San Francisco children’s author Robert D. San Souci died at age 68 following a head injury from a fall on Market Street. He was found unresponsive in mid-December by friends with whom he had missed a lunch appointment, reports KQED. The author published over 100 books, including the notable Fa Mulan: The Story of A Woman Warrior, which served as the basis for the 1998 Disney hit Mulan.
San Souci was born in 1946 in San Francisco, where he spent his early childhood in the Sunset before his family moved to Berkeley. He studied creative writing at St. Mary's College in Moraga, graduating in 1968. A decade later his first book was published. He frequently collaborated with his brother, Daniel, an illustrator.
Though San Souci remained in the Bay Area (he resided in Noe Valley) his multicultural stories were far-reaching. "The city will always be "home base" for me, but my travels have taken me all across the country, where I have found inspiration for many of my books," wrote San Souci on his website.
My books — many of them retellings of traditional tales — celebrate peoples and places all around the world,”
Daniel San Souci told KQED that his brother's fascination with Native American tales, which he took on in stories like Two Bear Cubs: A Miwok Legend form California's Yosemite Valley, resulted from his Berkeley years.
“There would be a whole group of us who would go to the Oaks Theatre (on Solano Avenue) all the time... And everyone was always cheering when the cavalry came and the bugle was calling, except Bob. Bob was always for the Indians. And it was because he was doing so much reading about Native Americans at the time."
According to KQED, Daniel San Souci says he’ll announce plans for Robert's memorial to be held in February or March.