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Monday, February 7, 2011

In Memory: Brian Jacques

It is with sadness that I report the passing of author Brian Jacques over the weekend. Jacques, the prolific author of the widely popular "Redwall" series, died on Saturday at the age of 71.

Back in my public library days, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Jacques, as we were able to have him present a program at our library for a large group of local school kids. If you were ever able to hear him speak in person, I hope that you consider yourself as fortunate as I do. It was truly a mesmerizing experience (and not just because of his wonderful accent)!

The Redwall series includes 21 books, plus 3 companion titles. The first, "Redwall," was published in 1986 and the most recent, "The Sable Quean," in 2010. Mr. Jacques also wrote the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series. I will be the first to admit that I am not typically a fan of fantasy books where animals are the main characters, but I LOVED "Redwall." I am sorry that I have not found the time in my life to read every book in the series, but I have read the Castaways books.

The Redwall series got it's start when Jacques wrote/read stories to children at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, when he was a truck driver delivering milk. The children there loved the stories so much and he was encouraged to publish them.

If you have not had the opportunity to read the books yourself, you should! If you want to hear them read by the author, check them out on audio. Many are "full cast" recordings with Jacques as the narrator/main character. But be careful, there are recordings that do not feature him...still a good book, but it is so much better if you can hear it read by the author.

A great writer and amazing storyteller who will definitely be missed...

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