Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander, a famous author of young adult books died last month. He wrote the Black Cauldron and The Prydain Chronicles. One of the chronicles The High King received the Newbery Award in 1968. He had the ability to create unforgettable character names like The Pig Keeper and Fflewddur Fflam. Enchanted kingdoms, broken harps, and magical legends flowed through all his books.

I feel a special affinity for him. When I received the Siddy Jo Johnson Award (year's best children's librarian) from the Texas Library Assn. , Alexander was the main speaker at that luncheon, and I got to sit next to him and chat. A very small man--he looked like an elf out of one of his books. But he was very cordial and easy to talk to. He told me that he had never had a writing course, but learned to write as he did from reading the great literature of the world as a child.

In these days of children's books about every subject from pooping to pottying, I wonder how many of them ever get to read from the world's great literature? We once had a program in elementary schools called Junior Great Books which pushed the reading of great literature, but I think the adult leaders tired of the program and it no longer exists. Fortunately Harry Potter has reawakened the interest in lore and legend--maybe that will help if well-meaning adults don't get the books cast out of the schools.

Thankfully there was a victory over that last week in Cedarville, AK. I heard the mother who was overruled by the court say that she didn't know what her next move was, but she was praying about it.

I don't think the God who values imagination and thinking will answer in the way she hopes.

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