The children’s book author E.L. Konigsburg died this past Saturday in Falls Church, Virginia, where she’d been living with one of her sons. She was the author of the beloved, witty, and charming novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, about two siblings who run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That book won the Newbery Medal in 1968; Konigsburg was a runner up that same year for another book, Jennifer, Hecate, McBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. (She was the only person to ever be a winner and a runner-up in the same year). She won the medal for a second time in 1997, for The View from Saturday, and altogether wrote 16 children’s books, illustrated three, and published a collection of her speeches. The actress Ingrid Bergman played the role of Mrs. Frankweiler in a 1973 adaption of the author’s most famous book, called The Hideaways. She was 82 when she died, and had three sons and a daughter. She spent most of her life in Jacksonville, Florida.
Did you read From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when you were young? Did you share the book with your children? We’re big fans of all of her books at Elizabeth Street and were very sad to hear the news this weekend. Her books are truly timeless and if either you or your children haven’t experienced them, you should check them out as soon as you can.