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Berenstain Bears co-creator Jan Berenstain has died

Jan Berenstain with two of her books

Jan Berenstain, who with her husband created the Berenstain Bears books for children and preschoolers, has died. Berenstain was 88. Since the first book featuring the family of bears in was published in 1962, 260 million copies have been published in 23 languages, the Associated Press reports:

The gentle tales of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear were inspired by the Berenstain children, and later their grandchildren. The stories address children's common concerns and aim to offer guidance on subjects like dentist visits, peer pressure, a new sibling or summer camp.

The first Berenstain Bears book, "The Big Honey Hunt," was published in 1962. Over the years, more than 300 titles have been released in 23 languages — most recently in Arabic and Icelandic — and have become a rite of passage for generations of young readers.

"They say jokes don't travel well, but family humor does," Jan Berenstain told The Associated Press in 2011. "Family values is what we're all about."

Jan met Stan in 1941 when they were both 18 and starting art school. After he returned from World War II, they married. They worked together, publishing their first book with the help of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Stan Berenstain died in 2005; they are survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Jan Berenstain with two of her books. Credit: Associated Press

 
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