Bookstart founder and children's author Wendy Cooling has died following a short illness.
Cooling was the founder of Bookstart, a BookTrust project she launched 28 years ago which today gives books to over two million children in the UK every year.
A secondary school teacher, she authored children's series for Puffin in addition to the All the Wild Wonders poetry collection. In 2006, she received the Eleanor Farjeon Award, and in 2009 was made MBE for Services to Children’s Literature.
“Wendy Cooling was, quite simply, a powerhouse who transformed the lives of millions of children,” said Diana Gerald, c.e.o. of BookTrust. Meryl Halls, m.d. of the Booksellers Association, added: “A whole generation of readers—and their parents—have Wendy to thank for bringing books into their families.”
Waterstones Children's laureate Cressida Cowell commented that Cooling was a "passionate champion for children’s books, and the transformative magic of reading. Her legacy will be far-reaching.”
“Wendy was passionate about putting books in the hands of all our children," said author Malorie Blackman. "Meeting her made me feel I could have a place and a space as an author in the world of children’s books.”
Fellow writer Michael Morpurgo paid tribute to Cooling's "overwhelming knowledge" and "infectious" warmth.