Newbery Winner Lloyd Alexander Dies at 83
By SLJ Staff -- School Library Journal, 05/17/2007
Children’s fantasy novelist Lloyd Alexander, who won the 1969 Newbery Award for The High King (Holt), the last of the Chronicles of Prydain series, died this morning at 83.
He was under hospice care and was at home in his own bed in Drexel Hill, PA.
Alexander wrote nearly 40 books for children and adolescents, as well as several novels for adults. His most famous contribution to the field of children’s fantasy is Chronicles, which was inspired by Welsh mythology and the Mabinogion, a collection of prose stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts
His last book, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio (Holt) is out in galley form and its publication date is set for August. "I have finished my life work," Alexander has said about Carlo.
Growing up, Alexander’s parents were "horrified" when he told them he wanted to be an author, Alexander said in his bio on the Penguin Group Web site.
"I was 15, in my last year of high school. My family pleaded with me to forget literature and do something sensible, such as find some sort of useful work," he said.
Since his parents couldn’t afford to send him to college, Alexander went to work as a messenger boy in a Philadelphia bank. After saving enough money, he quit and attended a local college, but left at the end of one term.
At the time, the United States had already entered World War II, so Alexander joined the army. Alexander finished his training in Wales, where he was inspired by the country, with its castles, mountains, and beautiful language.
Later, Alexander was sent to Alsace-Lorraine, the Rhineland, and southern Germany. When the war ended, he was assigned to a counterintelligence unit in Paris, where he later attended the University of Paris. There, he met a Parisian girl, Janine, and they married in 1946.
Janine died two weeks ago at their home. They were married for 62 years.