It’s been a busy week, book lovers, and I’m sad to say that our first bit of news is a sad one:
Lois Duncan has passed away.
Very sad news: Lois Duncan, author of I Know What You Did Last Summer and many other books for teens, has died at 82 pic.twitter.com/2nsycviSvK
— Children's Bookshelf (@PWKidsBookshelf) June 15, 2016
For those of you who grew up in the late 1990s like me, Duncan’s horror/thriller novels may have first come to your attention as independent reading choices offered by your teacher or Scholastic Book Club picks. My first Duncan book was A Gift of Magic, about a 13-year-old girl born with psychic abilities and the ways those powers affected her life. I quickly grew obsessed with the paranormally gifted characters in her novels, tearing through books like Gallows Hill, Locked in Time, and Down a Dark Hall during my early teen years.
I never did read I Know What You Did Last Summer, Duncan’s most popular novel and the basis for the Jennifer Love Hewitt film, but I was still fascinated with the stories she told all the same. That said, part of Duncan’s legacy is tinged in grief–her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was murdered in 1989, and Duncan has written about that terrible tragedy in a nonfiction book called Who Killed My Daughter? Our condolences to Lois Duncan’s family, as they deal with their loss.
While kidlit has lost a giant, there are those who are creating legacies of their own for their children. Among them is NFL player Martellus Bennett, who has written a children’s book for his daughter. Bennett, like many of us who interact with kidlit, noticed that there weren’t many books with black characters available in bookstores and decided to take that as an opportunity. Hey AJ, It’s Saturday is an interactive book to be published on Father’s Day, and the main character is based on his now two-year-old daughter. Kudos to Bennett and his adorable daughter!
Martellus Bennett likely won’t be the only bookworm who might appreciate this next piece of news though: the world’s oldest library has re-opened! al-Qarawiyyin Library, located in Morocco, has opened its doors to the public again after four years of renovations and repairs. The library was founded by a woman, Fatima El-Fihriya, in 859, and contains thousands of manuscripts including some that are as old as the library itself. Architect Aziza Chaouni took on the renovation project in 2012–some of the changes were implemented to protect these precious tomes from various weather elements, while others were done to update and pay tribute to the library’s heritage. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I’ve got to add Fez to my travel bucket list.