Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Abby's Bells Are Silent - Brian Jacques, Author, dies at age 71.

I can honestly say if it wasn't for Mr. Jacques books I wouldn't be where I am now. As a child I was good at math, but not at reading. Over time my talents reversed themselves. In large part this was because I fell in love with reading. Through the work of authors like Mr. Jacques, and his Redwall series in particular, I developed a liking of fantasy into a love of fantasy, and through that love a real passion for the book and the act of reading. Growing up Brian Jacques' books made me want to be a reader.

Jacques books are some of my favorites. I remember as a child walking with my father to the near by Newport Library to check out Redwall, and Mossflower. Libraries were my primary interface with Jacques work, which may explain in part the subconscious motivations for my present career path. In 5th grade, my parents gave me a hard back copy of The Bell Maker, one of the first "nice" books I remember owning. The book still sits on my shelf almost 15 years later, in near perfect condition.

Later on as a bookseller Jacques became one of my go to recommendations for young readers. Jacques' stories are pure. While they embrace a certain romanticism which I am sure opens them up for critical attacks, his work has both a level of depth and excitement that makes them an easy recommendation. I loved hearing that young readers had already demolished the series just as much as seeing a face light up at the discovery of a new treasure.

From reading his obituary in the times I think that Jacques will be most missed by his family, and the children of England. Rather then using a staid author photo the picture used was one of Jacques in a library regaling children with stories of adventure. Jacques also hosted a radio show for children on his local BBC station called Jakestown. His contributions to children's literature, which were the spark for some of that still burns today, is substantial. Thanks for the adventures Mr. Jacques, it sounds like they were as fun for you as they were for your readers.

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