Diana Wynne Jones, the grand dame of children's and young adult fantasy, died today at the age of 76.
Her death is a great loss, but she will be remembered. Her words will inspire and entertain future generations.
When she won the Mythopoeic Award for Children's Literature in 1999, she remarked, "A book for children is first of all to enjoy, and after that it can be full of all the other things books can do for children — mostly, I believe, to encourage them to think for themselves."
That thought is evidenced by all of work, not just The Dark Lord of Derkholm. Children read Jones because her stories are funny, witty, magical. They remember her stories because they're thoughtful. Jones played with chronology. She had unreliable narrators. She told her stories in original ways and trusted the reader to deciper them.
Elizabeth Taylor also died this week. Papers have proclaimed the end of an era and the death of an icon. For those who love children's literature, Diana Wynne Jones's death is no less momentous.