PEN is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Steven Kroll, author of more than 95 books for children and former chair of the Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee of PEN American Center. Steven was a vital part of the children’s book community, and a great friend to librarians and writers around the world. He loved to talk about storytelling and the children’s book business, of which he was a part for 35 years.

Steven recalled that when he was growing up, there was no emphasis on writing at school. “No one ever told me I could write a story. I thought writers were either gods or dead. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I took a walk along Central Park West after a rain, noticed how the streetlamps made the wet streets shimmer as if they were made of glass, and ran home to write my first story, ‘The World is Made of Glass.’ It was only after that that I realized I wanted to be a writer.”

After graduating from Harvard, Steven worked as an editor at Chatto and Windus in London and then at Holt, Rinehart, and Winston in New York. He also edited the literary magazine Transatlantic Review.

For many years, Steven held the chair of the PEN Children’s Book Committee. During that time, he welcomed new children’s book writers to the organization, sponsored many public forums on censorship, and fought tirelessly to protect the rights of authors. He will be greatly missed by his many friends in the publishing world, and the thousands and thousands of children and adults who loved his books.