Beloved Children’s Author and Illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund Dies at 95

On March 9, the world lost beloved children’s author and illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund. She passed at her home in Litchfield County, Connecticut from heart failure. She was 95 years old.

Her first book, A Friend is Someone Who Likes You, has sold more than four million copies and was on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books list. Anglund has published more than 120 books that have been translated into several different languages. As of 2014, she has sold more than 50 million copies of her books around the world.

If you aren’t familiar with her books, perhaps you have been exposed to her illustrations. Her illustrations of children are particularly unique as the only facial feature they have are dots for eyes. While she never intended to omit other features like noses or mouths, Anglund later realized they better captured the “‘feeling of all children, of childhood itself perhaps.”

 

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Anglund also wrote poetry for both children and adults having penned titles such as “A Cup of Sun” and “The Golden Treasury of Poetry.” Another famous poet, Maya Angelou, was particularly struck by Anglund’s work. She began quoting Anglund’s line: “A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer, he sings because he has a song.” Many have since wrongly credited the line to Angelou including former President Barack Obama.

When speaking with The World of Hibernia, Anglund revealed her books are about what she finds to be most important in life: “finding and being a friend, expressing love.”

feature image via the washington post