The world of children’s literature lost an icon recently with the passing of Philadelphia native and longtime Bucks County resident Jan Berenstain, co-creator with her husband Stan of the hugely successful Berenstain Bears picture book series. Stan Berenstain passed away in 2005.
Jan and Stan met in art school in Philadelphia at age 18 and quickly became collaborators in their work and in life. Over the next 50 years, they published more than 300 Berenstain Bears books in more than 23 languages. The first book in the series, The Big Honey Hunt, was released in 1962 with the help of Theodor Geisel, then a children’s book editor at Random House (and also known as Dr. Seuss). The cheerfully illustrated stories tell the everyday tales of Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother, and Honey Bear, who live at the end of a sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country—a setting inspired by the rolling hills of southeastern PA.
With a series of books beloved by generations of readers, Jan and Stan Berenstain left an indelible mark on the world of children’s literature.