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The 50-year-old children’s author/illustrator Anna Dewdney has passed away after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. She leaves behind a strong message for parents as she urges people to read to a child in her memory instead of giving her funeral.

Dewdney's Llama Llama series includes 10 titles and has sold more than 10 million copies combined. Netflix is producing an animated Llama Llama series that is due out in 2017.

llamallama

Dewdney was a passionate advocate for children’s literacy and attended countless events at schools and libraries to encourage children to read. She wrote of the importance of reading to children in an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2013.

“When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language,” she wrote. “We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful, and it is something that we are losing as a culture: by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human. When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.”

In a release from her publisher, Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, said, “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 will miss her so, but consider ourselves so lucky to be her publishing family and her partner in her legacy.”

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