Children’s author Kathleen Duey: “There’s her writing, which grew and grew, and also her teaching and mentoring.”

From a New York Times obit by Steven Kurutz headlined “Kathleen Duey, a Mentoring Children’s Author, Dies at 69: A prolific writer, she published more than 75 books, including a Best Seller and a National Book Award finalist, all while encouraging aspiring authors.”:

Ms. Duey wrote more than 75 books for children, middle-grade and young adult readers. “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” a novelization of the DreamWorks film of the same title, made the New York Times best-seller list in 2002.

Another of her books, “Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic,” a fantasy novel and the first in a planned trilogy, was a finalist for a National Book Award in the young people’s literature category in 2007.

And as a teacher, she made a lasting impression. “One student said for the longest time that she had one of Kathleen’s words of wisdom on her desktop: ‘Every artist of every kind takes a leap,’” Ms. Zarins said. “That’s what she did for my students. She showed them how to leap.”. . .

A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Ms. Duey, with her long red hair and gift of gab, was a beloved presence at the group’s conferences. An avid gardener, she would bring her editor, Ellen Krieger, avocados plucked from her backyard.

Ms. Duey gained a reputation within the organization as someone who lent her time and talent to aspiring writers, said Bruce Coville, a fellow author of children’s literature. He got to know Ms. Duey in the 1980s, when she was the one starting out and in need of a confidence boost.

“She didn’t yet understand how incredibly talented she was,” he said.

Ms. Krieger, who was Ms. Duey’s editor at Avon books in the early 1990s, said in an interview that Ms. Duey had taken her work “incredibly seriously,” even when publishing paperback originals like “Double Yuck Magic” and “Mr. Stumpguss Is a Third Grader,” a chapter book about an adult visitor to an elementary school classroom who turns out to be illiterate. . . .

Ms. Duey poured her creative energy into the “Resurrection of Magic” trilogy for years. It is a complex story set in two worlds: In one, magic has been banned; in the other, in the future, magic is controlled by the wealthy. Like the Harry Potter series (though Ms. Duey had conceived the idea years before the world knew of Hogwarts), the story features a magic academy and a lead character with extrasensory powers, though the tone is darker.

In praising the first of the series, “Skin Hunger,” Kirkus Reviews wrote, “This double-narrative fantasy begins slowly but deepens into a potent and affecting story of struggle.”

Ms. Krieger edited that book and its follow-up, “Sacred Scars,” while working again with Ms. Duey, this time at Simon & Schuster, which published the books.

“It’s a tragedy that she never completed the third book,” Ms. Krieger said. Ms. Duey had completed a first draft, she said, but her cognitive decline had prevented her from submitting a finished manuscript. . . .

Speaking of Ms. Duey’s legacy, Mr. Coville said: “There’s her writing, which grew and grew and is very fine. But there is also the long-term impact of her teaching and mentoring.”

Steven Kurutz joined The Times in 2011 and wrote for the City and Home sections before joining Style. He was previously a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and Details. @skurutz

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