I have a really amazing book to talk about today: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The Mixed-Up Files is children’s lit, but it’s also a wonderful mystery. I’d like to tell you I read this as a kid—I would have LOVED it. Unfortunately it didn’t come into my hands until a children’s literature course my junior year in college. By then, the book had been on library shelves for more than a decade. All those wasted years…

What’s it about?
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler follows the adventures of Claudia Kincaid. Claudia is bored and in her opinion, under appreciated, so she runs away from home. To where? The Metropolitan Museum of Art – how cool is that? She invites her financially savvy younger brother along in case she needs some scratch. The mystery revolves around the statue of an angel. Was it the work of Michelangelo? That’s the mystery that leads the pair to Mrs. Basil E.

Why read it?
First off, it’s just plain fun. I’m glad I read it before I spent years working in a museum and realized just how implausible the story was. I understand a lot of folks won’t let their kids read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler because it allegedly glorifies running away. I don’t agree. Claudia didn’t really WANT to run away. She wanted what every kid wants: amidst the pressure to be like everyone else, Claudia wanted to be special, to be unique, to have a secret. Or in the vernacular of the period – to find herself. In the end, that’s exactly what happens when she reaches Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s Connecticut home and discovers the very special truth about the the angel.

Want to know more? Read it!