Remembering Jerry Pinkney

By Monica C. RSS Thu, October 21, 2021

We were very saddened to hear about Jerry Pinkney’s sudden passing yesterday at the age of 81.

He was a Philadelphian by birth and spoke at the Free Library numerous times to share his beautiful books and art. So much so that on July 19, 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney declared it to be Jerry Pinkney Day!

As a storyteller and artist, Pinkney added so much joy and beauty to the world. His illustrations, created in layered watercolors—at times with a light pencil sketch showing underneath—are full of light, warmth, and vibrancy. His books will continue to delight and inform readers to years come, and will remain an important and unforgettable part of children’s literature.

Here’s a look at his works, available in our catalog, throughout the decades: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s to the present.

We are all better for having known Jerry Pinkney and his work. We send our sincere condolences to his family.


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Met Jerry Pinkney at a NELA conference, I attended as a Children's Librarian. As I was having a book autographed, I boldly asked if he intended to rehabilitate Little Black Sambo, as he had done for Uncle Remus, and he laughed and said he certainly would. His illustrations were beyond wonderful.
Nawawi Anne - Wayland
Friday, October 22, 2021

Remembering Mr. Pinckney for the wonderful artist that he was. His work will continue to be enjoyed and admired by adults and new generations of children.
stephanie ness - New Jersey
Sunday, October 31, 2021

I meet Mr. Jerry Pinkney and his lovely wife in 2019 at Coleman Northwest Regional he was doing StoryTime for the Children. He was a great illustrator and story teller. He is loved and will be missed!
Kevin I. Ivery - Germantown, Philadelphia
Monday, November 8, 2021