If you’ve ever been lucky enough to read the “Llama Llama” books (and if you have kids, you probably have), you know they’re something special. The books center around a little llama famous for his red pajamas and being mad at his mom. Sadly, the author who wrote the books has recently passed away. Yes, that’s right, original Mama Llama, Anna Dewdney, has passed away due to brain cancer.
Dewdney passed away at her home in Vermont on September 3 after a 15-month fight against brain cancer, according to Publisher’s Weekly. She was 50 years old and is survived by her partner Reed Duncan and two daughters.
Her popular book was first published in 2005, and its sweet poetic rhymes were immediately a hit (which gives poets like me hope): “Llama, Llama red pajama/waiting, waiting for his mama/Mama isn’t coming yet./Baby Llama starts to fret.”
In typical Dewdney fashion, she didn’t have a typical funeral service, and instead asked friends and family to read a book to a child instead–which makes sense for someone who has been described as an “outspoken advocate of literacy.”
Penguin Young Readers president Jen Loja made a statement about Dewdney’s death:
“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’re very sad her life was cut short–as she brought magic and learning to many families.