Beloved Children's Author Makes a Dying Wish We're Happy to Honor

anna dewdney llama llama Plenty of children (and their parents) have enjoyed this adorable book series, so it's with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Llama Llama creator Anna Dewdney. The writer and illustrator passed away at the age of 50, following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. While it's hard not to love the heartwarming series, it's the author's extraordinary final wish that has truly moved us. 




Dewdney, who was born on Christmas and who supported herself as a waitress, school bus driver, daycare provider, and rural mail carrier before becoming a New York Times bestselling author, asked that in lieu of a funeral service, people read to a child, according to her obituary. 

What a beautiful request and what a lovely way for us to honor the memory of a woman who devoted her life to this calling. Her wish is one that shouldn't surprise anyone given that the author's beloved collection was filled with kindness and insight, rendering the books instant classics. 

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Dewdney's writing and colorful illustrations were a gift to readers of all ages, who laughed along with her lovable characters as they tackled issues most kids encounter, including separation anxiety, bedtime fears, and even reluctance when it comes to sharing. 

The author and mom of two daughters shared her thoughts on the importance of reading to children in the Wall Street Journal. The author wrote that in reading books with kids, we're giving them so much more than simply a love of stories.

"We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: we are teaching that child to be human," she wrote.

She continued:

When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else's eyes. I will go further and say that that child then learns to feel the world more deeply, becoming more aware of himself and others in a way that he simply cannot experience except in our laps, or in our classrooms, or in our reading circles.

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So true. We will miss her wisdom and advocacy as much as her vivid imagination. Fortunately, Dewdney's latest book, Little Excavator, is scheduled for publication for June 2017, offering a small measure of consolation for young readers and their parents.

In the spirit of all the author held dear, let's honor her wish and read to a child today. 


Images via Penguin/

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