Lloyd Alexander has passed away. He was a wonderful author of children’s fantasy novels and a great man. I’d like to share this story in his honor because I think it speaks so highly of his character and his generosity of spirit.
My sister and I grew up reading Lloyd Alexander’s books. When we were young my family read them out loud and loved them. When my sister’s first two children were old enough, she was excited to share the experience with them, so together they read his books out loud, too.
Now, my sister is very different from me in terms of personality. Whenever we go see a play, April waits outside the door and asks for autographs. Sometimes, to my mortification, she even goes inside the doors and asks if the celebrities will come out. I could tell you many such stories… So when April, Jen, and Chris finished reading Lloyd Alexander’s books, she decided she wanted to call him and have the kids tell him in person how much they liked them. She found his number on-line, picked up the phone, and… called him.
I couldn’t believe she’d done that! But Lloyd said he was thrilled that they’d called. This was pre-Harry Potter and his books had reached a quieter place where he seldom heard from children anymore. It turned out that he and his wife lived right near where I was going to college, and since this fact came up in conversation, he invited April, the kids, and me, to come over and visit.
We went to his house one afternoon and he welcomed us in, and showed us all around, including the many pieces of art related to his stories. He talked to me about writing since I was then a starry eyed dreamer, and gave each of us signed books.
To this day, it amazes me that he was so open, generous, and kind. He made us feel so good, as if somehow we were the ones doing him a favor by appreciating his books, while the whole time it was his wonderful stories that have brought pleasure to generations of my family.
What a beautiful man, what a life well lived, and what an example to live up to! He will be missed. If you haven’t read his books, treat yourself to some wonderful stories.