Friday, June 1, 2012

Goodbye to a Dear Friend

Ellen Levine passed away this week after a long, valiant fight with cancer. I first met Ellen when I was getting my MFA at Vermont College where she was a teacher and mentor. Ellen was a tried and true New Yorker. Whether it was the fact that we both had New York blood running through our veins or her hearty laugh, Ellen had a way of making an insecure writer like me feel as if what I had to say mattered.

This past Spring semester I taught a Childrens Lit class and I used Ellen's Henry's Freedom Box as an example of a nonfiction picture book. My students were enchanted by the story.As I read it, I thought of Ellen. Her voice and unique spirit came through on every page.

While Ellen is no longer with us in physical form, I know she is here in spirit. Her chutzpah was amazing and whenever I feel down about my own writing, I will think of her. To me she is what childrens literature can be.


  1. It sounds like you were very lucky to get to know her.

  2. Teachers come in many forms. Ellen was one of the finest.