Magic School Bus Author Joanna Cole Dead at 75

Joanna Cole, author of The Magic School Bus series, has passed away at the age of 75.

By Jess Cohen Jul 16, 2020 3:03 PMTags
Joanna Cole, Author of The Magic School Bus Childrens Book SeriesAnnabelle Helms

Joanna Cole, author of the beloved Magic School Bus series, has passed away at the age of 75.

According to a release from Cole's publisher, Scholastic, the award-winning writer died on Sunday, July 12. Cole had resided in Iowa with her husband Phil.

"Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story," Dick Robinson, Chairman of Scholastic, said of the author. "Joanna's books, packed with equal parts humor and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world who read her books and watched the award-winning television series."

"Her Ms Frizzle led a group of eager and curious students on countless adventurous trips on the Magic School Bus—into the human body, hurricanes, the solar system, and everywhere imaginable," Robinson continued. "Joanna and the landmark series she created with illustrator Bruce Degen and editor Craig Walker was produced for television by Scholastic Entertainment, and has been viewed continuously for 25 years. Her spirited work will live on as The Magic School Bus continues to be discovered by new readers and viewers."

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Illustrator Degen said of Cole, "I think for Joanna the excitement was always in the idea. What? Why? How? And with The Magic School Bus it was how to explain it so that it is accurate and in a form that a kid can understand and use. And you can actually joke around while you are learning. She had a rare sense of what could be humorous."


Degen also added, "What Joanna has meant to the world, what there is in the world because of her, is well known. What she meant to me I can't describe. Everyone who knew her, worked with her, loved her, knows what a loss it is."

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In addition to her husband, Cole is survived by her daughter Rachel Cole and her husband John Helms, her grandchildren, Annabelle and William, and her sister Virginia McBride.

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