Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who wrote more than 28 children’s books and penned a widely read Modern Love column for the New York Times published earlier this month, died on Monday at age 51 following a battle with ovarian cancer.
Rosenthal was known for the children’s books !, Duck! Rabbit!, and I Wish You More and her memoirs, Encyclopedia of an Extraordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Last week, the New York Times posted a piece written by Rosenthal in February that detailed her health struggles and asked readers to consider a relationship with her husband.
“I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights. But that is not going to happen. I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet. So why I am doing this?” Rosenthal wrote in the piece, titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” “I am wrapping this up on Valentine’s Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”
The emotional piece was praised online, with many readers sending in responses about their own experiences with terminal illness and grief, as well as hopes and wishes for future relationships.
Rosenthal, who first began writing in the late ’90s, actually began her career in advertising before switching over to write children’s books. According to the Associated Press, Rosenthal completed seven picture books before her death, including a one that saw her collaborate with her daughter Paris, titled Dear Girl.
“Everything Amy did was life and love affirming. She was such a bright light with a great sense of wonder,” said Amy Rennert, Rosenthal’s literary agent and friend, in a statement. “Amy loved her family. She loved words, ideas, connections. She taught us that life’s seemingly small moments are not really small at all. Amy’s final essay, written under the most difficult of circumstances, a love letter to her husband Jason, was the ultimate gift to him and also to the rest of us. She leaves behind a legacy of love and beauty and kindness.”
The Uni the Unicorn author was also a contributor to NPR, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and Oprah Magazine. She was also known for her TED Talks — the most famous of which, “7 Notes on Life,” saw the author encouraging viewers to “Make the most of your time here.”
“We are deeply saddened by the news of our author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s death,” said Penguin Random House in a statement. “We have had the honor of working with Amy for many years, and have great admiration for her both professionally and personally. Together, we will be privileged to bring the joy of her books to adult and children’s readers for generations to come.”
A Tufts University graduate, Rosenthal often experimented with nontraditional mediums and forms, from making her own short videos to organizing a gathering of hundreds of readers with the goal of “making” things — one of whom was fellow author John Green (Paper Towns), who went on to become a friend.
“No one wrote like Amy,” tweeted Green upon hearing the news. “No one saw the world the way she did.” Green and other members of the literary community remember Rosenthal, below.