RIP: Joanna Cole, Author Of The Beloved 'Magic School Bus' Books, Dies At 75

RIP: Joanna Cole, Author Of The Beloved 'Magic School Bus' Books, Dies At 75

The iconic author had written over 250 children's books throughout her illustrious career.

Joanna Cole, the famed author behind 'The Magic School Bus' has passed away on June 12 at the age of 75. Her amazing works have sold close to 100 million copies and she has authored over 250 children's books. According to the Hollywood Reporter, at this stage, her cause of death hasn't been officially declared yet. Her best-known work 'The Magic School Bus' was so successful that it was adapted into an animated series that ran for 18 years. She created the series with Bruce Degen, an illustrator, back in 1986. Aside from the popular animated series, it also went on to have a recent revival at Netflix and a live-action film starring Elizabeth Banks was announced last month. 

Cole and Degen first published their series through Scholastic where they followed other popular children's series in creating a core of main titles and dozens of spinoff books related to the animated series. Scholastic also went on to simplify books by Cole and Degen for younger readers and that ended up resulting in over 90 million copies sold worldwide. Cole's works had an amazing impact on millions of children for two whole generations. 



"Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story," said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic, who publishes The Magic School Bus series. "Joanna’s books, packed with equal parts humor and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world who read her books and watched the award-winning television series."



"We met in 1984 in the office of the much-missed Craig Walker, the brilliant editor who asked us to work together," Degen told the outlet. "We did not know each other. In the world of children's books, it is not often necessary for illustrator and writer to actually meet, but there were conundrums with [Magic School Bus]. Every page was so complicated we had to make decisions: how to make it work. Could it work? And we did. Together. And we became friends. What Joanna has meant to the world, what there is in the world because of her, is well known. What she meant to me I can’t describe. Everyone who knew her worked with her, loved her, knows what a loss it is."



Cole was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1944. Initially, she had a passion for science and was inspired by her fifth-grade teacher. She went on to attend the University of Massachusetts and Indiana University before graduating from City College of New York with a B.A. in psychology. She worked as a school librarian and answered letters for Newsweek before serving as a magazine and children's book editor and then a full-time writer. "In my science books, including The Magic School Bus books, I write about ideas, rather than just the facts," Cole once said. "I try to ask a question, such as how do scientists guess what dinosaurs were like? Then I try to answer the question as I write the book."



 Rest in peace Joanna, you will be missed. 

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