Today I was extremely saddened by the news that Brian Jacques had passed away over the weekend. I loved his Redwall books as a kid; Redwall, Mattimeo, and Salamandastron still live on my childhood bookshelves. I loved recommending them to kids as a children's librarian, and I love reminiscing about them fondly. In fact, I always take it to be a good sign if someone else had read his books too. It was, is, a defacto signal from our past imaginative, dreamy selves (wearing tapered sweatpants in primary colors) to our present selves (more seasoned, but nostalgic for those imagination filled days and definitely for those sweatpants), that if we both dug talking rodents, we'd probably be cool.
In fact, one of my best friends and post-college roommates and I bonded over our mutual love for Brian Jacques. And three years ago when he visited the library I worked in, she skipped work just to come and see him. We met him very briefly, but even in this brief interaction, I got the feeling he was a lovely individual. He had a kind, but humorously reassuring way of talking to the kids that many tour-weary authors lose, and seemed to relish (glow!) being in front of the sizable crowd. I don't think I'll ever forget his deep laugh or BBC baritone voice (true story!) rumbling throughout the room. He was truly a captivating man and author. Even though his family has had a huge loss, I hope that they can take some measure of comfort in how missed he'll be by his fans, old and young.