Roberta Atkins was a teacher by profession, but when her first book for children took off, she immediately retired from her position and devoted herself full-time to writing. After 1980, when her first book came out, she wrote and illustrated close to ten books a year for the remainder of the decade, a prodigious pace that led to accusations of plagiarism.

In one memorable 1985 episode of 60 Minutes, Atkins invited a reporter into her home to see her technique and working space, which seemed to put any worry that she was not the author of her own picture books to rest. Strangely, Atkins seemed more interested in talking about her books on coding than her art and writing, mentioning that she was teaching herself how to program in machine code.

The last children’s book in Atkins’ oeuvre was published in 1990 but had been completed in 1989. For the remainder of her life, she never wrote again.

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