Pierre Marchand, who for many was Europe's most creative children's book publisher, died in Paris on April 4 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 62. Recruited by Gallimard to move that prestigious house into children's books, he had soon changed both the style and content of French and then European nonfiction for school-age readers, working on parallel lines (and then hand-in-hand) with Dorling Kindersley's Peter Kindersley. His best-known creation, the illustrated softcover series called Discoveries (for the age bracket "12 to 80," as he liked to put it) was translated into 19 languages and even made it to America via Harry Abrams (which now has more than one million copies in print).
After running Gallimard's children's and YA list for 26 years, Marchand moved to Hachette in 1999, bringing together Hachette's practical, travel and children's books with similar lines within the recently acquired British Orion group, in a new company called Hachette Illustrated. Despite his defection, he was to have been the guest of honor at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Gallimard Jeunesse on the opening evening of the Bologna Children's Book Fair. The fête was cancelled.