Author Of One of the Most Beloved Books of All Time has Passed Away

Sam McBratney, beloved author of Guess How Much I Love You, passed away on September 18, 2020. He was seventy-seven years old. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, McBratney was a classroom teacher before becoming a full-time author. He wrote more than fifty books, including several best-selling and award-winning titles, but he achieved international acclaim with the 1994 publication of Guess How Much I Love You.

Now considered a classic, Guess How Much I Love You has sold over fifty million copies worldwide and has been translated into fifty-seven languages. The story features a spirited yet tender bedtime competition between two nutbrown hares with the now iconic illustrations of Anita Jeram.

The phrase “I love you to the moon and back” has itself taken on iconic stature, and the book is considered an essential title for any nursery, preschool, or library bookshelf. But to its author, at its heart, the book was always “a light-hearted little story designed to help a big one and a wee one enjoy the pleasure of being together.”

A charming man who met friends new and old with a twinkle in his eye, McBratney loved touring to support his books and built a lifetime of fond memories and meaningful connections with readers, booksellers, and librarians by travelling throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States. He is survived by Maralyn, his wife of fifty-six years, three children, and six grandchildren—as well as generations of readers whose hearts and minds he touched with his books.

McBratney’s highly anticipated companion to Guess How Much I Love You, titled Will You Be My Friend?, comes out this month, with a global publishing date of September 29.

“When writing about the hares, I aim to describe moments of emotional significance but with loads of humour and the lightest of touches. This story is about one of those moments. Little Nutbrown Hare’s world suddenly glows with the discovery of friendship,” McBratney said on crafting a sequel to one of the most beloved books of all time.

A charming man who met friends new and old with a twinkle in his eye, McBratney loved touring to support his books and built a lifetime of fond memories and meaningful connections with readers, booksellers, and librarians by travelling throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States. He is survived by Maralyn, his wife of fifty-six years, three children, and six grandchildren—as well as generations of readers whose hearts and minds he touched with his books.