Charlotte Zolotow was a distinguished editor and children’s author with a knack for taking emotionally touchy subjects like anger and death and conveying them in a way children can understand.
The 98-year-old author died this week at her home in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. Zolotow’s daughter, children’s author Crescent Dragonwagon, confirmed the death.
Charlotte Zolotow was famous for books like Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, a story about a girl searching for a present for her mother, and My Grandson Lew, about the death of a grandparent.
The New York Times noted:
“Ms. Zolotow’s own picture books — she wrote more than 70 — were cleareyed explorations of the interior landscape of childhood by one who had obviously not forgotten what it felt like to dwell there. Delicately, with surgical precision, they plumbed children’s interior lives, often ranging over loneliness, loss, longing and other painful topics that earlier generations of children’s books had either sugarcoated or ignored outright.”
Zolotow also worked with many of the most renowned illustrators of her day, including Garth Williams and Hilary Knight. Her first picture book, The Park Book, was illustrated by Curious George author H.A Rey.
Though she was 98 when she died, Charlotte Zolotow still managed to continue writing.
The author’s website noted:
“Charlotte turned 92 in June 2007. She has some major disabilities; she lives at home, in the same home she has lived in for 50 years, with a round-the-clock caregiver, a lovely woman from Ghana. She is wheelchair-bound, close to blind, and pretty mad about it (understandably). But she has no illnesses or diseases, and though she is sometimes forgetful these days, her memories about writing, editing, and the children’s book world are very clear.”
The site noted that Charlotte Zolotow always had a work in progress, including some haiku she wrote with her daughter for a book called Robert’s Snow. Nine of her books that had been released in America were recently sold for publication in Japan.