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Popular Chappaqua Author Krasilovsky, 87, Dies From Stroke

Phyllis Krasilovsky lived in Chappaqua with her family for 35 years. Photo Credit: Peter Krasilovsky
Phyllis Krasilovsky has written many children's books. Photo Credit:

This article was updated at 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – An "enthusiastic resident of Chappaqua" and author of many popular children’s books died this week. She was 87.

Phyllis Krasilovsky died in Redding, Conn., from complications of a stroke, according to the New York Times. She had lived in Chappaqua, then Stamford, Westport and finally Redding, Conn.

She moved to a home steeped in literary history on 1177 Hardscrabble Road in Chappaqua in 1960 from Mamaroneck with her three daughters, Alexis, Jessica and Margaret. Her son, Peter, was born in 1961. 

A famous publisher, Edward Aswell, lived there previously and once hosted his star author, Thomas Wolfe, Peter told the Daily Voice. It had also been a boys school, and he said they even found opiated medicine bottles hidden in the walls. 

"My mother was enormously taken by the house's literary past and wrote many of her books and travel articles in a corner office on the ground floor of the house, looking out at a peach tree," he said. 

Krasilovsky’s published works include “The Very Little Girl” (1953), “The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes” (1950) and “The Cow Who Fell in the Canal” (1957). She also wrote travel articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal and other magazines and newspapers.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Chappaqua became a center for children's and young adult book authors, who Peter said became friends and often met for lunch. They congregated at Krasilovsky's home once to discuss how to handle international royalties. Some of those included the authors of the Curious George series, Hans and Margaret Rey; and "Where The Wild Things Are," Maurice Sendak. 

In addition to writing, she taught the history of children's literature at Marymount College in Tarrytown for several years, often served as an election poll watcher in Chappaqua, and even helped deliver The Reporter Dispatch with Peter when the weather made it difficult to do so via bicycle. 

Cashiers at the Grand Union and A&P in Millwood, as well as local police, would remember her as always in a rush, "but mostly were forgiving," Peter said. The town librarians knew her through the research she did for books.

"My mother especially loved the library, and gave frequent author readings at both the library and at the schools," he said. 

She was born in Brooklyn on Aug. 28, 1926, and attended James Madison High School.

She is survived by her husband, Bill, her son and daughters Jessica and Alexis Karsilovsky and Margaret Brookes, and a grandson.

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