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Monday, May 14, 2012

Marilyn Levinson Learns that Old Children's Books Never Die

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries and books for children. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Bernie, and their cat, Sammy.

Today, Marilyn addresses the question Do old children's books ever die?  Thank goodness the answer is no! She also gives the lowdown on a few books of her own that she's brought back to life.

You can find Marilyn on her website where you can read more about her books, see gorgeous pictures from her travel pages, and discover new writers and her perspective on many things on her blog. 

Thank you, Marilyn!

Giving New Life to Out-of-Print Children’s Books

This past year has been a busy time for me. Last June, Wings ePress published my debut mystery, A Murderer Among Us. I was thrilled when Suspense Magazine awarded it a Best Indie of 2011. A few months later, I brought out Murder in the Air, the second book in the Twin Lakes series. And in April, Uncial Press published my ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost.
Having managed to put up Murder in the Air on Kindle, Create Space, and Pubit, I knew it was time to make some of my much-loved out-of-print children’s books available again to young readers. I updated and re-edited two of them, and gave them new covers.

No Boys Allowed had been in print for almost twenty years. The novel deals with  divorce and its impact on sixth-grader Cassie Landauer, her older sister Corinne, and their mother. All three react differently to the upheaval in their lives, though they eventually come together as a family and adapt to the changes in their lives.
Cassie comes home from camp to discover her parents are getting divorced, and her beloved father and his future bride are moving to another state. Hurt and angry, she vows to have nothing to do with him or with any male, including her best friend, Bobby. However, Cassie has saved her father’s boyhood stamp collection, and adds to it surreptitiously. To her dismay, Great-uncle Harry, who is recovering from a heart attack, moves in and takes over her room, forcing her to share Corinne’s bedroom. He learns Cassie’s secret and helps her add to her stamp collection. But when Uncle Harry prepares to return home, Cassie feels abandoned all over again. He helps Cassie understand she cannot cut all males from her life, and encourages her to take the first steps of reconciliation with her father and Bobby.

Rufus and Magic Run Amok was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. I wrote this funny book about a boy who finds out he’s a witch before the Harry Potter phenomenon made its amazing impact on the reading world. Everything changes for fourth-grader Rufus Breckenridge when he wishes Big Douggie would do a double somersault instead of chasing him from school every day, and he does! Rufus is glad Big Douggie’s now afraid of him, but wonders if he’s a witch like his mother, aunt, and grandmother. Being a witch means taking lessons and doing good deeds, so Rufus keeps his discovery to himself. But magic unchecked is magic run amok, and soon things start happening that Rufus can’t control. But Rufus learns other lessons along the way, including how to deal with Big Douggie without resorting to magic.

Thank you, Marilyn! Be sure to check out her website, and say hello if you have a few minutes!


  1. Glad to know someone cares about the older books. Thank you both for blog posting.

  2. I'm glad someone cares about the old books, too. One of my favorites is a book of my mother's from the 1920s which is full of childrens stories. Keep 'em coming because the kids need them, and they need the lessons they teach.

  3. It's great that a whole new audience will now be able to appreciate these!

  4. Jake,
    Thanks for your comment. I think children's books that have substance deserve a a long "shelf life."

  5. Marja,
    I still have my favorite children's book. It's older than me.

  6. Thanks, Peg.
    Did you save any of your old books to give to your granddaughter?

  7. Love the updated cover of No Boys Allowed, Marilyn. It's sure to appeal to young readers.

  8. Thanks, Anne. I'm glad you like it.