Joanna Cole, author of ‘Magic School Bus’ series, dies at 75

Joanna Cole, author of 'Magic School Bus' series, dead at 75

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Award-winning author Joanna Cole, writer of the bestselling children’s book series, “Magic School Bus” has died at age 75.

Scholastic announced that Cole, a resident of Sioux City, Iowa, died Sunday. The cause was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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In 1986, Cole created the series which brought her love of science and curiosity to children. With the ever maddening but inspired Ms. Frizzle leading her students on journeys that explored everything from the solar system to underwater, “Magic School Bus” books have sold tens of millions of copies and were the basis for a popular animated TV series and a Netflix series.

The CEO of Scholastic, Richard Robinson, praised Cole’s tremendous impact on children and learning in a press release on July 15.

Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story. 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. Her Ms Frizzle led a group of eager and curious students on countless adventurous trips on the Magic School Bus¬--into the human body, hurricanes, the solar system, and everywhere imaginable. Joanna and the landmark series she created with illustrator Bruce Degen and editor Craig Walker was produced for television by Scholastic Entertainment, and has been viewed continuously for 25 years. Her spirited work will live on as The Magic School Bus continues to be discovered by new readers and viewers.
Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic

Her illustrator, Bruce Degen also shared Cole’s passion and wonder for science.

“I think for Joanna the excitement was always in the idea. What? Why? How? 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,” Bruce Degen said in the release.

Cole and Degen had recently completed “The Magic School Bus Explores Human Evolution,” scheduled to come out next spring.

She is survived by her husband Phil; daughter Rachel Cole and her husband, John Helms; grandchildren Annabelle and William, and her sister Virginia McBride.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.