Saturday, September 30, 2017

In Memory: Dianne de Las Casas

By Gayleen Rabakukk
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Author Dianne de Las Casas died Aug. 21 while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

A 'Magnetic Personality': Author, Storyteller Killed in Harvey House Fire by Jonathan Bullington from The Times-Picayune. Peek: "An award-winning author, Casas published more than two dozen books. She founded Picture Book Month, celebrated in November and recognized by the American Association of School Librarians."

Dianne Christine Casas Obituary from The New Orleans Advocate. Peek: "Dianne Christine Casas died on August 21, 2017 in Harvey, LA, at the age of 47...She always said that 'life is too short not to sparkle,' and she will live on in the sparkle of people's hearts the world over. "

Tribute to Dianne de Las Casas from The Booking Biz. Peek: "We were honored to have Dianne as a client. Not only was she a wonderful storyteller and presenter, she was a warm, caring and generous person. Dianne’s passion for children’s books was unlimited, and she went the extra mile to help children in every appearance she did. She inspired us every day..."

Remembering Dianne de Las Casas, Founder of Picture Book Month by Rocco Staino from School Library Journal. Peek: "Three hundred friends and family members gathered in Metairie, LA, on August 26 to celebrate the life of Dianne de Las Casa....'Dianne’s enthusiasm for children’s literature was boundless,' (Tara) Lazar says. 'Dianne was a spark plug, and the electricity she brought to our community will be sorely missed.'"

Remembering Dianne de Las Casas from SCBWI's Lin Oliver. Peek: "A longtime member of SCBWI, she was an avid supporter of SCBWI, spoke and performed at many conferences, and astounded us all with her love for children’s literature, her dynamic personality and her ebullient  spirit....Dianne was a shining light for us all, a vessel of love."

From author Lindsey Lane:

"I only got to meet (no, wrong verb), experience (better), be in the presence of (yes, that’s it) Dianne once. It was indelible. 
"We were in McAllen, Texas doing school visits and the McAllen Book Festival in 2015. She and John were newly and seamlessly together. Dianne burbled with life whether she was talking about books or writing or children or her daughters or John. 
"I remember thinking, 'That woman is tapped into a fountain of effervescence.' I can hardly believe she is gone. I suppose she isn’t, really, because that indelible presence she left in the form of books and love in her loved ones’ hearts will never go away. And I will always remember you, dear Dianne."

Celebrate Dianne de Las Casas is a campaign set up by Dianne's daughter Soleil to raise funds for any associated service costs, with the remainder donated to First Book, an educational equity organization that transforms the lives of children in need and elevates their quality of education.

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