And so farewell Judith Kerr, the brilliant writer and illustrator who gave us The Tiger Who Came To Tea and, my own favourite, Mog the cat.
You can read proper tributes elsewhere. I write as the layman whose children were brought up on Kerr’s beautiful work. She had the gift of making her work look oh-so-simple, which of course it was not. So much good art appears simple at first glance, at first listen. Of course, it never is. It requires supreme talent and sheer hard work. Kerr had both in spades.
At a time when far right populists use words like refugee and migrant as terms of abuse, it is worth mentioning that Kerr’s family came to Britain in 1936 as Jewish refugees to escape Hitler’s Nazi Germany. What she gave to her adopted country cannot be counted in money or anything else. Her books entertained and educated generations of people, not all of whom were young.
We live in dangerous, unstable times where the populist far right is active throughout the world, offering simple ‘solutions’ to very complex problems. Hitler had a ‘final solution’ which was genocide of Jews.
Judith Kerr was a refugee and migrant who made our country better. As we mourn her death we should also remember where she was from and how we took her and her family into the safety of our green and pleasant land. Hope should always triumph over hate.