It’s the birthday of author E.L. Konigsburg, author of the 1968 award winning classics, novels that greatly influenced me as a reader, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, McBeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth.
From the Mixed Up Files did to the Metropolitan Museum of Art what Night at the Museum did for the Museum of Natural History: it became the place to be. Siblings Claudia and Jamie run away from home and camp out inside the museum. And no, the statues don’t start walking and talking, but the art becomes alive as seen through Claudia’s eyes and thus mine (we were the same age).
I lived only 50 miles from Manhattan, but no one I knew actually visited the “City” regularly, and no one I knew had actually been to the Met. That’s right: I might as well have been living thousands of miles from New York City.
But the ex-nun who taught 4th grade at the local Catholic school turned public school by the time I was there, and who had introduced the book to us, made sure we had the chance to see the film version that was playing only (for some reason I don’t know) at Radio City Music Hall. She planned a field trip to the Museum and to see the film.
A memorable day.
Celebrate E.L. Konigsburg’s birthday (she is still writing!) by sharing this book with a 10 year old girl or boy. And then take them to the Met for a special Mixed Up Files tour. Make his or her day.
OMG, another sign that we would have been besties in that parallel universe…LOVED Mixed-Up Files.
Cheers, EL and Annie Em!
Claudia definitely grew up and got her PhD in Art History. Or English. Trust me.