Here is a wonderful collection of voices celebrating the life of Craig Virden. If you've ever read a children's book, this man shaped part of your inner world.
My own story is small but personally meaningful. In early 1993, I went to NYC to do some informational interviewing because I hoped to move there and find a job in children's book publishing. I had talked to Mr. Virden a couple of times on the phone when I helped arrange author events at an independent bookstore in Portland. He also read an article I wrote for the store's newsletter and sent an encouraging note to me.
I was very nervous to meet him in NYC, but he was so warm and bursting with happy energy. He kept introducing me to people and laughing heartily. I thought, "Wow... is this what publishing is all about? Can I start tomorrow? Could I be this guy's assistant?" I just wanted to be near his energy. He seemed to be holding the world in the palm of his hand, delighting in the magic and chaos right within reach.
Here's a more official obituary from PW. If you are in the NY-area, a memorial service will happen next week, on May 27th. I send sincere wishes of warmth to his family.