Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Charlotte Zolotow Dies at Age 98

Charlotte Zolotow

Charlotte Gertrude Shapiro was born in Norfolk, Va., on June 26, 1915. She died on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at her home in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. She was 98.

Among Ms. Zolotow’s most famous titles are “Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present” (1962), the story of a girl’s search for a gift for her mother, with tender, quasi-Impressionist illustrations by a young Maurice Sendak; “My Grandson Lew” (1974), illustrated by William Pène du Bois, about a grandparent’s death; and “William’s Doll” (1972), illustrated by Mr. du Bois, about a boy who, despite his father’s embarrassed reluctance, realizes his wish to have a doll. That story was adapted as a song (with lyrics by Mary Rodgers and music by Sheldon Harnick), recorded in 1972 on the popular children’s album “Free to Be ... You and Me.”

As an editor, Ms. Zolotow worked for many years at Harper & Brothers, which became Harper & Row (now HarperCollins Publishers), where she presided over her own imprint, Charlotte Zolotow Books.
The celebrated writers on her roster included M. E. Kerr (author of the 1986 novel “Night Kites” and the 1983 autobiography “Me, Me, Me, Me, Me”); Karla Kuskin (“The Philharmonic Gets Dressed,” 1982); and Patricia MacLachlan, whose 1985 novella for Ms. Zolotow, “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” about a mail-order bride newly arrived on the American prairie, won a Newbery Medal, the country’s highest honor for children’s writing.

Marlo Thomas included a song version of the story "William's Doll" in her "Free to Be...You and Me" project:

Based on the New York Times obituary by Daniel E. Slotnik, contributed reporting. November 19, 2013

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