Forgive me for going a little off topic this week – but I really wanted to mention this amazing person.
Some of the books we read as children stay with us forever, don’t you think? Those stories are so incredibly special. I remember I had one favourite book at kindergarten and I refused to leave kindy and go to school without my very own copy. I still have a copy—it was Robert the Rose Horse by Joan Heilbroner.
Children’s books are so important—from spending the time cuddled up with our parents being read to, to learning to read independently ourselves at school and discovering whole new worlds and lives. There are some kids authors who are so gifted. And I’m gutted, as we’ve lost one of our finest this week.
New Zealand author Margaret Mahy wrote over two hundred books and stories—from picture books, to first readers through to supernatural novels for teens and more. She was so awesomely talented. I grew up with her books and now my children are too. “Down the Back of the Chair” is the first book my (now 5 year old) twins memorised by heart. They were so cute reciting it (especially the part about finding ‘one of the twins, down the back of the chair’). Margaret was brilliant—her books were hugely successful. It’s not just New Zealand children who learn to read with her books, but US kids and UK and all around the world. Her books were so poetic–with amazing language–but so imaginative and, frankly, FUN. She won so many awards and prizes and was amazingly prolific. And for me when I was a young woman with a yearning to be a writer—she was a total inspiration. How cool to have such a wonderful, successful woman’s writer living just over the hill. She made being a ‘real’ author possible—right from when I was a kid. Margaret was 76 when she died this week and was dreaming up stories to the end. She got copies of her latest book just last week. How I wish she was still with us to write more of her kind of magic. She was a literary genius.
She was my hero.