Margaret Mahy, 1936 – 2012: A Personal Tribute
The passing of the great Children’s and Young Adult author, Margaret Mahy, has garnered significant attention both here and overseas, for example with the tremendous contributions on Beatties Bookblog, here, and tributes in the NZ Herald and The Guardian, here — all as it should, given her stature.
And I, too, albeit in a considerably more modest way, feel it is important to mark her passing and her tremendous contribution to children’s literature.
My first Margaret Mahy as a reader was also one of her first publications: “A Lion In The Meadow.” Subsequent favourites included “The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate” and of course the Junior and YA stories respectively, The Haunting and The Changeover.
More recently I have bought my nephews her picture books A Summery Saturday Morning, Down The Back of the Chair and Bubble Trouble.
The thing that struck me when I read them, just as it does whenever I pick up A Lion in the Meadow and The Man Whose Mother Was A Pirate again, was the way in which her stories, although written for a very young audience, can still be enjoyed by adults. I think it’s because there is a timelessness to them, and defintely a joie de vivre, but perhaps most importantly of all, her stories never talk down to the reader.