Dianne de Las Casas - RIP

I have to share sad news. Children's book author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas recently passed away in a house fire.
Dianne and I met many years back at author/illustrator Katie Davis' home. I was visiting New York for a portfolio show at the Society of Illustrators (or some such). Dianne also came to visit and we actually shared a (big) bed in Katie's attic guest room - mostly talking all night and trying to change the world - something Dianne took very seriously. First with her books. She had quite a few that she shared in her numerous school visits and her newsletter that had an enormous subscriber list.
And also through her passions. She was the creator of Picture Book Month (November), for which I proudly did the calendar every year.
But Dianne's pride and joy was her daughter, known as Kid Chef Eliana. Dianne had been spending most of her recent time helping to establish her 17-year-old daughter on this fun and creative path. My heart is broken for Eliana, they were so close.
Dianne was a vibrant, alive person - a force for good in this world - and I will miss her and all the good works she was doing. Friends have set up a Go-Fund-Me site in her name. If you'd like to help, money raised will pay for funeral expenses and anything left over will go to FirstBook - another force for good. Or you could just go buy some of Dianne's lovely books.
     Dianne's passing is a tragic loss to our children's book community, as a creator, as a proponent of children's literature, as a mother, and as a friend. Rest in peace, dear friend.

From The Metro New Orleans News: "A 'magnetic personality': Author, storyteller killed in Harvey house fire

From Shelf Awareness: Obituary Note: Dianne Casas

From Teaching Authors: When Great Trees Fall

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