As confirmed by the BBC, children’s book author Michael Bond has passed away at home after a short illness. He was 91 years old.
Born in 1926, Bond – whose full name was Thomas Michael Bond – would go to Reading Station as a child to watch the trains. He was unhappy with his school, so unhappy that he dropped out at 14. Because World War II had begun by that point and many men were serving in the military, he was able to find work despite his youth, first in a solicitor’s office and then for the BBC.
In 1943, the building Bond was working it was hit in an air raid. 41 people died as the building collapsed under him, but Bond managed to survive. This inspired him to join the military, and after his attempt to join the Royal Air Force failed due to him suffering from air sickness, he joined the Army and remained a solider through 1947.
It was while serving in the Army that Bond began writing. In 1945 he wrote and sold his first short story. He continued writing short stories and plays for the next thirteen years, even after he went back to work at the BBC. He was working as a camera man in 1958 when he published his first book – A Bear Called Paddington. This was the first of 26 books about the marmalade-loving bear who was named after Paddington Station. Those books have sold over 35 million copies all over the world. Bond continued to write about Paddington through 2014.
In 1965 Bond had enough success writing the Paddington Bear books that he was able to leave his job at the BBC and write full-time. This is also when he started writing other books besides the ones about Paddington, including a handful of non-fiction titles.
It was not until 1971 that Bond began working on a new series, about the character Olga da Polga. The Olga books are unique in that half of them are picture books and half are chapter books, allowing children to enjoy her stories even as they outgrow the easier ones. In 1983 he began yet another series, Monsieur Pamplemousse. His final book was Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Tangled Web, published in 2015.
But Paddington Bear always remained Bond’s most beloved character. The books were adapted into three different television series over the years. And in 2015 a full-length movie titled Paddington was released. The film, which starred Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, and the voice of Ben Whishaw as Paddington Bear, was a huge success. A sequel – Paddington 2 – has already been filmed and is scheduled for release this November.
Bond leaves behind a wife, two children, and four grandchildren. His books have been in the homes of millions of children around the world for decades, leaving an incredible legacy. He will be missed.
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