‘Magic School Bus’ Author Joanna Cole Passes Away at Age 75

The series that transported kids everywhere on exciting and educational journeys

The author of the beloved childrens’ book series ‘The Magic School Bus’ has died. Scholastic announced that Joanna Cole was 75 and the cause was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

“Joanna Cole had the perfect touch for blending science and story,” Scholastic Chairman and CEO Dick Robinson said in a statement. “Joanna’s books, packed with equal parts humour 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.”

YouTube / Scholastic

The idea for ‘The Magic School Bus’ came about in the 1980s. Scholastic senior editorial director Craig Walker, was getting several requests from teachers for books about science and he thought storytelling and science could go hand in hand. That’s when he brought on Joanna Cole. The books featured the crazy teacher Ms. Frizzle, based partly on Cole’s own grade 5 teacher growing up, who took her class on field trips to everywhere from the ocean to the solar system. It was a unique combination of adventure, humour and science education.

The books have sold tens of millions of copies and were turned into a television series, which is now on Netflix. There are also plans for a live-action movie with Elizabeth Banks playing Ms. Frizzle.

‘The Magic School Bus’ is fresh in my mind since my nephew is a big fan of the books and my colleague thinks I should be Ms. Frizzle for Halloween because of my hair!