A bestselling US children's author has left a touching request in her will.
The obituary for Anna Dewdney, who passed away this weekend, states the author asked for people to read a book to a child rather than throw her a funeral, in the hope of continuing her legacy of "putting books into as many little hands as possible".
The 50-year-old author and illustrator, whose Llama Llama book series has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, died at her home in Vermont on Saturday following a 15 month battle with brain cancer.
Dewdney, who penned over 10 stories about an adorable baby Llama during her career, was a huge advocate of children's literacy and firmly believed in the importance of reading to children.
"By reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human," she wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2013. "When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
"I will go further and say that that child then learns to feel the world more deeply, becoming more aware of himself and others in a way that he simply cannot experience except in our laps, or in our classrooms, or in our reading circles."
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In a statement released following her death, her publisher Jen Loja, President of Penguin Young Readers, said, “The entire Penguin Young Readers family is heartbroken. And as we grieve, we also celebrate Anna’s life, in dedicating ourselves to carrying forward her mission of putting books into as many little hands as possible.”
An animated Llama Llama series, based on Dewdney's books, will be released by Netflix in 2017.