Parents Perspective

Beloved Children's Book Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal Reveals Heartbreaking Cancer Diagnosis

I am shattered by the news that one of my family's favorite authors has only days left to live. 

little pea book cover
Acclaimed children’s book author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has published a heartbreaking essay in the New York Times, revealing that she has ovarian cancer and only days to live.

The mother-of-three writes about receiving the diagnosis: “So many plans instantly went poof. No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No wonder the word cancer and cancel look so similar. This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan ‘Be,’ existing only in the present.”

"Not Little Pea!" I screamed in my brain as I read her words. This can’t be happening to the talented and inspiring Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Stop and rewind.

I remember the exact moment I picked up Krouse Rosenthal’s Little Pea. I was a new and unsure mom perusing the children’s section of Barnes & Noble near my office at lunch. Shopping for a book to read to my daughter when I got home that night seemed like the best kind of errand.

And boy did I score with Little Pea. It’s about a Baby Pea who doesn’t like candy but—wait for it—wants to eat spinach. And the Mom Pea and Dad Pea admonish Baby Pea for not finishing his candy. In fact, he has to finish it to get his treat of spinach. It’s a generous lesson about perspective for all ages and delivered in a funny way. Baby Pea “plcks” and “plehs” the candy down, and spoiler: “They live hap-pea-ily ever after.”

There are so many books of hers we love, like Duck Rabbit, which still stirs a happy debate in our house. Is the main character a duck or a rabbit? Krouse Rosenthal’s drawings in this story are the best kind of brain tease, and we have all flip-flopped through the years on our pick of duck or rabbit.

I could go on. And tonight when I put all of our Krouse Rosenthal books in a big pile on my big bed and my three PJ-clad daughters pile in to read them with my husband and me, we will go on. And I will feel lucky and grateful and in awe that Krouse Rosenthal has shared her gifts with us. 

And when I think about the crushing fact that Krouse Rosenthal will soon not be here on this Earth, while I get to keep enjoying her books the next day and the next? Well, It’s Not Fair. Why’d I get the smaller half? Why can’t I have a pet giraffe? Her words, not mine. And I sure don’t want her story to end.

Mindy Walker is Executive Editor of Fit Pregnancy and Baby and the mother of three girls.