Sunday, August 15, 2004

Thank you, dear Bill Martin Jr

I heard this news last week but it was only released to the wire services tonight. There is a lovely tribute in the Dallas Morning News today.
Bill Martin Jr., educator and best-selling author of hundreds of children's picture books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, has died. He was 88.

Martin, who suffered from Parkinson's disease for years, died of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Commerce, said longtime friend and collaborator Michael Sampson.

About 300 people attended Martin's memorial service at the First Baptist Church in Commerce on Saturday.

"Bill had a positive outlook on life. Everything that happened to him, he saw some good in it somehow. He was someone who empowered people," Sampson said Sunday.

Martin was born March 20, 1916, in Hiawatha, Kan., one of five brothers.

He graduated with a teaching certificate from Emporia State University in Kansas, and later earned a masters degree and a doctorate in early childhood education from Northwestern University in Chicago, where he also was an elementary school principal.

Martin, a member of the International Reading Association's Hall of Fame, published his first book, "The Little Squeegy Bug," in 1945 while serving in the Army Air Force during World War II.

In 1962, he moved to New York to head the school division of book publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston. A decade later, he quit to become a full-time writer...

...Many of Martin's books featured colorful, bold artwork by longtime contributing artist Eric Carle. The books were simple with rhythmic verses like "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you see? I see a bald eagle soaring by me ..."

"Bill's many books for the very young have been an introduction to literature to millions of children, here and abroad," Carle said.

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