Sunday, March 21, 2010

Children's Author Sid Fleischman Passed On

Sid Fleischman, Newbury winning author of more than 50 children's books, passed on March 17. The cause was cancer. He was 90 years old.

Sid Fleischman was born on March 16, 1920 in Brooklyn, but grew up in San Diego, California. As a child he studied magic and by his teens he even performed on vaudeville. He published his first book, Between Cocktails, a collection of magic tricks written for his fellow magicians, when he was only 19. During World War II he served in the Naval Reserve aboard a destroyer escort. Following the war he graduated from San Diego State University in 1949. His first suspense novel, The Straw Donkey Case, was published in 1948. He continued to write mystery and suspense novels while working as a reporter at the San Diego Journal and later the editor of a small magazine. In 1951 he took up writing full time. His novel Blood Alley would be adapted as the 1955 movie of the same name. His novel Counterspy Express was adapted as the 1958 movie Spy in the Sky.

In all, Sid Fleischman would publish nine mystery and suspense novels and one Western for adults. It would be in 1962 that his career would change with the publication of his first children's novel Mr. Mysterious & Company in 1962. His second children's book, By the Great Horn Spoon, would be adapted as the 1967 Disney film The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin. His novel The Whipping Boy won the Newberry Medal. In all, Sid Fleischman wrote fifty children's books. He also wrote nonfiction works for juveniles, including biographies on Mark Twain and Houdini, as well as a book on magic for young people, Mr. Mysterious' s Secrets of Magic. His biography The Abracadabra Kid was published in 1996.

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