“The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever.”

From the Writer’s Almanac, a website produced by Garrison Keillor:

Today is the birthday of Sid Fleischman, born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in San Diego, and as a teenager toured the country with vaudeville acts as a magician. After college he became a journalist, and then he started writing suspense novels and screenplays.

One day, his daughter Jane came home from school with the autograph of a children’s author. Fleischman’s wife, Betty, pointed out to the children that their father was also a writer. Jane said, “Yes, but no one reads his books.”

So he started in at once, and his first of many children’s books, Mr. Mysterious & Company, was published in 1962. He won the Newberry Award in 1987 for his novel The Whipping Boy (1986), which tells the story of a spoiled European prince and his servant who receives the prince’s punishments, because it’s a crime to strike the prince. He also wrote a memoir: The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer’s Life (1996).

He said: “The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever—they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work.”

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