rebecca Bond

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author-illustrator Rebecca Bond died in August while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Obituary: Rebecca Bond by Emily Kantor from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Rebecca Bond, who created 10 books for young readers, died on August 2 after a brief illness. She was 45.

“Bond was named a PW Flying Start in 1999 for her debut picture book,

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In Memory: Michael Bond

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Michael Bond died in June while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Obituary: Michael Bond by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Bond, widely known for his books starring the duffle-coat-donning Paddington bear, died at his home in London following a brief illness. He was 91.”

Veronica Horwell wrote in The Guardian of Paddington’s beginnings.

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In Memory: Jill McElmurry

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

 Author-illustrator Jill McElmurry died in August while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Obituary: Jill McElmurry by Jill Kantor from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator Jill McElmurry…died of breast cancer on August 3, at her home in Taos, N.M. She was 62 years old.

“…McElmurry illustrated more than 20 picture books, of which she also wrote four.

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In Memory: Josanne La Valley

Compiled by Gayleen Rabakukk

Josanne La Valley obituary from The New York Times.

Peek: “Josanne received degrees from St. Lawrence University, Smith College and Vermont College of Fine Arts. She worked in arts management and as a professional musician before she turned to writing.”

A few members of the children’s literature community shared their thoughts about Josanne.

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