My Top 5 Favorite YA Authors: #1 Diana Wynne Jones
“Settle for what you can get, but first ask for the World.”
My absolute favorite author hands down. I didn’t even have to think about it. When someone asks me what’s my favorite book I say “anything by Diana Wynne Jones” (it’s very difficult to pick just ONE!) Her books were what made me fall in love with books in the first place. I spent hours devouring all that I could find written by her in my school library during middle and high school (back when I didn’t have enough pocket change to buy them myself). It was then that I developed this bad habit of reading before bed (Particularly bad when you can’t stop reading and morning comes all too soon and you have to stop. Or even worse, the book ENDS!) And her books were just the most marvelous, brilliant, and imaginative books I’ve ever read. With twists and turns and unexpected magic woven so intricately into even the tiniest seams of the story. I remember having major book hangovers because of Hexwood and the Dalemark Quartet series. And let’s not forget Chrestomanci and Howl, who were magicians like no other. People might know Howl best from Hayao Miyazaki’s spectacular film, and I do agree it’s a lovely film, but nothing beats the subtle, beautiful, magical nature of the book. I remember when I found out that she died, it was on the way to a family dinner and I was in the car with my brothers, and we were debating over books vs movies (I recall distinctly using Howl as an example). One argument over the other led to me somehow googling Diana Wynne Jones with my brother’s smartphone. And that’s when I found out that she had passed away and I recall crying so much that everyone at the dinner thought I was sick. I was literally bawling my eyes out because I couldn’t believe that this amazing, wonderful, utterly imaginative writer was no longer alive. The world immediately felt like a less magical place. There will be other great authors, but I will never, EVER forget Diana Wynne Jones.
Whenever I see an electrical tower looming as if it’s about to stride menacingly across the landscape, I can’t help but think of A Sudden Wild Magic, by Diana Wynne Jones.
Horn Book editor Martha Vaughan Parravano gets her books signed by Diana at Children’s Literature New England 1988. The theme that year was “The Heroic Ideal,” and the speech Diana gave is in the back of the Firebird edition of Fire and Hemlock. (Note the two hardcovers in the photo!)
Thanks to KT Horning, who took the picture.