It’s always a strange and complex feeling to feel the loss of someone you’ve never actually met, but that’s just what I feel right now, learning of today’s passing of author and mom of three, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is one woman who definitely left us way too soon.
F*ck cancer is right.
While a lot of you may have learned her name recently, as the author of the unforgettable You May Want to Marry My Husband Modern Love column in the NY Times, we’ve known her for years as a remarkable children’s author who has filled our kids’ bookshelves with the kinds of titles you never want to outgrow.
(And if you haven’t read that editorial yet, just stop whatever you’re doing right now, click over and read it. We’ll still be here when you’re done. Just know you may want to take the time to read it a second or third time, and maybe even share it with someone you love. The reader responses are pretty exquisite too.)
As spectacular as that piece is — and it is — I hope that she’s remembered for far more. Because over her too-short 51 years, she was simply prolific. I mean, when John Green cites you as a huge influence…yeah.
Amy’s writing was always witty, always thoughtful, and always yielded stories we love as much as our kids do. When she was silly, she was silly in all the right ways. When she was poignant, she did it without getting sappy.
She was everything you’d want a modern children’s author to be.
But she was far more than that. In her own words, she was “a person who liked to make things.”
I first discovered Amy in 2005 when my mother bought me the conceptually brilliant Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Which is, just that.
It was soon after I had started my personal blog, Mom-101, and I still remember my mom handing it to me and saying, “She used to be a copywriter, like you! This is what you could do! This reminds me of you!”
(Oh, I wish. But hey, that’s what moms are for.)
Order it now. I mean it.
From then, I was hooked on everything she wrote, all the videos she made, all the projects she created.
I believe we first featured Amy as the author of The Belly Book, her spiral-bound, pregnancy journal, cleverly shaped like a belly, which we happened to have first discovered exactly 10 years ago. Soon after, it was followed by her hilarious Post Partum Cards. And then, the children’s books just poured into our consciousness and onto our pages, here.
Chopsticks and Spoon are lovely little books about friendship. Duck! Rabbit! is all fun with optical illusions. I Scream for Ice Cream and Wumbers were beloved by my kids who still adore play-on-words and puns and word games to this day.
If they were a little younger, they’d probably adore Awake Beautiful Child for the same reasons; I have a copy in my own bedroom right now and I love staring at the gorgeous cover art by illustrator Gracia Lam.
Plant a Kiss is a newer favorite, just perfect for Valentine’s-gifting for the kids. And then there’s the 2015 bestseller I Wish You More, which is one of those wildly special books. So much so, we named as one of our favorite 8 inspirational children’s books that make great graduation gifts to cherish into adulthood, when you need an idea beyond Oh The Places You’ll Go.
But the book that may stay with me most is her most recent book, That’s Me Loving You.
It was released less than three months ago, and knowing now that Amy had been facing terminal cancer while writing it makes her message of a parent’s everlasting love for a child all the more heart-wrenching.
Wherever you are,
Wherever you go,
And always know. . .
That feeling you always have in your heart?
That’s me loving you.
I feel like my own words will never be the ones I want them to be; and regardless of the different configurations in which I try to arrange them, I just can’t make them say the right things. So, I’ll have to end with a simple…thank you.
Thank you, Amy.
So many of us loved you right back.
You can also find her characters on t-shirts, mugs, phone cases and more at Teespring, with 100% of the profits going to Bernie’s Book Bank, which distributes new and gently used children’s books to at-risk children throughout the Chicago area.
In fact, supporting Bernie’s Book Bank in her name might be a nice way to honor Amy’s memory and legacy.