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Lloyd Alexander

I have an appreciation of Lloyd Alexander, who died this morning, promised for later, but for now I’d like to direct your attention to this letter he wrote to Horn Book editor Ruth Hill Viguers long ago.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. yankeerat says:

    >I’m so sorry to hear about Lloyd Alexander’s death. He was one of my favorites as a young reader, and an author I’m always recommending to my patrons. I learned from him that a book can still be enjoyed even if it doesn’t end as I wanted it to (“The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha” comes to mind.)

  2. Melinda says:

    >Aw, damn. I just heard a few minutes ago and came here to see if it was true. Hell’s bells, I wish it wasn’t. He was awesome. One of the bosses.

    It’s always the pits when a good writer dies.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >omg, i’ve read all of prydain and started reading the series over today when i was online and found out! how could this happen?

  4. Jordan Sonnenblick says:

    >DISCLAIMER: Let me say up front, I love Lloyd Alexander’s work with a passion, and the Prydain books were an important part of my childhood. So I’m probably biased in Mr. Alexander’s favor on nearly any issue.

    However, I find it interesting that Mr. Alexander wrote such a chummy letter to a reviewer, in light of various recent online arguments over how collusive authors and reviewers should be. I have, in the past, thanked reviewers after a particularly nice review, but several people on this and other blogs have spoken out against such practices.

    I found it fascinating that authors were being so friendly with reviewers over 40 years ago, but that the relationship is coming into question NOW because of the new technology of the Internet in general, and blogs in particular. I wonder whether authors ALWAYS had such connections, but it just wasn’t so obvious until blogs made the connections more transparent.

    Personally, I always feel it’s a kind of common courtesy for me to acknowledge a positive review.

  5. Roger Sutton says:

    >The old days were definitely chummier, but even now there are fora for author/reviewer friendships (conferences, publishers dinners, etc.) that encourage a let’s-be-friends kind of relationship. For example, I have to keep reviewers involved in Children’s Literature New England far, far away from authors (Katherine Paterson, Gregory Maguire, Susan Cooper, etc.) who are also. Back in the 60s, nobody would think twice about that, though. Back then, children’s writers, librarians and reviewers were all underappreciated together, so tended to stick up for each other, thus resulting in “kind” reviewing. It was cozy (and an amazing time of artistic growth for children’s books) but kind of in-bred.

    I don’t expect or want letters of thanks from an author for a good review. They aren’t the audience I’m reviewing for. I would feel that such a letter would require a social obligation on my part (thanking the author in return) that would conflict with my professional obligation to ignore that same author’s feelings when I go to review his or her next book.

  6. >I see nothing wrong with Lloyd’s gentle note expressing gratitude and enthusiasm. It is perfectly possible to send such a note, and later to discuss the nitty-gritty of disagreements on future publications with the editors. He and I didn’t always agree on his works, but we had a warm relationship.

    Some of the comments on this blog lose sight of the compassion and warmth that were Lloyd, and that formed a significant part of the wisdom in his books.

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