E.L. Konigsburg
The Metropolitan Museum of Art ©Author Adventures

E.L. Konigsburg Introduces the Met Museum

“I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.” — E.L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) at 1000 Fifth Avenue in New York City, New York, has not been the same since Claudia and Jamie Kinkaid hid inside, trying to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time. E.L. Konigsburg’s masterpiece, From the Mixed-up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler, takes readers inside this stately cultural icon, revealing secrets best discovered by the inquisitiveness of clever children.

Konigsburg, a former science teacher, took art classes at the Met in the 1960s. (Read more about this Newbery-award winning author here: https://www.infoplease.com/biographies/art-entertainment/e-l-konigsburg.) The Met continues to offer a wide range of educational programs today. Visit https://www.metmuseum.org/learn for details.

As a testament to its timelessness and firm footing in literary history, first editions of From the Mixed-up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler that are in very good condition or better are professionally regarded as extremely financially valuable, selling for more than $5,000.00 by sellers of rare books, like this one: Raptis Rare Books.

It is an ideal book to read in the upper elementary school or middle grade years because the characters are relatable and the plot is easy to follow, but, as is true of any quality children’s book, all ages can enjoy it. The story sprang from an unusual inspiration: popcorn! This article explains how that came to be: nypost.com/2017/09/24.

For deeper dives, a Facebook page called “Good Conversations” posts several interviews, including videos, featuring the author. Type “Konigsburg” in the page’s “Good Conversations” searchbox to find the links. Then, consider tracking down the 1995 movie and compare it with the book.

“I am convinced that not only do children need children’s books to fine-tune their brains, but our civilization needs them if we are not going to unplug ourselves from our collective past.” — E.L. Konigsburg

The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue is the sixth stop of our recommendations for the New York Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart