tribute

Judith Kerr

Another sad week, but another life well lived – maybe even better lived than Doris Day‘s.  Her life story – her flight from Nazi Germany as a child, coming to writing for children when she was at home as a full-time mum, still producing new books right up into her 90s, when she could also be spotted out and about in Barnes – is one that will inspire you as much as her books did when you were a child.

There have been so many lovely stories and the obits all pay testament to a wonderful woman with an amazing gift.  There’s not much I can really add.  Except that I wanted to mark her passing somehow.  I was out for lunch with a friend last week and we went into a bookshop on our walk.  She’s got a new baby so we were looking at the children’s books.  I ended up buying Mog the Forgetful Cat for her, because every child should have a copy of Mog. I should add that I think her little girl (six months old) already had a copy of The Tiger Who Came To Tea.  Which is exactly as it should be and a total testament to the power of Kerr’s books.

Lots of people on Twitter yesterday were quoting from – or posting pictures from – Goodbye Mog, which is probably the saddest picture book I’ve ever read.  I ended up teary eyed in the office and on the train.  Kerr had such a way with words and pictures.  I hope she knew how much her books meant to everyone. All the stories of her at her publisher’s summer parties – in a lovely frock, with a drink in hand – being mobbed by authors who’d read and loved her books as a child make me think that she might have had an inkling.  And I hope that I’m as fun and sprightly as she was at 95.

Here’s just a few of the articles that I read about her yesterday:  The BBC’s obituary, the Independent’s obituary The Guardian had an obituary but also collected some reader recollections.  I’ve also got her Desert Island Discs on my listen list as well as this essay from the TLS Writing with borrowed words still to read.

As I write this The Tiger Who Came To Tea and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit are best sellers in their categories on Amazon.co.uk.  And Tiger is 99p on Kindle, Pink Rabbit £2.99.  If you haven’t read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – her book for older children telling the story of her family’s escape from Nazi Germany – take this chance, you really should.

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