When I think of my favorite book characters, Vesper Holly from the Vesper
Holly series by Lloyd Alexander immediately comes to mind. I always admired Vesper Holly for being so much cooler than me. She was smart and bookish, something I definitely related to, but she also travelled the world having thrilling and dangerous adventures.
I’ve always loved Lloyd Alexander for creating not only Vesper Holly, but also for writing two of
my favorite fantasy series, The Prydain Chronicles and the Westmark trilogy, as well as more than twenty other books. His first book was published in the 1950s and his last, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, was published in 2007, a few months after Alexander passed away. From the time I read my first Lloyd Alexander book in elementary school up through when I was in college, I checked to see if the library had a new Lloyd Alexander book every time I went. I was especially pleased to find one final Vesper Holly book in 2005, fifteen years after the previous book was published.
After Lloyd Alexander died in 2007, many of his things were donated to my alma mater, Brigham Young University. In a small room in the campus library, you can see manuscripts, artwork, Alexander’s violin, his Newbery Medal from The High King and a replica of his office, including one of the typewriters he used to write his books. Although I visited Alexander’s Box a few years ago, I was still pleased to read more about him and his connection to my school in a recent edition of the alumni magazine.
In a visit to BYU’s campus in Provo, Utah a few weeks ago, I returned to Alexander’s Box, and once more marveled at what I saw. Lloyd Alexander sat in that chair. He played that violin. He may have written a Vesper Holly book using that very typewriter. For many kids like me, born before the age of Harry Potter, the books of Lloyd Alexander were our first foray into fantasy. For me, that first adventure has led to a life-long love of reading and an affection for fantasy that remains to this day. I will always be grateful to Lloyd Alexander for those gifts. His books are available for checkout at the Pratt Library.
You can read more Alexander’s Box and see pictures of the exhibit in the BYU online magazine.