Author-illustrator and designer Rebecca Bond, who created 10 books for young readers, died on August 2 after a brief illness. She was 45.
Bond was raised in the small town of Peacham, Vt. Back in 1999, Bond told PW that she and her sister were often read to as children. “I have to credit my mother a lot, as this had a huge influence on me. All the things I do—writing, painting, playing the piano—are a result of it. I don’t know if I would have become a children’s book author and illustrator otherwise.”
Bond graduated from Brown University in 1995 with a degree in visual arts. During that time, she also took classes at the Rhode Island School of Design with author-illustrator David Macaulay and with art professor and agent Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges, who went on to become an important mentor. Following graduation, Bond worked at Studio Goodwin-Sturges in Boston, developing several ideas for picture books, while simultaneously pursuing work in social services and teaching. With help from Goodwin-Sturges, she presented her work to publishers, sparking the interest of Little, Brown editor Megan Tingley. Bond was named a PW Flying Start in 1999 for her debut picture book, Just Like a Baby (Little, Brown).
Bond went on to write and illustrate nine more books, including Escape from Baxters’ Barn (HMH, 2015) and Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), inspired by her grandfather’s childhood. She also collaborated with authors Jean Van Leeuwen, Suzanne Slade, and Christopher Pennell. In addition to creating books for young readers, Bond was a senior designer at HMH Books for Young Readers; she joined the company in 2008 and worked there until her death.
Ann Rider, executive editor at HMH Books for Young Readers, said, “Rebecca was a brilliant author and illustrator. She could not only draw and paint—graceful watercolors, joyful, kinetic pen-and-ink illustrations—but she could write. Her stories were full of warmth and wisdom and a keen understanding of children. She was also a talented designer, one who understood artists and had a deep respect for the careful marriage of art and text. She simply loved the world of books and at the launch of our publishing lists, I could always sense her raised antennae as she listened intently to each book being presented.” Rider remembered her colleague as “full of life and adventure and kindness. Rebecca made others around her feel the great possibilities in the world.”