Amy Krouse Rosenthal poses for a photo Aug. 1, 2016, in Chicago. (Image by Kevin Nance / Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press)

If you have young children who love to read, you may already know Amy Krouse Rosenthal, maybe without even realizing it — she’s a best selling author of over 30 award-winning books beloved by children, including “Duck! Rabbit!,” “Spoon,” “Yes Day!,” “Little Pea,” and “The Wonder Book,” (see a full list here). She brought joy to so many kids over the years, this being just one of them:

“Rosenthal was a Tufts University graduate who worked in advertising for several years before she had what she called a ‘McEpiphany’: She was with her kids at McDonald’s when she promised herself that she would leave advertising and become a writer,” (Associated Press). After that, she published at least one book a year, sometimes even three or four.

She also wrote various journals and two memoirs for adults, The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and was a filmmaker. She has been known for her random acts of kindness and instigating community projects, such as Beckoning of Lovely. One of her most recent personal projects was something she called “Project 1,2,3.” In it, she challenged herself to daily come up with something that could be shared in a list of three. She’d post it at 1:23 pm and she started on 12/3 of 2016. She made it to Day #61, and shared the project on her Instagram account.

You may have also seen one of Rosenthal’s TED Talks, either “The Crevices of Life” (San Diego, 2011), or “7 Notes on Life” (SMU, 2012).

Most recently, you may have read her heartbreaking and viral Modern Love essay in The New York Times, You May Want to Marry My Husband. She wrote it in honor of Valentine’s Day, and it was published on March 3rd. Dan Jones, who edits the column, said it’s one of their most popular ones ever. In it, Amy seeks a future partner for her husband because, as she reveals in the essay, she is dying from ovarian cancer and, “I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet.” She died at home ten days after the essay was published — just yesterday. Her husband said in a written statement,

It is Amy’s gift with words that has drawn the universe in. I am not surprised that her “Modern Love” essay in the New York Times has garnered the attention it so deserves. I didn’t know exactly what she was composing but I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.

Rosenthal described herself simply as, “a person who likes to make things.” Her longtime literary agent, Amy Rennert, said Rosenthal “was the most life-affirming person, and love-affirming person.” Fellow author John Green, (who credits her with helping to start his career by asking him to write and record an essay for WBEZ) tweeted: “She was a brilliant writer, and an even better friend.” Green also has said her work shows that “If you pay the right kind of attention, the mundane becomes beautiful.” In The New York Times Book Review in 2009 Bruce Handy said of her work, “Her books radiate fun the way tulips radiate spring: they are elegant and spirit-lifting.” Maria Modugno, her editor at Random House, said, “Amy ran at life full speed and heart first.”

Rosenthal herself said, “Invariably, I will have to move on before I have had enough. My first word was ‘more.’ It may very well be my last.”