Joanna Cole, cherished author and creator of The Magic School Bus series, passed away at age 75 this past Sunday. The cause was reported to be due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
A former elementary school librarian in Brooklyn, Cole was inspired to create The Magic School Bus based upon her own love for science and a science teacher from her childhood who acted similarly to Ms. Frizzle. Many of Cole’s books received various accolades, making it on the ALA Notable list and winning NSTA/CBC Non-fiction awards. Last month, it was announced that a live-action version of The Magic School Bus was in preparation, to be produced by and starring Elizabeth Banks.
Dick Robinson, CEO of Scholastic, remembers Cole fondly.
In the world of children’s books, it is not often necessary for illustrator and writer to actually meet, but there were conundrums with [Magic School Bus]. Every page was so complicated we had to make decisions: how to make it work. Could it work? And we did. Together. And we became friends. What Joanna has meant to the world, what there is in the world because of her, is well known. What she meant to me I can’t describe. Everyone who knew her, worked with her, loved her, knows what a loss it is.
Cole will be deeply missed, and the knowledge and heart she brought to all of us will live on forever through her art. As the beloved author once stated:
People ask me, ‘Are you like Ms. Frizzle?’ And, as you can see, I don’t dress like Ms. Frizzle and I don’t have hair like Ms. Frizzle. But in one way we are alike. We both like to explain things. And so if you’re with me, you’re going to learn a lot of stuff that you may not even want to know about – because I’ll tell you.