Children’s author, David McKee, has died aged 87.
McKee was best known for his picture books Elmer the Elephant and Not Now Bernard, as well as Mr Benn which later became a children’s animation.
The Devon-born writer sold more than 10 million copies of his books around the world and won a number of awards.
“David died surrounded by his family, following a short illness in the South of France, where he has spent a lot of time in recent years,” Andersen Press said in a statement.
“All at Andersen Press hope his spirit lives on for many more generations through his joyful, heartfelt stories.”
David McKee, beloved creator of iconic children’s books Elmer, Not Now, Bernard and Mr Benn has sadly died following a short illness. We all hope his spirit lives on for many more generations through his joyful, heartfelt stories.— Andersen Press (@AndersenPress) April 7, 2022
Full statement here: https://t.co/P8h6jY6PY8 pic.twitter.com/k0pRWq2xpb
The Devon-born author wrote 29 original Elmer books, all of which have been translated into over 60 languages. The popular tales of the patchwork elephant were eventually turned into an animated series.
Another of David McKee’s famous picture books, Mr Benn, first published in 1967, later became a BBC TV series.
His long-time publisher Klaus Flugge expressed his own sadness: “I am devastated by the sudden death of my best friend, David McKee. He was as close to Andersen Press as I am.
“He was there from the very beginning and essential to the origin of the company. He became great friends with everyone he encountered – staff, authors and illustrators alike.
“His was a singular voice and a shining light in children’s books that highlighted inclusivity, diversity and parts of our world that are not always present in publishing for children.
“His classic books include Elmer, Two Monsters and Not Now, Bernard, amongst many, many others, have become part of the canon of children’s literature, and we hope will be enjoyed by children for many more generations to come.”