...The Anglunds welcomed daughter Joy while in Pasadena, then relocated to Evanston, Ill., where their son Todd was born. By 1956 the family had settled in New York City, a move that proved difficult initially. Anglund was “profoundly lonely” in New
York and her husband traveled frequently for work. Missing their life in the Midwest, she began putting words and drawings in a notebook. “The small-town feel of Illinois inspired by writing,” she said. “I would look at the huge buildings around me
and imagine that behind every window was someone who had the potential to be a friend.” Her illustrations were inspired by her own two children as well as her observations of kids on the playground. The result was the seed of what became her first
children’s book, A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You (Harcourt, 1958), which was selected as one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books that year.
That debut title’s journey to publication is a story in itself. Bob Anglund came across his wife’s notebook in a desk drawer, and without telling her, showed the work to several publishers. After a few rejections, the manuscript landed on editor
Margaret McElderry’s desk at Harcourt Brace. She called Joan and delivered the news, “I think we have a book here.” A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You, Brave Cowboy (Harcourt Brace, 1959), and Love Is a Special Feeling (Harcourt Brace, 1960) were
among the earliest of her more than 120 books, many of which became international successes. In total her books have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
Over her career, Anglund’s artwork has been featured on Hallmark greeting cards and licensed for figurines and dolls, among other items. Collectors of her work and merchandise have formed fan clubs, and some of her notable admirers have included Queen
Elizabeth II and Eleanor Roosevelt. Filmmaker and musician Tim Jackson, a longtime family friend of the Anglunds, produced the feature documentary Joan Walsh Anglund: Life in Story and Poem in 2015...