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Jerry Pinkney, acclaimed children’s book illustrator dies at 81

Jerry Pinkney, acclaimed children’s book illustrator dies at 81
on Oct 28, 2021
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Jerry Pinkney, award-winning American children's book illustrator, and author passed away on October 20, aged 81. He is survived by his wife, daughter Troy, sons Brian, Scott, and Myles, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Publishing house 'Little, Brown Books for Young Readers' mentioned that he died after a brief, non-COVID-related illness. “Jerry was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather whose impact influenced the creative endeavors of so many in our family,” his wife, the author Gloria Jean Pinkney, said in a statement. Pinkney produced more than 100 children’s books over nearly 60 years, becoming one of the most decorated illustrators of his generation. His 2009 book 'The Lion and the Mouse', a wordless retelling of Aesop’s Fables about a mighty creature’s unexpected dependence on a tiny one, received the Caldecott Medal honoring the year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children.” His other credits include 'The Little Mermaid', 'John Henry', 'Black Cowboy' and 'A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation'. In addition, he was a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for best work by a Black artist, served on the U.S. Stamp Advisory Committee, and designed the first Black Heritage stamps, including those honoring King, Harriet Tubman, and Jackie Robinson. Apart from his picture books, Pinkney provided the cover art for young-adult novels including 'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry', Mildred D. Taylor’s work about a Black family in Depression-era Mississippi, and 'Nightjohn', a novel about slavery in the American South by Gary Paulsen. Interestingly, Pinkney struggled with dyslexia but showed such talent for fine arts that he received a full scholarship from the Philadelphia College of Art. He dropped out after 2.5 years to marry and start a family. He was soon hired by a greeting card company in Dedham and went on to illustrate books for more than 50 years, beginning in 1964 with 'The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales'. Source - TimesofIndia

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