“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” – Lloyd Alexander
Born on this date in 1924, Alexander authored more than 40 books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work The High King, part of his Chronicles of Prydain series, won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature. Alexander also was awarded two U.S. National Book Awards.
A native of Philadelphia, Alexander grew up with a deep love of reading, particularly adventures and classics. “Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain, and so many others were my dearest friends and greatest teachers,” he said. While he never finished college, his writing eventually earned him several “writer-in-residence” opportunities at colleges and universities – an experience he said was like being a favorite uncle who comes in and spoils the kids and then leaves them to their parents at days’ end.
A World War II veteran, Alexander – who died in 2007 – spent time in Wales late in the war and the landscape and history he discovered there shaped a number of his fantasy novels. Enamored with adventures and tales of knights and dragons, he went into the army to get a taste of adventure for himself. “I decided,” he said, “that my own adventure was the best way to learn about writing.”
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