Sad, sadder, saddest. Children’s author and illustrator Mordecai Gerstein died almost a week ago, last Tuesday. I first met Gerstein through his 2004 Caldecott Medal winner The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, a nonfiction picture book about the tightrope walk between the World Trade Towers. But I also loved The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and our National Parks.
Gerstein started out in television and moved into children’s publishing when he collaborated on the series “Something Queer is Going On,” mysteries for young readers that he worked on with Elizabeth Levy.
Writer and illustrator, he has left behind quite a body of work. In just the last ten years, the books he has written and illustrated include:
- The Boy and the Whale (2017)
- I Am Pan! (2016)
- The Sleeping Gypsy (2016)
- The Night World (2015)
- You Can’t Have Too Many Friends! (inspired by Drakestail; 2014)
- The First Drawing (2013)
- How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers (2013)
- Dear Hot Dog (2011)
His work wasn’t hyper realistic but I always loved how expressive his illustrations are and how alive. It was clear that he loved his work and his reades and wanted to bring them nothing but his best.
I hope that you’ll join be in celebrating his life and his work by reading something of his this week. I want to experience something new so I’ve requested both The Boy and the Whale, a picture book, and I am Hermes!, a graphic novel.
For more on Gerstein and his work, check out this memorial piece in School Library Journal.