Obituary – Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr, renowned children’s book writer and illustrator, has died shortly before her 96th birthday. Her work is known all over the world, but perhaps most of all in Germany and Britain. In Germany, she is perhaps best known for her series of her semi-autobiographical children’s novels, in particular for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. In Britain, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the series of Mogg books, featuring a highly individual cat, are among her best-loved books. Amazingly, she published new works right up to her death, with the latest expected to be published posthomously in June 2019.

She was outspoken to the last, and an adamant remainer. Fittingly, she won the British publishing industry’s Illustrator of the Year Award, which had been awarded to Alex Scheffler last year, another illustrator of German extraction whose outspoken comments about Brexit remain as resonant as they did last year.

Judith Kerr’s life is a lesson to us all, in particular her generosity and humane attitude towards those less fortunate. At a time when refugees are once again at risk, it is salutary to remember how those in need repay their hosts in a million different ways, small and large, and how much we profit from exchange with others.

For a fuller account of her life, and a review of her illustrated autobiography see our earlier post in December 2018.