Click through to see our tributes to some of the talented and inspiring children's book authors and illustrators who have died this year—all of whom leave behind rich legacies.


Ashley Bryan

Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, fine artist, and educator Ashley Bryan, widely known for his passion for poetry and vibrant retellings of folktales and spirituals rooted in the Black oral tradition, died peacefully on February 4 while staying with relatives in Texas. He was 98.


Huntley Fitzpatrick

Young adult author Huntley Fitzpatrick, known for her realistic contemporary teen romances, died on April 8 following a long illness. She was 58.


Lani Forbes

Rising YA sci-fi and fantasy author Lani Forbes died on February 3 in Boise, Idaho, following a nine-month battle with neuroendocrine cancer. She was 35.


Shirley Hughes

Award-winning British author-illustrator Shirley Hughes, best known for her picture books capturing the everyday experiences and emotions of young children in her realistic watercolors, died on February 25 at her home in London. She was 94.


Steve Jenkins

Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Steve Jenkins, widely praised for his distinctive and detailed cut- and torn-paper collages depicting animals and the natural world, died on December 26 at age 69, of a splenic artery aneurysm.


Leonard Kessler

Prolific children’s book illustrator and painter Leonard Kessler, known for his wide range of early readers, picture books, and concept books, died on February 16 at his home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 101.


Patricia MacLachlan

Award-winning children’s book author Patricia MacLachlan, widely lauded for her spare, realistic stories about everyday family life, died on March 31 at her home in Williamsburg, Mass. She was 84.


Jim Murphy

Award-winning children’s book author Jim Murphy, best known for his carefully researched nonfiction documenting dramatic events in history through the experiences of young people of the time, died suddenly on May 1 at his home in Woodstock, N.Y. He was 74.