Remembering Ann K. Beneduce

Our dear friend Ann Beneduce, passed away March 18, 2021 at the age of 102. Ann first met Tasha in 1961 at J.B. Lippincott Co. and went on to edit twenty-one of Tasha’s books over the next 25 years. This work was made possible by the everlasting friendship between these two extraordinary women.

Ann was an editor of children’s books starting in 1957. She joined the J.B. Lippincott Co. in 1960. She subsequently held top posts at World Publishing Company, T.Y. Crowell, and the American subsidiary of William Collins Publishers before founding her own imprint, Philomel Books, as a division of the Putnam Publishing Group devoted to quality trade books for young readers. Over the years Ann also worked closely with Eric Carle, Mitsumasa Anno, Jane
Yolen, as well as illustrators Ed Young and Gennady Spirin. For more information about Ann’s career, please see this Publisher’s Weekly obituary.

Ann stands outside Tasha’s 1790s farmhouse in New Hampshire, happily making old-fashioned ice cream with a wooden freezer. Ann recalled that it was “impossible to be depressed or tired” around Tasha because her enjoyment of life was contagious.

Ann joined the Tasha Tudor Society as a founding board member in 2006, introducing the idea of creating a Chapter program in 2012.

Ann and her daughter Wendy at a New Jersey Chapter gathering of the Tasha Tudor Society.

Ann’s work and friendship with Tasha was featured in the Fall/Winter 2019 Journal Issue 12. We share it here in memory of our dear friend Ann. Please click on each image to enlarge.

A Partial List of Ann’s Projects

Ann authored, retold (adapted) or served as translator for the following:

I. Authored by Ann Keay Beneduce:

1) Letters from Tasha with Japanese translation by Masako Meshino. Publisher:  Media
Factory, 2009. Twenty-nine letters sent by Tasha to her dear friend and editor, with
explanatory text and remembrances by Ann.

2) A Weekend with Winslow Homer Publisher: Rizzoli, 1993. American painter Winslow Homer talks about his life and work as if entertaining the reader for the weekend. Includes reproductions of the artist’s works and a list of museums where they are on display.

II. Essays written by Ann Keay Beneduce:

1) The Art of Eric Carle [essay titled “It Takes the Practiced Hand”] Author: Eric Carle; Leonard S Marcus Publisher: Philomel Books, 1996 Portrait of the children’s author/illustrator, includes over sixty full-color illustrations from his books, examples of his student artwork, autobiographical information and photographs, and essays on his life and art by friends, critics, and colleagues.

2)  Window on Japan : Japanese Children’s Books and Television Today : Papers from a Symposium at the Library of Congress, November 18-19, 1987 by Sybille A Jagusch Publisher: Library of Congress, 1990. [essay titled “An Imagination-stretching Adventure: Editing the Works of Mitsumasa Anno in the U.S.A”]

III. Foreword written by Ann:

1) The 1972 Children’s Book Showcase by Atha Tehon Publisher: The Children’s Book Council, 1972.

IV. Exhibition catalogue by Ann Keay Beneduce:

1) The art of Mitsumasa Anno : Bridging Cultures : Adventures in Imagination Publisher: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book art, 2003.

V. Retellings by Ann Keay Beneduce:

1) Moses: The Long Road to Freedom illustrated by Gennady Spirin Publisher: Orchard Books, 2004. [Translated into French, 2005; into Greek, 2004] Recounts the story of the Jewish leader Moses, from his birth until his leading of the slaves out of Egypt. Based on the Torah, Modern Commentary and the King James Bible.

2) Philipok by Leo Tolstoy Illustrated by Gennady Spirin; Publisher: Puffin Books, 2000. [Translated into German in 2002; into Italian, 2003; into French, 2007] Philipok’s mother has told him that he is too young to go to school, but one day he sets out to go on his own.

3) Jack and the Beanstalk illustrated by Gennady Spirin Publisher: Philomel Books, 1999. [Translated into French language by another, 2004] A boy climbs to the top of a giant beanstalk, where he uses his quick wits to outsmart an ogre and make his and his mother’s fortune.

4) Gulliver’s Adventures in Lilliput by Jonathan Swift Illustrated by Gennady Spirin Publisher: PaperStar, 1996.[Translated into German in 1993 & 1994, Danish and Norwegian in 1994; French by another in 1994 & 1996] An Englishman is shipwrecked in a land where the people are only six inches tall.

5) The Tempest by William Shakespeare Retold by Ann Keay Beneduce; illustrated by Gennady Spirin
Publisher: Philomel Books, 1996. [Translated into French language by another, 1996; into German, 1999; into Russian, 2021] Picture book adaptation of Shakespeare’s play of magic and enchantment in which Ferdinand and Miranda, the children of deadly enemies, meet and fall in love, melting the hardened hearts of their fathers

VI. Translator into English for:

1) Petit Claude: The Orphan of Auschwitz and His French Rescuers: A True Story 1938-1945 by Agnès Holzapfel Publisher: Xlibris, 2000.

2) A Weekend with Leonardo da Vinci by Rosabianca Skira-Venturi Publisher: Rizzoli, 1993.

3) A Weekend with Velázquez by Florian Rodari Publisher: Rizzoli, 1993.

Further reading:

Over the years Ann also worked closely with Eric Carle, Mitsumasa Anno, Jane Yolen, as well as illustrators Ed Young and Gennady Spirin.

Still Hungry After All These Years Publisher’s Weekly February 5, 2009

Building Collections, Three new museums provide permanent homes for children’s books and art Publisher’s Weekly April 16, 2001

IN PERSON; The World of His Imagination New York Times Dec. 7, 1997

Invention and Discoveries: An Interview with Ann K. Beneduce by Leonard S Marcus The Lion and the Unicorn Johns Hopkins University Press Volume 7/8, 1983-1984

Ann Keay Beneduce profile Prabook

Consulting Curator, Jeanette Chandler Knazek contributed to this article.