April 23, 2013

Seven great escapes in children’s literature


E.L. Konigsburg, author of the classic children’s book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which tells the story of a brother and sister who run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, passed away last Friday. While the details of the story are fuzzy to me now (particularly why a couple of runaway kids would choose the Met over, say, the Museum of Natural History), I remember the novel fondly. It plays on wish fulfillment for its young readers, and the fantasy of running away from home to live somewhere more special; and unlike Narnia or Never Never Land, a museum is actually accessible, and Konigsburg made the fantasy world tangible and all the more tantalizing to kids reading her book.

In honor of Konigsburg’s work, here’s a slideshow of seven books about the places that kids escape to in books—some real and tangible like the Met, others pure fantasy.

Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.