In 2016 the children’s book community lost several influential and beloved authors and editors. We provide a recap here, chronologically.

Skip Skwarek
Skip Skwarek, whose long tenure at Dial Books for Young Readers included roles as managing editor and associate publisher, died of pneumonia on January 15. He was 70. Skwarek’s career in publishing began in 1982 at Dial, where he eventually would become associate publisher. MORE

Louise Rennison
Rennison, a British comedian and author, earned a robust fan base for her humorous series Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, a fictional diary of a teenage girl. She wrote more than 20 books for teens that she culled from her own experiences as an adolescent and time spent getting to know modern teenagers. She died on February 29 at age 64. MORE

James Cross Giblin
A versatile publisher, author, and editor, James Cross Giblin began working at Criterion Books in 1957, before deciding to focus his career on children’s books. He went on to serve as associate editor at Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, then was named editor-and-chief at Seabury Press, where he created a children’s line that would become Clarion Books. Giblin’s own books include Chimney Sweeps Yesterday and Today, which won a 1983 National Book Award for children’s nonfiction; and The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, which won the 2003 Sibert Medal. He died on April 10 at the age of 82. MORE ►

Michael McCurdy
As a publisher and illustrator, McCurdy’s engravings and drawings were featured in more than 200 titles for children and adults. His books included Please Explain by Isaac Asimov, The Owl Scatterer by Howard Norman, and The Seasons Sewn: A Year in Patchwork by Ann Whitford Paul, and An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott. McCurdy died on May 28 at age 74. MORE ►

Lois Duncan
The prolific author of more than 50 books for young adults, Duncan’s books upped the stakes for teenagers, embroiling them in dangerous circumstances and challenging them to tackle moral dilemmas. Duncan’s work, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin, and The Stranger with My Face, helped to define the modern category of YA fiction. She died on June 15 at 82. MORE ►

Joyce Carol Thomas
A children’s book author, poet, and playwright who strived to broaden perspectives of African-American experiences in her writing, mainly wrote work for adults until the publication of her young adult novel Marked by Fire, which won the National Book Award for children’s fiction in 1983. Jackson also published the illustrated children’s poetry collections The Blacker the Berry and Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, both honored with Coretta Scott King Book Awards. MORE ►

Morton Schindel
The founder of the animated film studio Weston Woods died on August 20 at the age of 98. Schindel was inspired to create films based on children’s books following a visit to the children’s room at the New York Public Library. At Weston Woods, he created a filming technique that incorporates stationary images directly from the pages of the book, in keeping with his respect for the integrity of the source material. MORE ►

Brian Wildsmith
British children’s author and illustrator Brian Wildsmith died on August 31 in Grasse, France. He was 86. Wildsmith brought his love for animals, the natural world, and the landscape into his books, which included The Lion and the Rat, The Owl and the Woodpecker, and Cat on the Mat. MORE ►

Anna Dewdney
As the author and illustrator of the Llama Llama series of picture books, Dewdney was a household name. With humor and tenderness, Dewdney’s books explored the emotional states and learning experiences of a llama boy, providing a relatable model for preschool-age readers. Dewdney died at age 50 on September 3, following a 15-month struggle with brain cancer. MORE ►

Barbara Seuling
Seuling an author, illustrator, and editor, began her career working as a secretary at Dell Publishing. She published her first picture book, The Teeny, Tiny Woman: An Old English Ghost Story in 1976. Her later work included an early chapter books series and nonfiction titles for adults on writing for children. MORE ►

Natalie Babbitt
Babbitt, the author of the classic story Tuck Everlasting, died on October 31 at age 84. Babbitt’s novel, about a girl who discovers an spring that offers eternal life and ultimately focuses on death as an essential element of life, has seen many screen and stage adaptations, including a recent Broadway musical. In addition to Tuck Everlasting, Babbitt wrote several other novels, including The Search for Delicious, Kneeknock Rise, and The Eyes of the Amaryllis. She illustrated works as well, collaborating with author Valerie Worth. MORE ►

Jan Slepian
The author of work for both children and adults wrote several books that addressed disabilities, including The Alfred Summer, which featured a 14-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Slepian continued to experiment with writing genres and styles throughout her life, focusing in her later years on essays and poetry that reflected upon life as an elderly woman. She died on November 2 at age 95. MORE ►

Yumi Heo
Korean-born Yumi Heo moved to New York City in 1989. Heo developed a highly textural style of art, which she brought to more than 30 picture books and folk tales. Books she both wrote and illustrated included One Afternoon and Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story. She died on November 5 at age 52. MORE ►