Picture book author-illustrator Lynne Barasch, who created lively biographies as well as stories inspired by her family life, died on March 7. She was 84.

Barasch was born Lynne Marx on March 23, 1939, in New York City, grew up in Woodmere, Long Island, and was a lifelong New Yorker. She showed an affinity for both art and reading early in her childhood. “For as long as I can remember, drawing is what I did best,” she wrote on her website. “I was an enthusiastic and indiscriminate reader from the time I was very young.”

Barasch took art classes as a girl and continued to do so during her high school years on Saturdays at the Art Students League, she said in a 2007 interview for the Cynsations blog. She began her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1957 but left after her first year to marry ophthalmologist Kenneth Barasch, with whom she shared five children. Barasch resumed her formal art studies several years later and received her B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design in 1976.

After her children started school, Barasch began writing and illustrating stories in earnest. Though several early efforts remained unpublished, she broke through with Rodney’s Inside Story (Orchard, 1992), featuring a gray bunny whose mother reads him a story about a gray rabbit who lives inside a cabbage.

Barasch went on to create 10 picture books and she provided illustrations for two works by other authors. Among her notable titles are Knockin’ on Wood (Lee & Low, 2004), the story of one-legged tap dancer Peg Leg Bates; Hiromi’s Hands (Lee & Low, 2007), in which young Hiromi spends time with her sushi chef father by accompanying him to the fish market and learning about his career; Ask Albert Einstein (FSG, 2005), based on a 1952 New York Times article about the famous physicist; and First Come the Zebra (Lee & Low, 2009), inspired by Barasch’s trip to Kenya.

“Telling stories and making pictures gives me great joy,” Barasch wrote on her site. “When words and pictures work well together they form something new, something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Louise May, former v-p and editorial director at Lee & Low, worked closely with Barasch on several books and offered this remembrance: “Lynne Barash was an editor’s dream—a gifted author and illustrator of picture books and a master storyteller. Her brief texts captured the essence of a story with a minimum of words that told you everything you needed to know. Lynne happily mined her own experiences and those of her children for stories that were lively, informative, and inspiring. I loved her inquisitive spirit and the way our books came together effortlessly. For one of our projects together there were corrections needed to the final art. I offered to have the art delivered to her, but instead Lynne brought her paints and brushes to my office and sat right there making changes. I will always remember Lynne as a dear collaborator, and will think of her every time I pass a sushi restaurant.”