Yesterday I was sad to learn that one of my favorite childhood authors, Jan Berenstain, passed away. I know I’m not alone in saying that The Berenstain Bears was a beloved staple of my childhood. Their kind, funny bear family sparked my love of reading, taught me many important childhood lessons (like the importance of going to the dentist), and kept me captivated for hours. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when my teacher would open the book delivery box and pass me the latest Berenstain Bears book. I could hardly wait to get home and read it.
Now, as an adult and a writer myself, it’s inspiring to learn about the dynamic duo behind the books. Stan and Jan met in art school when they were just 18 years old. They fell in love, married, and spent their lives writing and illustrating children’s books together and raising a family of their own. They started The Bears series as a way to address some of the issues they were facing as parents. Their stories reached millions of people and together they produced over 300 titles.
They were a couple that shared a passion and chased their dream together. In a recent article, Jan said, “It’s wonderful to do something you love for so many years…Not everyone has that.’’
I like to think of the Berenstain’s legacy as a reminder to listen to the dream in your heart and proof that anything is possible.