Allison's Book Bag

Young People’s Authors We Lost in 2016

Posted on: January 5, 2017

Now an annual tradition here at Allison’s Book Bag, what follows is my tribute to those authors for young people whose died this last year. I had the privilege of meeting Anna Dewdney at a book festival and buying a signed copy of a book by Lois Duncan. A few of the authors I hadn’t heard of before but am now interested in reading their books. The literary world will not be the same.

After the photo collage, you’ll find a list of the featured authors. If the author had a website, I added the link to the author’s name. Besides the name is a description of the works that made the author famous. On the next line, I added a photo credit. If I’ve reviewed any books by the author, I added a note in the third paragraph, along with any relevant links.


Richard Adams, an anonymous civil servant in London until his 50’s, is most known for Watership Down. He was encouraged by his two daughters to turn the rabbit stories he told them into a book. Watership Down is set in the Berkshire Downs, a landscape of grassy hills, farm fields, streams and woodlands, where Adams grew up.
Photo Credit: NY Times, Richard Adams, Whose Novel ‘Watership Down’ Became a Phenomenon, Dies at 96.
You can read my review of one of his books here: Watership Down

Natalie Babbitt, author of over 20 books, won the a Newbery Honor in 1971 and the E. B. White Award for achievement in children’s literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2013. She is most famous for Tuck Everlasting. The book sold four million copies in the United States, has been translated into 27 languages, and was adapted twice for film and once as a musical Broadway production.
Photo Credit: NY Times, Natalie Babbitt, Author of Tuck Everlasting, Dies at 84.

Anna Dewdney, writer and illustrator behind the popular “Llama Llama” series. Almost 10 million books in the “Llama Llama” series are in print and “Llama Llama Red Pajama,” was chosen as Jumpstart’s Read for the Record book in 2011, setting the world record for most readings of a particular book on one day. Dewdney was an outspoken advocate of children’s literacy. Her publisher said that in lieu of a funeral service, she had asked that people read a book to a child.
You can read my review of one of her books here: Lhama Lhama Mad at Mama

Lois Duncan, a profilic author of over 50 books, is most known for her young adult suspense novels. One of her best-known titles, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” was adapted for a movie. Her children’s book “Hotel for Dogs” also became a movie.
Photo Credit:, Notable Deaths Lois Duncan.

Louise Rennison, a British comedian and author, earned a robust fan base for her humorous series Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, a fictional diary of a teenage girl. The series records the exploits of a teenage girl, Georgia Nicolson, and her best friends, the Ace Gang. Her first and second novels, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers were portrayed in a film adaptation.
Photo Credit: Publisher’s Weekly, Obituary Louise Rennison.

Jan Slepian wrote several books that addressed disabilities. Her brother Alfred was developmentally disabled, and after a childhood fever he suffered seizures the rest of his life. He inspired the title character in one of Slepian’s most known works, The Alfred Summer. Some school boards took issue wouldn’t let their pupils read Mrs. Slepian’s book, even though it was a National Book Awards finalist in 1981 and an honored book for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards.
Photo Credit: Publisher’s Weekly, Jan Slepian Author of Children’s Books Who to Turned Essays and Poetry Dies/

Brian Wildsmith brought his love for animals, the natural world, and the landscape into his books. His book titled Birds received a 1967 Greenaway Medal commendation as well as being named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Other of his well-loved works include A Christmas Story, a retelling of the Nativity from a child’s eye-view, and Cat on the Mat, featuring a tabby cat who has a meltdown when a string of animal encroachers temporarily take over his favorite red rug.
Photo Credit: Publisher’s Weekly, Obituary Brian Wildsmith.

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