We are extremely sad to hear of the passing of beloved children’s author and previous LBF children’s Author of the Day, Judith Kerr. An icon of the children’s book world, she has and will continue to inspire generations with her stories.
Judith Kerr was born in Berlin, but came to England with her family after escaping the Nazis and travelling through Switzerland and France as a young girl. She wrote about her early life in her autobiographical trilogy Out of the Hitler Time.
Judith worked at the BBC where she met the celebrated screenwriter and creator of Quatermas, Nigel Kneale and they were married in 1954. She left the BBC to look after their two children Matthew and Tacy, who inspired her first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, first published in 1968. The family cat Mog, inspired a series of picture books about the eponymous feline and the Thomas family. She recently celebrated the millionth sale of The Tiger Who Came to Tea in August 2017 and its 50th anniversary last year.
Judith received an OBE for services to literature and Holocaust education in 2012, and celebrated her 90th birthday in June 2013 with the publication Judith Kerr’s Creatures published by HarperCollins. In December 2015 Mog’s Christmas Calamity was published in association with Sainsbury’s and the subject of their Christmas advertising, raising over 1 million pounds for Save the Children’s literacy campaign. On the week of publication, it was the fastest selling book in the industry reaching No. 1 in the overall book charts for four weeks and making it the bestselling picture book of 2015*.
Just last week, Kerr was named Illustrator of the Year at the British Book Awards and her new book The Curse of the School Rabbit is scheduled for release in June this year.
Judith Kerr was an inspirational and legendary author who graced many of us with a childhood of fun and pleasure through her books. She will be dearly missed; the children’s publishing industry has lost a leading light today.
Rest in peace Judith Kerr.