One half of the dynamic Berenstain duo, Jan Berenstain, has died at the age of 88. Jan Berenstain survived her husband, Stan, by six years.
The couple met at college and worked during World War II together until its end in 1945. They immediately married and started their family, which includes two sons: Leo and Mike. In 1962, Stan and Jan decided to write their own children's books and enlisted the help of Theodor Greisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.
"The Big Honey Hunt" debuted in 1962 and spawned the series that now has over 200 titles, movies, and TV specials. The books still remain best-sellers and cover very relevant topics including bullying, lying, unhealthy eating, sexual education and birth.
After Stan passed away in 2005, son Mike, an illustrator and editor, began helping write new books for the series. He also helped Jan make the decision to move the company from the publishing company HarperCollins to Zondervan. Mike believed that the books could explore the spiritual side of life, which they were already doing, though not in an obvious manner.
With that transition came titles such as "The Berenstain Bears Show God's Love" and "The Berenstain Bears: God Loves You!" Some Sunday school teachers have begun using the books as tools for their classrooms, providing a new audience for the timeless series.
The Berenstain Bears' family has grown over the years as well, from just Mama and Papa to Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister, and now, new baby Honey. The family has taught children how to read while providing them with a sense of morals and ethics. Each book contains an introductory poem containing a lesson for both parents and children.
Jan Berenstain suffered a massive stroke on Thursday and never regained consciousness, according to son Mike. The Berenstain Bears are celebrating their 50-year anniversary, and readers everywhere are remembering their favorite tales. She will be sorely missed.