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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Writing humor to engage kids' lives

“Humor is the oxygen of children's literature. There's a lot of competition for children's time, but even kids who hate to read want to read a funny book.” – Sid Fleischman

An American author of children's books, screenplays, novels for adults, and nonfiction books about magic, Fleischman’s works for children are known for their humor, imagery, zesty plotting, and exploration of the byways of American history.

His understanding of and ability to perform magic led to many delightful uses of it in his writing, and in addition to 8 books about magic, he also broke into the children’s book market with a magician’s tale.  Mr. Mysterious & Company (1962), the adventures of a traveling magician's family in the old West, was the first of many books drawing on his background in both magic and his interest in history.
Winner of the Newbery Medal (for best children’s literature) for The Whipping Boy, he was the U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1994.   Shortly before his death in 2010 (at age 90) The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators inaugurated the Sid Fleischman Award – recognizing a writer       of humorous fiction for children and young adults. 
“Adult novels are as ephemeral as newspapers,” he said when asked whether he preferred writing for adults or children.  “Children's books stay in print for decades.”

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