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Prolific children’s author Aardema dead at age 88

Completed manuscripts before her death

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

FORT MYERS, Florida - Author Verna Aardema Vugteveen, a late-blooming, prolific writer who regaled generations of American children with folklore of distant Africa, recently died at age 88.

Verna Aardema, the name on her books, taught elementary grades in Michigan for nearly forty years before retiring in 1973. She also wrote for the Muskegon Chronicle, published in a town north of Holland, and taught Sunday school as she developed into a full-time author and folklorist, retelling the lore of Mexico and, particularly, Africa for children aged 4 to 8.

Aardema had 33 books published, the first in 1960 and the last one in 1999. She had several more manuscripts completed when she died.

When PBS inaugurated its national, weekly program “Reading Rainbow” in 1982, it used a 1981 title by Aardema.