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Famed Author Jan Berenstain Dies
posted by: Alix | March 02, 2012, 03:58 PM   

Jan Berenstain, who with her late husband Sam, made up one of the most successful husband-wife teams in children's literature died last week at the age of 88. After half a century of books, videos and TV shows about the everyday problems of a family of bears, the Berenstain Bears titles have become the standard for children's books in America.

The Berenstain Bears books have offered parents and young students life lessons and humor about issues ranging from the fear of the dentist, to sibling rivalries and bullying since the first book was published 50 years ago. Transcending generations with wit, humor and warm illustrations, hardly any teacher is unfamiliar with the famous series.

Amazingly, some 300 titles and 260 million copies later, the series featuring a nuclear family of bears living together in a tree house, still resonates with families and students according to the latest book sales.

Editor Dave Linker praised Jan Berenstain for her unique ideas. "The themes of those books - being kind to others, treating people with respect, being nice to your friends, saying what you mean - are universal," he told the press. "They brought a lot of humor, so reading them didn't feel like drudgery."

Mrs. Berenstain was instrumental to the years of collaboration for the series. Both she and her husband were accomplished illustrators and worked together on nearly every book since the inception. Mr. Berenstain was responsible for most of the humor and she for the stories' "heart," their publisher said. Editors claim their personalities lived up to their alter egos of Mama and Papa Bear.

After the death of her husband Sam in 2005, Jan continued to produce new titles with her son Mike, who is set to continue the tradition with his younger brother. Amazingly, nineteen new Berenstain books will be published this year alone.

In light of Jan Berenstain's passing, it may be worth picking up a Berenstain Bears book for your classroom if you teach young students. Undoubtedly, her impact on children's literature will be remembered for generations to come.

Have you used the Berenstain Bears series in your classroom?
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