Joanna Cole, the author of the Magic School Bus series of children’s books has sadly passed away at the age of 75. The cause of death was announced as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
“Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story,” Dick Robinson, the Scholastic chairman and CEO said in a statement released on Wednesday. “Joanna’s books, packed with equal parts humor and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world who read her books and watched the award-winning television series”.
The idea for Magic School Bus came in the mid-1980’s as teachers across America continued to request that Scholastic publish more books that explored the topic of science through the medium of storytelling. Cole was brought on board to pen the stories and the rest, as they say, is history.
Magic School Bus has taken tens of millions of children from the far reaches of space to the dark depths of our ocean. But it wasn’t just on the page that children got to fall in love with Ms Frizzle and her gang of students, there is also a popular TV show and a Netflix series based on Cole’s creation. It will even be arriving on the big screen in the future with Elizabeth Banks set to play the inspiring Ms Frizzle.
“I think for Joanna the excitement was always in the idea. What? Why? How?” The series’ illustrator Bruce Degen said in a statement. “And with The Magic School Bus it was how to explain it so that it is accurate and in a form that a kid can understand and use. And you can actually joke around while you are learning. She had a rare sense of what could be humorous.”
Cole and Degen only just recently completed The Magic School Bus Explores Human Evolution which is scheduled to come out next spring.
Cole was a lifelong fan of science and worked as a librarian and magazine editor before finding her true calling with The Magic School Bus.
The world of children’s literature is a little sadder today.