Brian Jacques, beloved children's author of the 'Redwall' series, dies at age 71

Brian-JacquesBrian Jacques, the beloved British author of the Redwall series, died of a heart attack over the weekend at age 71.

Hailed as one of “the best children’s authors in the world,” Jacques’ 21 Redwall books were translated into 29 languages and sold 20 million copies worldwide. His novels — despite centering on anthropomorphic woodland critters, such as mice, otters, moles, and squirrels — told epic tales of good triumphing over evil and never spoke down to their young audiences. When I was nine years old I finished Martin the Warrior, the third installment of the series, and remained in  a daze for an entire afternoon. The characters had grown dear to me, and when a few of the most lovable ones died in the final battle scene, I felt genuine loss but also a sense that I was better for having known them. It was the book that cemented me as a reader for the rest of my life — I’d discovered what it was like to have such connection to a story, and I wanted to have it again and again.

With the news of Jacques’ death, I want to go through my closet and dig up those dusty childhood books I haven’t read in more than a decade. I know I’ll find them — Jacques’ novels aren’t ones you ever throw out.

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  • Steph H.

    This news made me sad. He was my favorite childhood author, and I always bought the newest Redwall book every year, even well into my young adult years. He wrote such classics. So funny to hear Stephen Lee comment that “Jacques’ novels aren’t ones you ever throw out,” b/c I’ve kept all of mine, too.

  • Alex

    I just checked out Redwall for the fifteenth time. I love his books. Such a loss.

  • Shane

    I read my first Brian Jacques book about twenty years ago as a wee lad. Shortly thereafter I wrote a letter to Brian and received a hand-written and signed response back. It was only three sentences, but I’ll never forgot that he took the time to write to an eight-year-old fan. RIP, good sir.

  • Lori

    I’m so sad to hear of Mr. Jacques’ passing. I just discovered his Redwall series a couple of years ago and fell in love with the stories and characters. I’ve kept all of my books too!!

    • Lori R

      “A mouse is small and can go unnoticed: but there is no limit to what a brave heart and a fearless spirit can achieve.”

  • John A

    Aw, I loved those books! I stopped reading them half a dozen years ago due to the repetitive story design, but the earlier ones were all very good! I too spent the day in a daze upon the completion of Martin the Warrior!

    Mossflower was the first one I read and my favourite by far.

  • Margaret C.

    I am so sad to hear of Brian Jacques’ passing. I noticed he was trending on twitter to find out of his death. His Redwall series is dear to me and my childhooh and I still love it even as a 21 year old. RIP.

    • Steve

      His passing must have a puoofrnd effect because the library is getting swamped with requests for his books. And we have hundreds! But they are all checked out. I’m sure he would have been happy to see that interest in his stories will live on.

  • anonymous

    How sad. Redwall was one of my favorite series’ as a kid and I, too, kept all my copies. Even now, working in a library, I always get a little smile on my face when I reshelve one of Jacques book, because I know that now another kid has discovered a great series.

  • Rachel

    I also read Mossflower first as a kid and kept reading his books until well into my 20s! I still have a few of my favs. His stories never got old or his characters less endearing. Rest in peace Brian, you will be missed.

  • maryanne

    this breaks my heart. and stephan is right, those are books you never throw out. i am pretty sure that i still have mine at my moms house. i loved the redwall books, i still love them. they were the books that actually got me reading quality literature. i went from goosebumps and the babysitters club to little woman and catcher in the rye thanks to Redwall teaching me that the books your parents want you to read can be just as fun as the books your best friends read

  • Renee

    I read every one of the Redwall books out loud to my daughter. She’s 15, and she still treasures them. She’ll be sad when I tell her this afternoon. What an incredible writer!

    • Benci

      love Redwall we read these and the Garth Nix series about the same time. Have you all read the aobsrhel, sibhrana (i can’t remember the third one) by Garth Nix. Another greater writer Piers Anthony wrote a series in a world called Xanath alot of toungue and cheek humor. Have the boys read any of David Eddings? The Belgariad, the young boy Garion is 14 and is beginning to realize his life is not what it seems. Loads of magic my favorite character is Aunt Pol. Oops didnt mean to ramble!!

  • Jeff from Jersey; yes New Jersey

    Mr. Jacques*s legacy is the world of Redwall.

  • Jonathan

    This breaks my heart; I loved all of the Redwall books! It makes me so sad that they have a chance of fading into obscurity now that there won’t be any more written.

    • Hope

      There is no way that they would just fade away.

      They are considered to be classic and I often see them on school reading lists.

  • lisamama

    My 11 year old son discovered these a while back, and immediately devoured the whole series. Now my 8 year old is reading them. Thank you to Mr. Jacques for writing quality “children’ books” that all ages love.

  • Jac

    This is absolutely so sad! I had the opportunity to go to his book signing in NY when I was younger, and I was absolutely awe struck. I clammed up entirely, and he just sat and made jokes and got me to open up. He was a very sweet man, and his books were absolutely amazing, making me laugh and cry. The literary world has lost a gem today.

  • ashley

    So sad…I loved those books, they were amazing, beyond quite a lot of children’s books today. He will be missed.

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