It is with great sadness that we at Lerner Publishing Group bid adieu to Ann Downer. She died on November 19, 2015, almost one year to the date of her ALS diagnosis. A gifted writer and researcher, she was an intelligent, creative spirit and a very bright light in my world. She brought me fabulous ideas, good conversation, and a deep understanding of life. And to my delight as an editor, she absolutely thrilled to the author-editor collaboration. She made science fun, as we both agreed it is, and she told a good story with each of her science books for TFCB (covers above). I am a better editor for having worked with Ann.
Ann was oh so funny, and we shared a love of the absurd. Last Christmas, shortly after Ann’s diagnosis, I found a pink rubber octopus tentacle on a shopping trip, totally by chance. We had just finalized the cover design for Ann’s latest Fall 2015 TFCB project–Smart and Spineless, about the intelligence of octopi and other invertebrates–so I bought the tentacle for Ann, wrapped it up, and sent it to her. A few days later, she sent me the photo (above right). The tentacle transformed into tree topper. Who but Ann?
I treasure the connections I’ve made through Ann, not only to the scientists and the animals she loved, but more importantly to the intimates in her life, in particular to her husband, Ed, her sister, Judy, and to her dear friend Karen Romano Young, now a TFCB author as well. They, and I, will miss her so much.