Diane Wolkstein was born on Nov. 11, 1942, in Newark, and grew up in Maplewood, N.J. She died Thursday, January 31, 2013 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She was 70 years old. She was in Taiwan to research a book of Chinese folk stories. She had lived for many years in New York City and in 1967 she sparked a storytelling revival that began with her working five years as the city’s lone full-time storyteller. This helped set off a national wave of interest in the ancient art of storytelling.
Her radio show, “Stories from Many Lands,” was broadcast on WNYC from 1968 until 1980. She helped create the Storytelling Center of New York City, which trains thousands of volunteers and sends them into the city’s public schools and libraries.
In 1972, Ms. Wolkstein published the first of her two dozen books. Most were collections of folk tales, legends and creation stories gathered during research trips. She visited China, Africa and Haiti many times. In 1983, she collaborated with Samuel Noah Kramer, an Assyrian scholar, in writing Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, a retelling of the 4,000-year-old story of the Sumerian goddess of fertility, love and war.
Ms. Wolkstein was an amalgam: folk historian, ethnographer, teacher, street performer and feminist scholar. Several of her works, notably “Inanna,” sought to reclaim forgotten myths about female deities. Others reintroduced heroic women from ancient texts, as did her 1996 book, Esther's Story, an imagined account of the inner life of the biblical heroine.
The best stories, she told an interviewer in 1992, revealed themselves to an audience in a kind of natural stereo: “Kids get it on one level, middle-aged people on another, and senior citizens have another,” she said. “I let the ingredients do their own mixing.”
My favorite book by Diane Wolkstein!
White Wave: A Chinese Tale, 1979, by Diane Wolkstein, with illustrations by Ed Young
One evening a lonely chinese farmer finds a snail shell gleaming in the moonlight. The shell transforms his life, for when he brings it home, he discovers it is the house of the beautiful moon goddess, White Wave. This is a wonderful tale, beautifully told, and with absolutely gorgeous, evocative illustrations.
When I was living in New York City in the 1980s, I was able to hear Diane's remarkable storytelling performances on several occasions and became acquainted with her through a mutual friend and folklorist.
E. L. Konigsburg
Elaine Lobl was born Feb. 10, 1930, in Manhattan. She died on April 19, 2013 in Falls Church, Virginia. Mrs. Konigsburg was the only author to ever win both the Newbery Medal and the Newbery Honor Award in the same year.
From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written and illustrated by E. L. Konigsburg
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth
Written and illustrated by E. L. Konigsburg
Fredrick L. McKissack
Fredrick Lemuel McKissack was born on Aug. 12, 1939, in Nashville. He died on April 28, 2013 in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. He was 73. He wrote with his wife, Patricia C. McKissack, and among their over 100 titles is “Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters,” which won the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 1995.
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
By Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack
Illustrated by John Thompson
2014 Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Patricia and Fredrick McKissack are the winners of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award is presented in even years to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, and who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.Patricia McKissack and her late husband Fredrick McKissack, both natives of Tennessee, began their writing and research partnership in the 1980’s.Their subject matter from family-based folklore to nonfiction titles, are scholarly researched and written with accurate, authentic text, creating a cultural transmission of history. Their immense range of topics are informative, readable and enjoyable, covering accounts from slavery days to biographical studies of noted men and women in African American history past and present
Bernard Waber was born on Sept. 27, 1921, in Philadelphia and died on May 16, 2013 at his home in Baldwin, N.Y. He was 91.
|Vineyard Gazette file photo by Mark Lovewell|
Carol Hatfield was born May 20, 1935 in Plainfield, NJ., and died June 6, 2013 in Martha's Vineyard Hospital. She lived in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.
By Carol Carrick
Pictures by her husband, Donald Carrick
Holly Louise Meade was born Sept. 14, 1956, in Winchester, Mass. She passed away Friday, June 28, 2013. She was only 56. Holly lived in Sedgwick, Maine, where she worked as an artist and children's book illustrator. In 1978, Holly completed a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. She received the Caldecott Honor Award for Hush! A Thai Lullaby.
Hush! A Thai Lullaby
By Minfong Ho
Pictures by Holly Meade
These illustrations were created
with cut paper collage and ink
Barbara Jean Webb was born on October 24, 1927, in Portsmouth, Ohio. She was an only child. Her father, Theodore, died when she was 3. She earned a bachelor’s degree in theater at Allegheny College. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” is an expanded version of a story she wrote for McCall’s Magazine in 1971. She died July 9, 2013 at her home in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
By Barbara Robinson
Pictures by Judith Gwyn Brown
Marc Simont was born in Paris to Catalan parents on November 23, 1915. He died on July 13, 2013 at his home in Cornwall, Conn.
He was 97. Mr. Simont received the Caldecott Medal in 1957 for
“A Tree Is Nice,” written by Janice May Udry. He received the Caldecott Honor Award for both "The Happy Day” by Ruth Krauss (1949) and “The Stray Dog,” based on a story by Reiko Sassa, published in 2001.
Lloyd Moss was a classical music radio announcer for WQXR and retired in 2006. In the 1990s, Moss began writing books for children, starting with Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, an introduction to the instruments of a chamber orchestra (1995, Simon & Schuster), and followed by Our Marching Band and Music Is. He spent his childhood in Brooklyn, New York and began announcing for the Armed Forces Radio in Seoul, Korea in the 1940s. He died at his home in Croton-on-Hudson on August 3, 2013.
Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin
by Lloyd Moss
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Ann Jonas, author and illustrator, died in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on September 29, 2013 at the age of 81. Born in Flushing, Jonas attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, where she met her future husband, Donald Crews.
In the late 1970s, Crews began writing and illustrating children’s books and convinced Ann to follow suit several years later. She published her first picture book, When You Were a Baby, in 1982. Her books include Round Trip (1983), an ALA Notable Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, Aardvarks, Disembark! (1990), and Bird Talk (1999).
“I’ve been trying to explore other ways of stretching children’s imaginations,” said Jonas of her work. “I find myself drawn more and more often to designing books that involve some sort of visual play. It seems like a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to look at familiar things in different ways while offering the appeal of a game or a puzzle. If I can also deal, even only lightly, with some of a child’s deeper concerns, then I feel that I’ve served him or her as well as I can.”
by Ann Jonas
Barbara Lynne Tidswell was born on April 21, 1947, in Mount Holly Township, N.J. She died Friday, November 15, 2013 at her home in Scottsdale, AZ. She was only 66.
Barbara Park's children’s books starring Junie B. Jones, a 6-year-old dispenser of abundant opinions, Runyonesque wisecracks and dubious syntax, have sold tens of millions of copies and delighted all but the most grammatically puritanical grown-ups.
Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff)
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 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.