E. L. Konigsburg

Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was an American writer and illustrator of children's books and young adult fiction. She is one of six writers to win two Newbery Medals, the venerable American Library Association award for the year's "most distinguished contribution to American children's literature."
Konigsburg submitted her first two manuscripts to editor Jean Karl at Atheneum Publishers in 1966, and both were published in 1967: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. They made her the only person to be Newbery Medal winner and one of the runners-up in one year. She won again for The View from Saturday in 1997, 29 years later, the longest span between two Newberys awarded to one author.
For her contribution as a children's writer Konigsburg was U.S. nominee in 2006 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition available to creators of children's books.
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E.L. Konigsburg
E.L. Konigsburg
Going to Peco, Florida, for the summer to stay with Bernadette is not Chloe's first choice. Or her second or her third. It's her only choice. She has to leave town because of the hair contract. If she didn't sign it, her friends would shun her; if she did sign it, anytime any one of them had a bad hair day it would mean total immersion in the local pool for all of them, Chloe included. Chloe not only hates total immersion, she fears it.

So it's off to Bernadette's for the summer. "Help Bernadette," Nick, Chloe's stepfather, says. Bernadette is his sister. "And give the unexpected a chance." Just what that means Chloe discovers right away. Everything about Bernadette is unexpected: her dog; her job driving a commissary van that serves sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and junk food to shipyard and dock workers; her way of teaching Chloe to swim; her ability to skate on Rollerblades; her adventures in the commune where she and Nick had lived for a year; and especially the fact that the unexpected is never unexpected to her, not even the events that follow when some commissary drivers begin wearing T-back swimsuits to work (a way of increasing business) and other groups in Peco decide T-backs should be banned forever.

Bernadette, who will not wear T-backs but will not oppose them either, is caught in the middle. And no matter what Chloe does, the results are unexpected. Unexpected, it seems, is all you can really count on, unless, like Bernadette, you know enough about the past to have an idea of what the future might bring. And even then, well, maybe Bernadette doesn't always know everything.
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