Jan Berenstain accomplished a lot during her life. She was happily married for more than fifty years, raised two sons and worked as a riveter during World War II. For her family, that will likely be her legacy, but for many of the rest of us, we’ll remember her for inspiring us to read. Along with her husband Stan, Berenstain created the Berenstain Bears, a beloved series of childrens books aimed at very young readers. First published in 1962, more than three hundred stories featuring the characters were created. To date, they’ve combined to sell two hundred and sixty million copies, pleasing fans and teaching moral lessons along the way.
Late last week, Berenstain suffered a debilitating stroke. She passed away on Friday at the age of eighty-eight. According to ABC, she was in the midst of two new books when she passed. Her children have already announced they’ll finish both and continue on the series, just as their mother did when her husband Stan passed in 2005.
The Berenstain Bears books were criticized at times for having very formulaic and simplistic stories. In a way though, that’s also why they worked so well. As a very young child, I always loved them because each was the perfect length. I could sit down and read one in a single setting, go be active for an hour or so and then read another. There was always enough there to keep my attention but never too much to feel overwhelming. I must have read fifty by the time I started going to school, and to this day, they still remain as a special memory.
Pop Blend’s thoughts go out to Berenstain’s two surviving children, as well as her four children. She contributed so much, and she will be missed.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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