Joanna is best known for her Magic School Bus books, that are incredibly popular and were adapted into a cartoon series which only increased it’s popularity. Suitable for young children, the series was about a class whose teacher, Ms. Frizzle, would take them on educational trips on her magic school bus. They could go through space and time to learn about the universe, dinosaurs etc. They even went inside the human body to see how it worked.
The book had adventure and taught science through that, making them incredibly popular. The books were adapted into a cartoon that ran for 18 years! The books were also made into a web series starring Kate McKinnon, titled The Magic School Bus: Rides Again in 2017.
“Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story,” Dick Robinson, the Scholastic chairman and CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Joanna’s books, packed with equal parts humor and information, made science both easy to understand and fun for the hundreds of millions of children around the world who read her books and watched the award-winning television series”.
Cole has always loved working with books and children. She used to be a school librarian and worked in journalism and publishing. She wrote her first children’s book in 1971. She started the Magic School Bus series in 1985 with illustrator Bruce Degen. He and Cole worked together since then and most recently completed ‘The Magic School Bus Explores Human Evolution’, which is due to release next year.
“I think for Joanna the excitement was always in the idea. What? Why? How?” Degen said in a statement. “And with The Magic School Bus it was how to explain it so that it is accurate and in a form that a kid can understand and use. And you can actually joke around while you are learning. She had a rare sense of what could be humorous.”
She died at the age of 75 of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease.