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This last week has been trying and sorrowful for Americans with the Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt that followed. April 19, also marked the passing of one of our favorite authors, E. L. Konigsburg, at the age of 83.
Konigsburg was a much-loved author who was honored with John Newbery Medal in 1997 for her book “The View from Saturday” and in 1968 for “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” The Newbery is one of the top honors for children’s literature. All told, she wrote 16 children’s novels and illustrated 3 picture books.
In celebrate her life and her work, we would like share one of our favorites From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
12 year old Claudia Kincaid is bored and tired of the monotony of her life, the unfair amount of chores, her limited T.V. time, and her low allowance.
Claudia decides to run away , but she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere. Somewhere far from her home and some place beautiful, comfortable, and indoors. Being the organizer that she is, she crafts together a Master Plan to escape to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while convincing her little brother Jamie to come with her.
The story unfolds and shares their adventuresome journey of living undetected inside the museum for a whole week. While there Claudia and Jamie take the opportunity to learn new things and while discovering each section of the museum, they run across a new exhibit housing a marble angel thought to be from the hands of Michelangelo, the famous Italian painter and sculptor.
Claudia and Jaime decide to figure out the mystery of the statue before retuning home, that is if their money will hold out. Using the last of their finances they locate the previous owner of the statue Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, who also happens to be the narrator of this classic tale as well. After much negotiation between Mrs. Frankweiler and the children, a deal is reached and the true craftsman of the statue is uncovered.
This book won the Newbery Medal in 1968 and its no wonder why. Each time I would wander into a new section of the museum I would wonder where I would hide if I decided to live in the museum. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end as did my time with this favorite read and looking at some of the greatest art in the world.
If you were going to live in a museum, where would you make your home?
To find out more about what inspired this book have a look at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler brochure.