“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
— Neil Gaiman
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The world lost a great children’s storyteller today. Jan Berenstain, the second half of the great children’s series The Berenstain Bears, passed away today at the age of 88 — which is just six years shy of her late husband Stan’s death in 2005.
Stan and Jan met at art school, both 18 years old, and married five years later. Their first book in The Berenstain Bears collection was called The Big Honey Hunt and was published in 1962. Together, the couple wrote hundreds of Berenstain Bears books — and Jan continued to write and illustrate her books, along with her son Mike, until her death.
The outpour of sympathy for the Berenstain family has come from all around the world, and for good reason. The Berenstain Bears books have touched the hearts of children and parents alike, and everyone in between (including myself). This series was my all-time favourite children’s collection, and have many memorable and happy times reading the stories with my family members. In fact, my Naniji (grandma) bought me my first Berenstain Bears book.
According to The Huffington Post, Stan and Jan’s sons, Mike and Leo, will continue with the family business. I look forward to seeing what Mike’s drawings and imagination produces.
Jan Berenstain will be missed always, and I’m so glad she and her husband decided to start their beloved series 50 years ago. Without The Berenstain Bears, many children would not have the ideals and values they do today.
Rest in peace Jan Berenstain.
David Kracov is the artist who created this work of art. He’s extremely talented at working with metals and I know I’m not the only one in awe of his sculpture. Thank you Margy for sending this to me!