Three reasons we read three obituaries for children’s author Brian Jacques:
- To meet Common Core State Standard RI.6.9: “Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).”
- Mr. Jacques lived about three obits’ worth.
- I couldn’t decide which I liked best:
Aged 10, he was told to write a story about animals and turned in a tale about a bird that cleaned a crocodile’s teeth. His teacher refused to believe that a boy so young could write so imaginatively and caned Brian when he insisted he had not copied it.
Mr. Jacques (pronounced “Jakes”), who grew up near the docks of Liverpool, left school at 15 and found work as a merchant mariner. He later worked as a railway fireman, long-haul trucker, bus driver, postmaster, longshoreman, police constable and stand-up comic.
On his route was the Royal School for the Blind. Invited in for a nice cup of tea one day, he volunteered to read to the students. Over time, he grew dissatisfied with the books available — too much adolescent angst, he later said — and vowed to write his own.