Friday, March 19, 2010

Sid Fleischman dies at 90

Sid with Bess Houdini in 1936
Newbery Medal winner Sid Fleischman, author of the well-regarded ESCAPE! The Story of the Great Houdini, died on Wednesday at his home in Santa Monica, CA, one day after turning 90.

Albert Sidney Fleischman was born in Brooklyn on March 16, 1920 to Jewish immigrant parents. Early in his, life his family relocated to San Diego. As a teen during the depression, he became interested in magic and developed an act called the Mirthful Conjurers with his friend, Buddy Collins, which they took on the road. It was during this time that the author wrote his first book about magic called Between Cocktails (Abbot Magic, 1939). He sold all rights to the book for $50, and it has never been out of print since.

In 1942, he married Betty Taylor who predeceased him. They had three children, Jane, Anne, and Paul, a poet, who also won the Newbery Medal in 1989 for his book Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. To date, they are the only father and son to both receive the honor.

Source: School Library Journal.


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