Anna Dewdney died recently at the age of 50. You may not recognize her name, but are sure to know the author through her expressive character Baby Llama from the Llama Llama book series.
Even after brain cancer took her life, the children's author and illustrator managed to give one last gift to the little ones who love her books. Her final wish was not for people to send flowers or donate money in her memory, but it was for moms and dads, and really anyone who knows a child, to honor her by reading a book.
"In lieu of a funneral service... people read to a child instead"
In her obituary, the second to last sentence simply reads, "She requested in lieu of a funeral service that people read to a child instead."
President of Penguin Young Readers Jen Loja said, “The entire Penguin Young Readers family is heartbroken. And as we grieve, we also celebrate Anna’s life, in dedicating ourselves to carrying forward her mission of putting books into as many little hands as possible. We will miss her so, but consider ourselves so lucky to be her publishing family and her partner in her legacy."
It was in 2005 that Dewdney wrote and illustrated her most famous book, Llama Llama Red Pajama, which went on to become a series of Llama Llama books. The journey of Baby Llama is not over, as Netflix is releasing an animated version of the series in 2017. A new book by Dewdney, Little Excavator, will be released posthumously next June.