The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 23, 2013

Author kept her hometown in view

Konigsburg wrote for small-town kids

FARRELL — Margaret Orchard places E.L. Konigsburg’s young person’s book “The View From Saturday” on her list of about 10 that she goes back to and rereads periodically.

“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is number one, but I’d put it (‘A View From Saturday’) at number two or three,” the librarian at Stey-Nevant Public Library, Farrell, said Monday.

Just talking about the book got Orchard excited about it all over again.

“I want to go home and read it,” she said.

The impetus behind Orchard’s discussion of Konigsburg was not an event she had been looking forward to: Konigsburg’s death. The author died Friday at age 83.

However, Konigsburg left more than a little of herself at Stey-Nevant. Konigsburg lived in Farrell from about seventh grade through her graduation in 1947, when she was the valedictorian of Farrell High School.

Konigsburg, who lived in Florida for much of her adult life, was last in Farrell in the early ’90s, and Orchard would send her copies of books to be signed.

Those signed books are generally circulated at Stey-Nevant, and a painting Konigsburg made of the cover of her 1982 book, “Journey to an 800 Number,” is displayed in the library. The painting initially was a gift to the school district, but a past school administrator thought more people would see it at the library, Orchard said.

Whenever someone needs to do a report on an author or a person from Farrell, Orchard routinely gets out the yearbook to show Konigsburg’s high school photo and the signed books.

“I’ve always tried to promote her,” Orchard said. “I’m sure we’ll do a display on her (at the library.)”

Konigsburg said she wanted to write books that a typical small-town kid could relate to, the kind of books she could not find when she was growing up.

“My children were my first editors,” Konigsburg, who had three children with her husband, David, told The Herald some years ago. “I’d read them what I had written when they came home from school.”

Orchard said Konigsburg succeeded in reaching kids throughout the years.

“I love her books,” she said. “The themes are always topical and useful for today.”

They tell stories of adventures that children “could actually have or identify with,” Orchard said.

Konigsburg’s most famous book, “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler” – one of two that earned her the Newbery Medal – is about two children who run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, taking coins from a fountain to buy food. Konigsburg told The Herald in 1995 that one of the kids, a girl named Claudia, wanted to teach her parents “a lesson in Claudia appreciation.”

“The View From Saturday,” her other Newbery Medal winner, tells the story of a team of sixth-graders and their partly paralyzed teacher who compete in the Academic Games. The story resonates with Orchard because it is about bullying, self-perception and overcoming odds.

“I think every kid should read this book,” Orchard said.

Aside from her books being an introduction to “good writing and good literature,” the author’s lifestyle also is worth emulating, Orchard said.

“She painted her own book covers and she was so well-rounded and had so many other interests beside writing,” Orchard said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014