Beloved author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has died at the age of 51. She leaves behind two sons, a daughter, a husband, and many beautiful books for children and adults.
In a last flash of brilliance, Amy wrote a Modern Love article for the New York Times that went viral: You May Want to Marry My Husband. I'm among the millions of people who wept over this evidence of a happy marriage cut short, but I was already a big fan of Amy's. I discovered many of her children's books when I was in library school searching for perfect read-alouds for kids.
Here are some of my favorite books of hers:
I always share this book at least once a year at Family Story Time, usually on election day so kids can vote (for which animal they see). Which do you see? A duck or a rabbit? A great lesson in perspective and super fun to boot.
A book about four friendly shapes that easily comes alive by grabbing some paper and cutting out corresponding shapes for kids to play with. The shapes can make a face. They can make a house! And they can spell out the word L-O-V-E.
A pig who wants to be neat and tidy? An owl who wants to go to bed early? Subverting expectations makes preschoolers laugh and also shows them that it's okay to be yourself, even if it's not what people expect.
As a children's librarian, I don't read a lot of grown-up books, but this one jumped out at me because it's so unusual: a reference book about the author herself. Quirky and fun, it's a delightful ode to the details that make us ourselves. I often think of this funny little line from the book:
I read this picture book just after hearing the news that Amy had been diagnosed with incurable ovarian cancer. It's the kind of book you read to your children again and again to remind them that you're always going to be there for them. It takes on a special poignancy when you realize Amy probably wrote it after her diagnosis.