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E.L. Konigsburg, 83, honored for children’s literature

Updated: May 23, 2013 6:48AM



FALLS CHURCH, Va. — E.L. Konigsburg, an author who twice won one of the top honors for children’s literature, has died. She was 83.

Her son Paul Konigsburg says the longtime Florida resident died Friday at a hospital in Falls Church, Va., where she’d been living for the past few years with another son. She had suffered a stroke a week before she died.

She won the 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. Her family says she wrote 16 children’s novels and illustrated 3 picture books.

Her first book, “Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth” was also a Newbery honor book in 1968, making her the only author to be a winner and runner-up in the same year.

In 1997, the Newbery committee called her story of a sixth-grade Academic Bowl team and their coach “a unique, jubilant tour de force characterized by good humor, positive relationships, distinctive personalities and brilliant story-telling.”

Ms. Konigsburg said in an interview with the Associated Press at the time: “The award represents a kind of validation that I find just most gratifying.”

In 2004, she told the Dallas Morning News that she built her characters and plots by imagining situations what-if situations with her children, grandchildren and students.

“I think most of us are outsiders,” she said. “And I think that’s good because it makes you question things. I think it makes you see things outside yourself.”

Her stories were also adapted for movies and television. Ingrid Bergman starred as Mrs. Frankweiler in a 1973 film adaptation of Ms. Konigsburg’s book called “The Hideaways.”

Ms. Konigsburg grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in chemistry. She married David Konigsburg in 1952, and the couple lived in several cities before settling in the Jacksonville, Fla., area.

Ms. Konigsburg, who had two sons and a daughter and five grandchildren, started writing and illustrating children’s books when her youngest child began kindergarten. Her husband died in 2001.

AP



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